RealNews

Sewage Spill Exposed a Lingering City Problem

Minutes after New York City lost its power on Aug. 14, streams of raw sewage began to flow into surrounding waterways. By the time electricity was restored, 490 million gallons had spilled — 145 million gallons from the city’s largest pumping station, on the Lower East Side — causing beaches to close and posing health and environmental hazards. This was not the first time. The blackout of 1977 caused a sewage overflow of 828 million gallons, which spilled from eight treatment plants and the same sprawling station on the Lower East Side, the 13th Street Pump Station on Avenue D between East 12th and 13th Streets. Back then, city officials found a solution: they provided all treatment plants with backup generators, which functioned properly, for the most part, during the blackout earlier this month. But no generator was ever built at the 13th Street Pump Station, a failure caused by a mixture of administrative lethargy and delays brought on by stiff community resistance. So when the lights went out again, the sewage spilled out again. Full Story

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