Thursday, March 25, 2010

NYC Waste Plant at Capacity

By Jonathan Madden

A recent conversation with my grandparents brought to my attention a potentially serious problem. My grandparents both live in Brooklyn N.Y., where a recent problem has become of environmental concern. Over capacity sewage treatment plants.

What does this mean? Across the boroughs of New York City, there exists 14 water treatment plants handling the waste and sewage from the city's occupants. However, due to rapid city expansion and growth since the plants creation, as a result of the Clean Water Act of 1972, many are experiencing trouble handling the waste load.

The problem reared it's ugly face to occupants of New York City when a heavy rain caused the sewage system to hit overload at the NYC Owl's Head Plant. Alarms blared as workers were forced to shut down the intake gates. Sewers filling up rapidly caused industrial and human waste from the sewers, both partially treated and untreated, to spill into the New York Bay. During the 1970s Congress distributed 60 billion dollars to cities to expand sewage treatment so this wouldn't happen.

This environmental problem is not uncommon to other cities outside New York. According to a study done by the New York Times, more than 9,400 of the Nation's 25,000 sewage systems have reported violating the law by dumping into rivers and lakes.

Whether one lives in proximity to New York City or not, this issue must be addressed, as the heath dangers of sewage run off is great. I feel that the city and possibly the federal government should look into this issue immediately before the rains of spring come. Perhaps it's time for the creation of another sewage plant to back up New York's currently working ones. According to, more than one third of U.S. waste systems are working at overcapacty and dumping waste into rivers. If this is so, it's difficult to beleive that the government is looking into any infractions by sewage plants against the US Clean Water Act. Perhaps its time for the Legislation to look at the issue and update the Clean Water Act, and hlep prevent this issue from further happening. Further information can be found at and water/wwsystem-plants.shtml for information on how you can contribute to New York's Waste System

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