Environmentalist Solutions to NYC's Sewage Problems

Prompted by the recent outage that left thousands of Queens residents without power for nearly a week, the Gotham Gazette has an in-depth feature this week on New York City's aging infrastructure and what can, should, and most likely will (or won't) be done to improve it. They note that untreated sewage ends up in New York's rivers every time it rains because the treatment systems can't handle the sudden influx of rainwater. While most suggested solutions focus on pipes and tanks, groups like Riverkeeper and the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) are recommending ways to prevent rainwater from going into sewers in the first place, such as planting green roofs and street trees that will soak up the water and put it to good use. Environmentally sound solutions would almost certainly save the city money (it costs less to plant trees than to dig up old pipes and lay new ones, and encouraging building owners to greenroof costs hardly anything), so it's hard to understand why officials seem to be dragging their feet. Riverkeeper and the NRDC are considering legal action to push the city towards sustainable solutions if necessary. Let's hope it doesn't come to that. ::The Aging City at ::Gotham Gazette via ::Gothamist