Flush in peace, Southern Brooklyn!
This week, the city turned on a brand new $404-million sewage treatment facility that will protect Jamaica Bay and Paerdegat Basin from wastewater overflows — a move that officials say would vastly improve the bay’s water quality.
For years, Jamaica Bay has suffered from repeated combined sewer overflows — when heavy rains force the sewers to discharge both storm water and feces-filled wastewater, as well as anything else Southern Brooklynites flush, into surrounding waterways, leaving Jamaica Bay an unattractive — and sometimes stinky — mess.
It’s believed that 1.8-billion gallons of this storm and sewage cocktail is deposited in surrounding water ways each year, city officials said.
But with the new Paerdegat Basin Combined Sewer Overflow plant at the corner of Ralph and Flatlands avenues, that’s all going to change, city Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Cass Holloway promises.
“The completion of this 50 million gallon facility is a major milestone in our efforts to improve water quality in Jamaica Bay,” Holloway said. “These underground tanks will not only cut combined sewer overflows by 1.2 billion gallons per year, the new screening facilities will also prevent plastic bottles and other debris from being released into the bay.”
With the new plant in place, combined storm water and wastewater overflows will be directed to four retention tanks before going to Jamaica Bay. The water will then be put through a screening system where “floatables” — bottles and, well, you get the idea — will be removed.
Halloway said no one should notice all of the dirty work going on: everything’s being done indoors and the city’s installed an odor control system that should keep everything rosy-smelling.
Now that it’s up and running, the sewer overflow plant will keep 70 percent of sewer overflow coming from the area’s combined storm water and wastewater sewer system. A trickle — or 555 gallons — of sewage-filled wastewater will get through.
The news was cheered by local environmentalists and bird watchers who spend a lot of time around the waste-filled bay.
“This is a huge step in returning Jamaica Bay to a wetland and estuarine area of national importance,” explained Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers President Dan Mundy.