This video is so grossly visual with information that it warants repeating, especially since no one commented on it last week! Ew!!
How does this happen? Can it be cleaned up? There are many companies who plunge in dressed head to toe in hazmat suits and pump the shit out of backed up basements through tubes into holding tanks but what about rivers, lakes, canals and oceans?
There’s Sponge worthiness! Sponge Parks! Artificial wetlands that act like pollution absorbing sponges made of vegetation and special soil to retain water and prevent overflows. A $1.5 million full greenway park alongside the infamous 1.8-mile Gowanus Canal was a go in 2008.
But the innovative project stalled due to a lack of money and the ongoing debate about who and how to clean up the complex mess. Then it became a Superfund Site.
Since then, dlandstudio, the designers of Sponge Park, raised $2 million from the city and state to build Phase one. Initiated by the Bloomberg administration, for completion in the summer of 2015, near Second Street, it may finally get its start. A pilot patch of the multi-use park lining the polluted canal will be anchored by soil-filled concrete cells that retain and filter storm water. Planted with vegetation capable of soaking up excess water naturally absorbing or breaking down toxins, heavy metals, and contaminants from sewage overflow, the project is notable. It may not be enough, but if the plan works, it could be the next step for hundreds of U.S. cities that spew their poo every time it rains.
dlandstudio is hopeful that their Sponge Park will reduce contamination in the Gowanus Canal and “provide an evolved urban habitat supporting and promoting estuarine ecology.” They acknowledge that this plan will account for only a small portion of the total CSO (combined sewer overflow) problem. The plan, if all aspects are implemented, would apply to just 316 acres of the canal’s total 1,758-acre watershed, at a cost of $42 million.
In the meantime, there is a way to learn about sewer overflow entering all of our waterways. The “Sewage Pollution Right to Know Act” was passed thanks to the efforts of Riverkeeper. The law requires local governments to report discharges of untreated or partly treated sewage to their health departments and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation within two hours. The notification must be made public on government Web sites within four hours of the discharge. http://www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/90315.html
The Act also helps identify aging pipes, sewage plants and other infrastructure needing repair or replacement. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sanitary_sewer_overflow
How You Can Help:
- Gowanus Conservancy needs volunteers and donations. http://www.gowanuscanalconservancy.org/ee/
- dlandstudio needs support and help to increase their fundraising. http://www.dlandstudio.com/about__people.html
- Riverkeepers helped pass the bill that informs us when our waterways are being polluted They can always use our help! http://www.riverkeeper.org/news-events/news/water-quality/sewage-pollution-right-to-know-act-passes-nys-legislature/
- The hot summer months can make seaside swimming a joy. Check the weather!
Until next week,