Stormwater Pollution planned for Van Cortlandt Park


Stormwater is that part of the rain or snow that falls on the landscape and is not absorbed into the soil. Many years ago landscapes captured all precipitation; but today, the built urbanized environment takes water falling speedily after a storm, and funnels it into pipes and basins leading to sewer treatment plants, or in the case of a big storm, into the closest body of water.

New construction must take care of its own storm water “in situ,” that is on its own place (read: property). The simple truth is that there is less and less land to capture the falling rain. Even the storm drains have limits. Note the recent NYC metropolitan area weather maps, where the more urban areas of the five boroughs and Long Island are more and more “Flash Flood Watch and Warning” alerts because there is no place for the water to go.

The people in charge of limiting the frequency and occurrence of flood watches and warnings should be the New York City Department of Environmental Protection. Unfortunately they do not understand the urgency or need for these protections. Actually it is the Mayor who is really in charge and should be the one held accountable; but for years Mayor’s have not listened to reason. I hear from a reliable source that as early as 1950-60 Robert Moses was advocating for some kind of stormwater treatment to protect all the beaches that he was creating, but even the then DEP equivalent would not listen.

In is a striking example of a project that could hold promise of creating a sustainable design – perhaps a platinum LEEDS credential — the DEP’s Croton Filtration Plant, a major industrial complex to clean water, will instead discharge millions of gallons of groundwater and stormwater pollutants onto parkland, violating an inalienable right of the Public Trust Doctrine to forever preserve parkland for the people. That the City continues to act without boundaries, by first going to the Legislature to alienate 24 acres of land to build a 9 acre facility, and then taking more than they first stated, is arbitrary and capricious.

It is akin to building your house on the full lot size and then using your neighbor’s land to go to the back door, or park your car. While some golf courses consider greens and water features as amenities, a “roof-turned-into-a-putting-range” and a “stormwater-moat-turned-into-a-settling-basin” by any other name is not an amenity but a necessity. The current design is not sustainable, violates stormwater regulations, and crosses the alienation lines taking land away from the Golf Tees, causing them to reclaim land given to the people many years before.

Go back to the drawing board and stay within your boundaries!

Karen Argenti


From Guest Pens: Friends of Brook Park – Con Edison revised

(Editor’s note:  We are going to start a new category of Guest Pens.  Just send the info in on any one of our comment section (it is always monitored), and I will post.  Some people do not want to use their name, but I will verify that they are credible. )

As we prepared for CPC testimony on the Lower Concourse Rezoning, we read the fine print. Well, Con Ed chimed in, but not at the public hearings.  Apparently they are the fee holder for 287 Exterior Street. A modification allowed by the NYC Department of City Planning, BUT NOT YET APPROVED BY THE CITY COUNCIL, would give them a special allowance.

First they block the Bronx Kill, now they are trying to block access to the Harlem River.  It is disappointing to say the least.

Defend the Harlem River Greenway. No Special Treatment for Con Ed! Testify. Tell your Council member to vote no, or remove this special treatment from the language.

Details at:
N 090302 ZRX        Lower Concourse Rezoning*      BX 1 at:

See Con Ed’s letter asking for this special treatment at page 44-48 of:


Is this fair, or right?

Activists are a threatened species, but there’s safety in numbers. If you can’t be active, please $upport your local environmental activist.
PO Box 801
The South
Bronx, NY 10454

Editor’s Comment:  Today, June 25, we spoke with Con Edison’s representative and have been assured that they are in accord with the Harlem River Working Group’s goals of a greenway and increased waterfront access.    Under the current zoning, Con Edison does not have to provide access.  With the new zoning, they wanted to discuss how big the pedestrian walkway would be, as well as how much of a ribbon of land around the inlet would lead to the water.  Check out the parcel of land and see where the inlet is — 287 Exterior Street.

Now we can see how important it is to keep talking to each other.  Thank you all for you interest.  ~Karen


From Guest Pens: Friends of Ferry Point Park – Pepsi

(Editor’s note:  We are going to start a new category of Guest Pens.  Just send the info in on any one of our comment section (it is always monitored), and I will post.  Some people do not want to use their name, but I will verify that they are credible. )

E-mail : friends@ferrypointpark.org
URL    : http://ferrypointpark.org

First we want to congratulate Pepsi Cola Bottling Co. on the completion of their huge facility on Brush Avenue. We again thank them for their tour of the facility on May 2nd. We then want to thank Pepsi for the contributions of water to the “Friends of Ferry Point Park” who are responsible for gathering hundreds of volunteers each year to clean the waterfront of the East River and Westchester Creek.

“Friends” also works to for fill the tree stewardships of the 3000 sapling trees donated by the Prince of Monaco to create a living 9/11 Memorial Forest at Ferry Point Park. Our volunteers also nurtured Street Trees on Brush Avenue and planted hundreds of daffodils in the 9/11 Hilltop Memorial Grove and the 9/11 Throggs Neck Triangle Grove. We appreciate your water donation. We have a special thank you for Eddie Prost of Holt Construction for being there for each problem on Senger Place during the construction phase. Now the problems we face at the site of the new Pepsi Facility, Flooding , constant noise.

Flooding: Our previous Borough President was proud to announce this Pepsi development yet there were no modifications made to enhance the “Unimproved” streets surrounding the future Pepsi Plant. Millions were given in tax abatements and incentives to get Pepsi to stay in the Bronx, and yet no attempt has been made to improve the main Street that their 95 plus vehicles will parade down each day and night 7 days a week. It is embarrassing to see 21 million spent on the construction of this building and the trucks can’t get out of the neighborhood due to flooding by the neglect of foresight by the NYC EDC/DEP/DOT.

The horrendous Flooding on Brush Avenue was covered in detail by News 12 NY on June 18 and 19th. It is obviously a problem to the entire area of the NE Bronx if there is a 300ft by 40 foot/ 3ft deep pond forming at 650 Brush Avenue each time it rains hard and heavy. We understand that Brush Avenue is an “unimproved Street” and therefore some sidewalks and many catch basins were never installed. BUT how does NYC get away with allowing huge warehouses filled with delivery vehicles and a 6 acre Pepsi Distribution Facility to be built on an “Unimproved Street”? When and how do we get it upgraded to handle the water and traffic in this portion of the “Zerega Avenue Industrial Zone”?

Before the construction of this building, over 200 UPS Trucks and 200 Cable Vision Vans used this area each day. In heavy rains there was a large puddle. We cannot remember a time where trucks could not pass. We commented at one of the first Pepsi meetings that they would not be able to use the basement parking that they planned due to underground fresh water springs that historically ran through this area. Pepsi had to redesign the plans and use the roof top to park. We kept a close eye on the construction of the Pepsi Facility and witnessed the large retention tanks put below ground. We also made note of the swales that were included around the building. We asked at the dinner meeting where the water from the building would go. We asked Ken Kerns to ask the same question (there were different answers, I was told that Pepsi had a special permit to put the water directly into Westchester Creek and Ken was told it would go into the sewer system). One portion of our double lined sewer goes directly into the creek so I just thought that’s what they meant. At the meeting on May 2nd, I asked if the rain water would be directly fed into Westchester Creek, the answer was eventually.

We have one of the most advanced sewer systems in NYC. Brush Avenue has 2 separate lines to remove water from the Ferry Point Area. One is the sanitary line and one is the rain/runoff line. According to Catherine Poggi (our Historian and yes, my Mom) she witnessed the risers being put in place to have catch basins connected to the rain run off line. But DEP has neglected to install these catch basins. We have asked Com.Bd.10 to include us in the budget this year for a drainage study and we were told that this budget item was accepted. Even if the study was to start tomorrow who will protect the deliveries and stalled vehicles that have been submerged in 3 ft of water? How do the customers and workers walk through this dangerous water to get to UPS?

We want something done now!!! The new houses nearby have had flooding in their basements since Pepsi leveled the land, How many vehicles will be damaged? How many tow truck fees will be paid? How many UPS deliveries and Cablevision repair/installation schedules will be missed? How many lawsuits will be filed? A sidewalk with 3 catch basins would solve this problem.

My group has warned about this situation and now it is here. We are willing to offer our past correspondences and 311 complaint numbers to the persons with damaged vehicles to support any claims against the City of NY for their neglect.

The area of Brush Avenue in Bronx 10465 is in dire need of catch basins and sidewalks
The development of this area into a portion of the Zerega Ave. Industrial zone can only
“hold its head above water” if extreme ASAP measures are taken by our elected officials.
This week alone hundreds of vehicles from UPS/Cablevision and Pepsi have been stalled,
immersed and damaged by 3 ft of water that is 300 feet in length.

In May a stalled vehicle in this flooded area ended up in a 3 way collision at this location (650 Brush Ave.) I am requesting a representative from the offices of our Elected Officials to accompany me on a short tour of these problems. I will update the entire community which is affected by delayed UPS deliveries, Cablevision installation/repair delays as a result of this ongoing flooding.

Noise complaints: I have had 23 noise complaints from our members about two separate noises from the Pepsi Building. There is the constant 24 hour loud motor noise humming and the intermittent load chattering motor noise that occurs 24 hours but at various intervals. We are asking for help to address these noises ASAP. Neighbors are suffering from interrupted sleep, headaches and irritability.


22 Questions to the FMC and the DEP by Karen Argenti, June 18, 2009

22 Questions to the FMC and the DEP by Karen Argenti, June 18, 2009

  1. Why is the Demonstration Building surrounded by a chain link, not an opaque fence as required by law? Why is this temporary building standing, if the Buildings Department permit approved demolition in January 2009?[1]
  2. Why are there depressions in the roadway on Goulden Avenue at various work sites extending from Sedgwick to 205th Street where the DEP contractor dug up and filled in?
  3. Can you specify the new “information not previously available” as mentioned in the Minor Modification (MM) on page 2 that you received to make changes to the work at the Jerome Park Reservoir (JPR)?[2] Why has work stopped on the sound barrier?
  4. Can you provide access to review all geologist reports for JPR?
  5. Can you reference the page in Table 1 for the project element discussion “As Discussed in the Final SEIS” as well as the “As Currently Proposed (Minor Modification)?
  6. Can you reference the page in the old FSEIS[3] referenced on page 9 of the MM[4] when you compare the work proposed in the FSEIS to the new work for the south basin ramp?
  7. What other alternatives did you review in the site and the method of excavation for the Shaft and Meter Chamber?
  8. What other alternatives did you review for the site and construction of the ramp for the south basin, such as attached to the dividing wall?
  9. Where in the FSEIS did you study the impact of the construction of the south basin ramp, as well as the traffic impact for its use?
  10. Where are the plans for the Outdoor Urban Ecology Lab (OUEL)?
  11. Where are DEP’s plans for the restoration of the Harris Park Annex after the work is completed?
  12. Where is the geologist report mentioned on page 15 of the MM?
  13. Why did the city claim[5] the community’s court case was not ripe in August 2008, when it already had a complete statement of the process in an addendum to the original Cultural Resources Assessments related to CRO-313 and CRO-312OS with a state agency (no more an interested party than the public or the court) and made an agreement concerning impacts?[6]
  14. What is the basis for holding executive sessions of the FMC? All public bodies must hold meetings open to the public unless certain reasons for executive sessions apply.[7]
  15. Where is the public participation for the evacuation plan as stated in the document you provided to the EPA?[8]
  16. What is the timeline and status of the work on the pipeline from the plant to the Hunts Point Dewatering Plant?
  17. When is the DEP’s hearing for the MM?
  18. When will the FMC meet during the summer?
  19. Can the community have input in the plans for the vacated Jerome Avenue Pumping Station, and when will it be offline?
  20. Where are the permits posted for the work ongoing at JPR?
  21. Will the DEP discuss these projects at the DSC of the affected community boards and/or borough board?
  22. What is the status of the park work at JPR?

[1] See the following link for the permit to demolish January 15, 2009, with no asbestos abatement and pre-demolition inspection of February 27, 2009 http://a810-bisweb.nyc.gov/bisweb/JobsQueryByNumberServlet?requestid=2&passjobnumber=210107819&passdocnumber=01

[2] Minor Modification of April 2009, page 2: “Since completion of the Final SEIS, design has progressed to the final design and, as is typical for large scale and complex engineering projects, some changes to the preliminary design and proposed construction methods were made based on information that was previously not available.” (emphasis added)

[3] There was no work proposed for the South Basin Ramp in the Final SEIS JPR. It stated in section that: “The Microstrainer Building would be demolished, and the area would be landscaped and kept open for a potential access ramp to the bottom of the Reservoir’s south basin.

[4] MM, page 9: “The Final SEIS proposed that an access ramp to the South Basin be constructed in the vicinity of Gate House No. 6. …………… Construction of the South Basin Ramp, adjacent to Gate House No. 6 along the western wall of the Reservoir, is proposed for inclusion under Contract CRO-312OS.”

[6] MM, page 15: “In response to a July 28, 2008 addendum to the roginal Cultural Resouces Assessments, related to Contract CRO-313 and CRO-312OS work on the SMC, the OPRHP accepted the finding that a controlled blasting program can be developed that would minimize impacts to historic resources, and also agreed that there would be no adverse impact so archelogical or architectural resources (OPRHP, September 5, 2008 included in Attachment A).

[7] http://www.dos.state.ny.us/lgss/pdfs/public.pdf See page 2 for info on the Executive Sessions.

[8] RMP Database: rtknet.org The Right to Know Network, the DEP stated: “If there is an accidental release, we will immediately call for emergency response to minimize the effect of the release and notify the public of any actions necessary to ensure public protection, through the City emergency management agencies.” Emphasis added


Can anyone tell us what is going on at the Filtration Plant?

Rumors abound as to whether or not the DEP is going beyond, (yes you heard right, beyond) the LINES OF ALIENATION that they so wisely drew many many (it seems like centuries) ago.

As a reminder, here is what they proposed last November (check the category – Van Cortlandt Park):



Here is what the architect put in a professional newspaper: