Oct
1st

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.

Aug
10th

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:

http://www.wuwm.com/programs/news/view_news.php?articleid=6641#share

Feb
7th

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.

http://www.riverdalepress.com/full.php?sid=11362&current_edition=2010-02-04

Jan
18th

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.

swimmablenyc@gmail.com

Nov
3rd

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

Deisgn_Comm_re_Parking_MGH_101309

Aug
15th

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.

Aug
2nd

Harlem River Working Group files for National Park Service assistance

check out the following link:

http://www.bceq.org/2009/07/31/harlem-river-working-group-nps-application-filed/

Jun
27th

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

Jun
23rd

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:
http://a030-cpc.nyc.gov/html/cpc/index.aspx?searchfor=lower+concourse
p.29

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

http://www.nyc.gov/html/dcp/pdf/env_review/lower_concourse/apendix_n.pdf

Is this fair, or right?

http://www.friendsofbrookpark.org
Activists are a threatened species, but there’s safety in numbers. If you can’t be active, please $upport your local environmental activist.
646.648.4362
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

Jun
23rd

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.