New York Harbor will be plagued by sewage this week. Days of steady rain, heavy at times, are overwhelming our antiquated system which combines rainwater with household waste water into the same pipes and treatment centers. To prevent backups and pressure damage, combined sewer overflows (CSOs) release excess into the estuary untreated. More than 27 billion gallons of raw sewage hit our waters last year, according to Riverkeeper.
For notifications about CSOs and other emergency conditions, sign up at Notify NYC:
HarborLAB samples and tests littoral estuary water in cooperation with other NYC Water Trail Association members and associated labs. CSOs are growing challenge for New York City and neighboring cities in New Jersey because storm surges and sea level rise are adding strains to systems. With climate change and greater atmospheric moisture, rain and snow storms are becoming more extreme. NYC’s population is already meeting 2020 projections. We need enormous investment in cisterns and new catchment basins to hold overflows for later, gradual release, and even more green infrastructure like bioswales, green roofs, street trees, and other green spaces where plants can absorb rainfall.
Many thanks to Mai Armstrong and John McCluskey at Working Harbor Committee for posting today’s conditions on Facebook. The NYC Department of Environmental Protection text copied and pasted below came by way of them.
CSO’s as of 2/24/2016 7:02 AM
Rainfall at three NOAA rain gauges over the past 24 hours in inches:
John F. Kennedy Airport 0.4 inches
LaGuardia Airport 0.3 inches
NYC Central Park 0.43 inches
List of Advisories:
Bergen Basin On advisory until 2/25/2016 7:00:00 AM
Gowanus Canal On advisory until 2/25/2016 7:00:00 AM
Newtown Creek On advisory until 2/25/2016 7:00:00 AM
Thurston Basin On advisory until 2/25/2016 7:00:00 AM
Westchester Creek On advisory until 2/24/2016 7:00:00 PM
Current CSO advisories: 5A CSO Waterbody Advisory has been issued. For more info on affected waterbodies, call 311 or go to: