While the federal government's ideological conflicts have stalled many efforts to achieve environmental sustainability, here in New York the grownups running our state and city environmental agencies have managed to continue to make progress. Recently the state and city signed a draft agreement allowing the city to begin implementing its green infrastructure approach to reducing water pollution into the city's hundreds of miles of waterfront. Hopefully, the federal government will allow them to implement this agreement.
Water quality in the New York Harbor, the Long Island Sound and the Hudson and East Rivers has improved dramatically in recent decades thanks to the success of national, state and local-level policies and regulations. These days there is a wonderful new bike/jogging path that brings you right next to the Hudson River, something unimaginable before the river's clean-up. However, the problem of combined sewer overflow remains one of the most difficult water quality issues facing New York City. Combined sewer systems are typical of cities with old infrastructure: the sewage from your home is combined with sewage from street sewers before it is piped to the local sewage treatment plant. The problem is that if a large amount of rain suddenly sends a high volume of water into street sewers, it can overwhelm treatment plants and push raw sewage into local waterways before it is treated.(Read more...)