Monday, November 23, 2009

Sewers at Capacity, Waste Poisons Waterways

In 1849, NYC was ahead of the curve, installing an extensive sewer system with pipes made with hand laid bricks and tiles. Now more than 150 years later we use those same pipes to treat the sewage of a city 8 million strong and growing. Today's front page article in the NY Times discusses the problems of treating NYC's sewage during wet weather. It amazes me how few people know where our waste water goes and the consequences of our lack of infrastructure. Due to our overflows, NYC spills 27 billion gallons of raw untreated waste every year into our waterways, causing damage to aquatic ecosystems, endangering our own health, and violating The Clean Water Act of 1972.

An outdated sewer system and a rapidly expanding city are two of the main reasons why we are causing so much water pollution. But it's also the way we have chosen to construct our cities; choosing concrete as the material streets, buildings, parking lots, walls, and roofs are made from creates a surge of water runoff each time it rains. If cities would reduce their Concrete Footprint we would be closer to solving this problem. Permeable Pavement, Green Roofs, Trees, Parks, Bioswales, and Rain Barrels are all part of the solution. NYC needs to support these solutions by making them affordable and mandatory. It will also be supporting an industry that could provide thousands of jobs while greatly improving the environment.

To read the whole NY Times article click here.

No comments:

Post a Comment