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Lights, camera, olfaction

Now that’s one good-looking sewage treatment plant! French artist Hervé Descottes hopes to turn Greenpoint’s stinkiest landmark into its most beautiful with the blue lighting he designed to illuminate the “digester eggs” at the Newtown Creek wastewater plant, which was unveiled on June 3.
The Brooklyn Paper / Ben Muessig

The city hired an artist to turn a bane to the nose into a beauty for the eyes.

Department of Environmental Protection officials said that the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant’s eight egg-shaped “digesters” were too big hide, so they decided to flaunt the foul-smelling sludge receptacles by installing permanent nighttime lighting that casts the 145-foot sewage containers in a cool blue glow.

“When you’re running a wastewater plant, half of what you’re doing is taking pollutants out of the water and the other half is making sure that the people living next door won’t be uncomfortable,” said DEP Commissioner Emily Lloyd, who hopes the illuminated digesters will become a Greenpoint landmark.

“[Installing the lighting] was part of our desire to be a good neighbor,” she said.

French artist Hervé Descottes said he chose the color blue to contrast with the city’s orange glow.

“The color is symbolism for calm, cleanliness and purity,” said Descottes, whose installation illuminates stink silos that process 1.5 million gallons of sludge each day and sit in the center of a plant known to waft a vile stench over the neighborhood.

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