Dead Pigeons, Rats, Cockroaches Found in NYC Drinking Water Towers

The drinking water supply for offices of the New York City Department of Sanitation doesn’t even have a roof – just a tattered tarp. Photo by Frank G. Runyeon via City & State

New York City drinking water flows from some of the nation’s cleanest, most pristine reservoirs, but if your building or workplace relies on a water tower to store it, you may be consuming water that’s been contaminated by some very unsavory elements. Continue reading “Dead Pigeons, Rats, Cockroaches Found in NYC Drinking Water Towers”

Silt from the Buffalo River Used to Create New Habitat

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is using clean dredging material from the Buffalo River to create a shallow wetland habitat where a deep pond exists on the northern end of Unity Island. Photo via Buffalo News.

For years, sediment dredged from the bottom of the Buffalo River was considered so toxic it had to be hauled to a special disposal facility.

Now, after a $75 million cleanup, the sand, silt and gravel from the river is healthy enough to be used to build a new habitat for fish, shorebirds, turtles and other aquatic wildlife on Buffalo’s Unity Island.

Source: The Buffalo News

Warm Weather has Arrived, and Toxic Algae Blooms are Here for it

Certain environmental conditions, such as elevated levels of nutrients from human activities, warmer temperatures, still water, and plentiful sunlight can promote the growth of cyanobacteria. Photo via Christian Fischer/Creative Commons

It’s not even June, but the state Department of Environmental Conservation has already confirmed blue-green algae blooms in eight water bodies across New York. These blooms can produce toxins harmful to both people and animals, and any contact with affected water bodies should be avoided.

Most of the blooms are on Long Island and in New York City, typical for this early in the season. More blooms are expected across the state as temperatures rise. Continue reading “Warm Weather has Arrived, and Toxic Algae Blooms are Here for it”

Popular Stretch of Rockaway Beach Shut Down Indefinitely

Erosion at this portion of Rockaway Beach has been an ongoing concern for residents. Photo via Rockaway Times

Beach season kicks off this weekend, but for many residents and fans of Rockaway Beach, this summer will be a bummer.

On Monday, the Parks Department announced that an 11-block stretch of Rockaway Beach, between Beach 91st Street and Beach 102nd Street, will be closed indefinitely due to erosion. Continue reading “Popular Stretch of Rockaway Beach Shut Down Indefinitely”

6.5 Billion Gallons of Sewage and Storm Water Released into NY Waterways Last Year

A combined sewage overflow in Newtown Creek. Photo by Alex Dolan.

A new report from the state comptroller estimates that 6.5 billion gallons of combined sewage and storm water were released into the environment last year in New York state. That sewage reached more than 200 water bodies, including rivers, streams and lakes that are used for recreation and in some cases, drinking water.

About half of the state’s sewage overflow comes from New York City.

In many communities in New York, storm water runs into the same system as sewage. During heavyt rains or snow melt, the treatment plants are overwhelmed and forced to discharge raw sewage into creeks and lakes.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that correcting the problem would cost $5 billion statewide.



UPDATE: Source of Hudson Diesel Spill Remains Mystery

Rockland County Sheriff’s Office responded on Sunday, placing oil-absorbing booms in the water to contain the spill. Photo via’s Twitter account.

Note: This story has been updated. Residents of Dutchtown, a small neighborhood in Rockland County, awoke Sunday morning to the stench of diesel fuel blowing in off the nearby Hudson River. Residents saw the rainbow sheen of a fuel spill extending some 40 feet out onto the water. Continue reading “UPDATE: Source of Hudson Diesel Spill Remains Mystery”

#SkiptheStraw Gaining Momentum in NYC

The United States alone uses and discards millions of plastic straws every day, according to Eco-Cycle, a nonprofit group that promotes recycling. Photo via rawpixel/Creative Commons

While government officials argue amongst themselves over plastic bag bans or fees, consumers and businesses are taking matters into their own hands. The latest object of their wrath: single-use plastic straws.

Some New York businesses have stopped offering the straws completely; others provide alternatives like paper straws, or only hand them out when requested.

Source: New York Times