Gowanus Canal Inquiry Underlines Severity of Pollution


.………the DEP does it again!  Read the story from the NY Times today!  See EPA web page below …..

A yearlong investigation of the Gowanus Canal in preparation for its cleanup under the federal Superfund program has confirmed the severe extent of its contamination and the threat it poses to public health, particularly for people who eat fish from the canal or have repeated contact with its water or sediment.

FULL STORY  http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/03/science/earth/03gowanus.html?src=un&feedurl=http://json8.nytimes.com/pages/nyregion/index.jsonp

And here is the full report from the EPA including fact sheets and public meetings. http://www.epa.gov/region02/superfund/npl/gowanus/


Water, Soil and the Spirit of Place

Found this while looking through some old boxes of information I accumulated throughout the years.  Still very on point even though it is about six years ago.

Water, Soil, & The Spirit of Place



And for all you who do not have flash (apple people), here it is in pdf form:



Missouri Decision is good EPA WQ standards roadmap for states

The Missouri Decision is a good EPA roadmap for the State’s role in  adopting water quality standards.



Storm Water Entering the Gowanus Canal

This is really unbelievable!



Ethics in the Workplace and the Environment — NYC Water Supply & Sewage

Lecture on Ethics in the Workplace by using the environment, sustainability and other questions looking into the future.

  • Watershed and Sewershed Maps and things of interest
  1. Water Power Point in PDF  Water
  2. Story of the Croton in PDF The story of the Croton
  • Reviewed four chapters in William J. Byron, The Power of Principles:  Ethics for the New Corporate Cutlure, Orbis Books, 2006.  Excellent Book that describes ten classic principles.


EPA head promotes partnership and green infrastructure in Millwaukee

Can you believe it? This could not happen in NYC.  The full speech is here in this pdf – EPA Administrator Emphasizes Green Infrastructure in Milwaukee Speech

Check out this excerpt:

“…………………..One of the most prevalent and fasted growing challenges is dealing with storm water runoff which carries chemicals and other debris into local waters and can damage whole stream ecosystems. Right now the conventional regulatory fixes for storm water are to store it and to treat it just like it’s wastewater, which can be very costly to cities and towns on a budget. Milwaukee has been through these costly challenges recently with the wet weather and storms that have passed through lately,” Jackson says.

Jackson says if money were not an issue, separate sanitary and stormwater systems could be a fix, but says it’s a remedy most communities can’t afford.

The administrator says it’s going to take collaborative innovation to solve the problem. Jackson pledged to weave green infrastructure policy into EPA regulations.

“Ways to use our regulatory and policy making heft, if you will, to encourage the kind of things that are already happening in places like Milwaukee,” Jackson says.

She’s talking about incorporating rain gardens, green roofs and other measures that capture and filter rain water naturally. Jackson calls it working with nature, rather than against it.

She sees green infrastructure as a tool to help clean up old contaminated sites. Jackson says her agency will back up the green talk, with money.

“Funding for states and territories and tribes to mitigate nonpoint source pollution through green infrastructure,” Jackson says.

She calls this a new era of clean water protection.

Read the whole article or listen to it:



In the Riverdale Press: Soggy Soccer Grounds in VCP 2/4/2010

Water, water everywhere ………where could it be coming …….not from the mother of all leaky basements ………the extra water they are putting into the storm drain?


Soccer woes

Soggy fields at the Van Cortlandt Park Parade Grounds may have contributed to the ongoing sod and grass problems that have rendered the fields unusable this kiddie soccer season, according to representatives of the New York City Parks Department, at a Jan. 27 meeting for CB 8’s Parks and Recreation Committee.

“It’s not an exact science,” said Margot Perron, president of the Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy. “We don’t always know when something’s going to finish. Stuff happens.”

And one of the things that happened in the case of the Parade Ground was extra water inundating the growing grass, potentially overwhelming it during a fragile time.

“We have a wet situation,” said Steve Des- Noyer, design supervisor for Croton projects at the Parks Dept., adding that it might have been caused by water main breaks or more rain than anticipated.

The next step, Mr. DesNoyer said, will be test pits on the land in question. If groundwater is found, he said, the Parks Department will check for chlorine to see if city water is getting in.

“If that doesn’t get corrected it would have to be cordoned off,” he said. The over-watering was not anticipated, he said, adding that extra drainage would take care of the problem. All corrective work will probably have to wait until the spring, he said, though heavy rains could postpone that date again.

Still, it’s not just the extra water keeping the fields from being ready to use. The grass knitting is different from establishing the sod as ready-touse, Mr. DesNoyer said.

“It’s not just the knitting process, which can be done in four weeks,” he said. “We like to see things going through a full growing season.”

Since the new grass was planted last year, the full growing season would extend through the end of the spring, after soccer season is already over.

Letting the field grow healthily is important, agreed Traffic and Transportation chair Tony Cassino, who attended the Parks meeting, adding that it does not make it the best option for the Parade Ground fields.

“There’s a balance of wanting to preserve a gem we have right now … and, on the other hand, [are] all the leagues and teams who want to use the fields,” Mr. Cassino said.

The leagues that will be affected are the traveling teams and girls’ teams, said Bruce Silverman, president of the Riverdale Soccer Club.

Some teams will have shortened seasons and others will play on fields borrowed from neighborhood schools like the Riverdale Country School, Mr. Silverman said, adding that more than 200 girls between first and ninth grades might still have their season cancelled if they can’t find adequate field space.

“We still have to see what our options are,” he said.

This is part of the February 4, 2010 online edition of The Riverdale Press.



MINDS IN THE GUTTER seeks submissions

MINDS IN THE GUTTER call for submissions seeks designs for stormwater management in the public right-of-way for juried exhibition and resource guide.

Minds in the Gutter, a project of the Stormwater Infrastructure Matters (SWIM) Coalition, is currently accepting submissions for innovative design solutions that manage runoff from roadways within the public right of way (that’s public space, streets and sidewalks). Submissions must be received before 5pm on February 15, 2010. Details for submitting your project can be found online at  www.mindsinthegutter.org.

Every time it rains in New York City, our combined sewer system gobbles up stormwater running off all hard surfaces – roadways, sidewalks, rooftops and parking lots – into the same network of pipes that carry our sewage. This system quickly reaches capacity, and the stormwater and sewage overflow into local waterways on the order of 27 billion gallons per year. This limits how New Yorkers can safely access the waterfront, and impairs our estuary ecosystem. It’s also a waste! Almost 30% of NYC’s surface is made of streets and sidewalks that contribute to this problem.

Kate Zidar of SWIM asks, “How can we utilize the existing 6K miles of roadway and accompanying 12K miles of sidewalk as an opportunity for stormwater management in NYC?”

Submissions will be reviewed by an esteemed panel of judges from city and state agencies as well as academia and the private sector. The results will be exhibited in April 2010 and will be included in a resource guide for print and online distribution. Above all, through this process we hope to create a collaborative of bright minds in the gutter.

About us:

Storm Water Infrastructure Matters (S.W.I.M.) is a coalition dedicated to ensuring swimmable waters around New York City through natural, sustainable storm water management practices in our neighborhoods.



Getting ready for the DEP meeting 11/5/09 same time and place

The next Croton Facilities Monitoring Committee (CFMC) meeting will be held on Thursday, November 5, 2009 at 7 PM in the DEP’s Contractor’s community office on 3660 Jerome Avenue, Bronx NY 10467 (across from the CWTP between 213th and Bainbridge)

  1. Welcome, Call Meeting to Order
  2. Consider, Adopt Minutes of    CFMC 4-30 (as revised) and 6-18 Meetings
  3. DEP Report on Jobs & Hiring
  4. Parks Dept Report on Jobs & Hiring
  5. Status Report – Jerome Park Reservoir Public  Access Study
  6. Croton Construction Update
  7. Discussion, Set Next Meeting CFMC Principals

Topics should include questions concerning the below listed documents:

1.  Comptroller’s Audits

• DEP’s Oversight of Costs to Construct the CWTP, FR09-110A, 9/1/2009 – http://bit.ly/AI5Pr
• DEP’s Progress in Constructing the CWTP, FR08-121A, 9/1/2009 – http://bit.ly/1a4a3E

Community response  WaterBlogged.org » From Guest Pens: Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz – Croton is one of the Mayor’s worst failures http://bit.ly/3Xawfi

2.  Public comments in June and DEP response in September

June Public written:  Why_to_the_DEP_June_2009 (verbal comments in minutes we have not seen yet)

CRO-313-312OS Minor Mod RTC 07-24-09 v2

CRO_Design Commission Response_090728_FINAL

PDC Response 2 – Friend of VCP

3. Community’s response to the Design Commission



Rowdy Meetings: Parks and Health Care Insurance Reform

Think republican’s invented the rowdy health care reform recess rallies filled with misinformation and fear to pursue their own agenda? Bronxites know better, having experienced these forums on at least two occasions in the past, starting with Clinton High School overlooking the Jerome Park Reservoir. Filling the room with non resident people who are told to disturb the peace and the meeting is the Mayor Bloomberg & Friends modus operandi.

As in the current national heath care reform mess, both the 2003 Croton Filtration and the 2005 Yankee Stadium Redevelopment meetings mangled an overlying issue with the project purpose — the taking of parkland (read: free land), when other alternatives existed to build said project. This mantra was encouraged by the so-called union-contractors and supported by union leadership and membership for selfish reasons – so contractors could make money; and union members higher pay and better benefits.

Just like some are confused about health care reform, few decision makers realized in 2004 and 2006 that alternative sites for each project would maintain union workers keeping their jobs and benefits, and would save the taxpayer billions of dollars.

Today, the message of health care reform is being purposely confused with “death trap for old people,” “increased in abortions,” or “socialistic medicine” for someone’s selfish agenda – like those $24 million per year health care insurance company CEOs, lobbyists tied to the health care industry, etc. Clearly, reform mean equal and better health care for all.

While those joint ventures of contractors and union leaders were initially successful, they ended with many corruption investigations, convictions and pleas, as well as with those same union workers left out in the picket line at the site of the Lehman College Science Building – across the street from the Jerome Park Reservoir!

Mayor Bloomberg & Friends are republicans; that explains the similarities to the national health care reform battle. Hopefully health care reform comes quicker than the long awaited park mitigation around the Jerome Park Reservoir and replacement parks around Yankee Stadium!

We need to learn from our mistakes; not make them over and over. The republican lobbyist spinners have selfish agendas. This is not a public relations campaign, this is our lives.  Health Insurance Reform is not complicated. The cost of inaction is immeasurable. President Obama’s program is clear:  he is not going to raise taxes, but cut the costs we all know exist.

I support the President’s Health Insurance Guarantees.

1. No Discrimination for Pre-Existing Conditions

2. No Exorbitant Out-of-Pocket Expenses, Deductibles or Co-Pays

3. No Cost -Sharing for Preventive Care

4. No Dropping of Coverage for Seriously Ill

5. No Gender Discrimination

6. No Annual or Lifetime Caps on Coverage

7. Extended Coverage for Young Adults

8. Guaranteed Insurance Renewal

Join me. Take Action. Start the discussion.