Thursday, July 03, 2014

Last Night's Heavy Rain Turns Gowanus Canal Into One Huge Toilet Once Again

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I know that poop and condoms are not a pleasant topic, but it bears repeating over and over, until the City Of New York finally assumes its responsibility and stops using the Gowanus Canal as a huge toilet every time our local sewer treatment plant gets overburdened.
Last night's heavy rain caused another Combined Sewer Overflow event last night and by 11 PM, much of the waterway was covered with raw sewage.  The smell was unbelievable.  It was too dark to take photos, but I took a walk over both the Union Street and Carroll Street bridges at 6 am this morning, and took some pictures. It was still rather awful and smelly and the bacteria count in the water must have been off the charts.

It is unfathomable to thing that the new residents of the 700 unit Lightstone Group Project at the shores of the canal will have to deal with this every time it rains heavily.

This morning, I also found an email from my friend, who lives in Gowanus Houses.  She has been complaining that raw sewage gurgles up in her kitchen sink every time there is a heavy downpour.
She sent along photos that she took last night.  Pretty awful, isn't it?

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The topic of sewer back flow at the Gowanus Houses came up at Councilman Brad Lander's Bridging Gowanus meeting last week.

We all need to join together to demand that there be no new sewer hook ups in the Gowanus corridor until the City stops dumping s**t in our waterway.
Because this is not acceptable.




14 comments:

Anonymous said...

The solution to sewage water backing up in the Gowanus? Street creeks! There is even a TED talk about it, and it was later featured again at the TEDxGowanus event:

http://www.gowanusyourfaceoff.com/2012/12/18/ted-talks-street-creeks/

Katia said...

Street creeks will help, but is not enough in the case of the Gowanus corridor.
We need retention basins, as mandated by the EPA in the Record of Decision for the Gowanus Canal Superfund.

However, the City is still trying to refute EPA science and is dragging its feet.

Anonymous said...

Haha silly hipster gentrifiers whining !

Anonymous said...

Street Creeks is basically an idea to separate the sewer by channeling/piping the rain water above ground.

Given the congested public streets, now accommodating bikes and all, the street creek idea presents other issues that need to be worked out.

But if such a thing should be build, the precast pieces need to be made somewhere and the concrete precast businesses in Gowanus would be the perfect supply center.

Anonymous said...

The sewage backup into the house is kinda the home owners fault. In any low lying area you should have a backflow preventer at the main outflow point of the house. This stops any sewage flow from the main sewer back into the house.

Anonymous said...

What's a 'street creek'? A lot of us don't know what a TED talk is or care; but we do care about this chronic problem.
The feds want the City to do retention tanks everywhere there is a CSO problem. This would be a huge expense and so the City is begging off. The feds are calling the shots at the Canal Superfund Clean-Up so there will be two retention tanks(@ a cost of $6/gallon of overflow!). Not a happy solution. The City will be getting the bill. Enjoy.

TOM

Anonymous said...

The reality is: this is where the shit ALWAYS went when the sewer backs up there. You moved INTO the shit. You created your own problem. It would be like moving to Howard Beach and then complaining about airplane noise from JFK.

Anonymous said...

Omg 4:55 I guess you like shit in your environment. I've been in Gowanus since before the word hipster existed.

Anonymous said...

I feel a lot more sympathy for the people who live in the Gowanus Houses than those that, knowing that the canal has this kind of issue, chose to pay $$$$ to live in ~~~Broooooklyn~~~~... but this is insane, yeah.

Marty Borruso said...

The canal was last dredged in 1976 and that was the end of industrial waste. The sewers were then redirected to the Red Hook sewerage plant, and there was a missed opportunity to re establish the "Flushing Tunnel" pump (which failed in 1949) and take water from Buttermilk Channel and flush out the Canal but that attempt by DEP in about 2000 was inept and used belive it or not 1949 controls and failed within a year. It is disgusting that this health hazard has been allowed to exist

Anonymous said...

Marty,
Thanks for the history that has evolved somewhat around the Flushing Tunnel. At a community meeting in April, a DEP representative announced that they now have three brand new pumps operating n the Flushing Tunnel, bring more oxygen rich water to the head of the canal. Full force flushing of the canal is going on as you read this.
The toilet debris seen in these photo's is now being moved out towards the Red Hook harbor more effectively. We will also begin to see more and more fish as the tunnel pumps them in to the head of the canal and mixes them into this messy soup that is the canal water. Lets hope no one is filled into thinking that those fish are eatable.

Hooplehead said...

The pictures of the sewage back up were provided by a resident of the Gowanus Houses. Even if they wanted to, it is unlikely that they would be permitted to install a "backflow preventer". This is something that would be the responsibility of the homeowner/landlord who in this case is NYCHA. I'm sure most of the residents of the Gowanus Houses did not choose to live in a low lying area prone to sewage backups.

Owen Foote said...

Feds should fund street creeks and a replacement of our toilets with dual flush now!

700 new toilets in our Gowanus neighborhood is alot less than # toilets of CG residents.

Do you dual flush?

Enjoy the fireworks - hopefully watching from a Dredgers' canoe!

Owen

Anonymous said...

Thanks Jill, shit belongs in shit..