Call out the Army.
Rep. Grace Meng has put out the call to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to help come up with a plan to stop more than 2 billion gallons of untreated sewage from flowing into Flushing Creek and Flushing Bay every year — more sewage overflow than any other waterway in New York City has to handle.
“Flushing Creek and Flushing Bay are precious natural resources, and it is imperative that we protect and clean up these critical bodies of water,” Meng said. “The pollution that exists in these waterways is unacceptable.”
During heavy rainstorms, the infrastructure that processes sewage becomes flooded, resulting in untreated human waste being dumped into Flushing Creek and Flushing Bay. The two bodies of water receive the highest amount of pollutants, according to city records, out of any other waterway in the city. Meng hasn’t specified what she plans to do with the corps but there are several organizations advocating for the same goal of cleaning up the creek and bay.
The city currently has no plan to reduce the sewage flow into the creek and Flushing Bay. The creek receives 1,166 million gallons per year and the bay receives 1,499 million gallons per year. Jamaica Bay, which is often thought of as one of the most polluted bodies of water in the city, receives a comparatively small dose of 317 million gallons per year.
“Do you know how much human waste that is?” said Alex Rosa, a consultant for Friends of Flushing Creek, which is advocating for the city and state to reduce the amount of filth going into the Flushing bodies of water. “I’ve never calculated how many people you need to make that much waste. But I’m sure it’s a whole lot.”
City environmental officials recently took a look at the problem. Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Emily Lloyd toured the overworked sewage system near the waterway with Councilman Peter Koo. But the city has yet to introduce a plan to fix the problem or say when it might do so.
Calls for cleaning up the waterway come as there is increased interest in redeveloping former industrial areas along the banks of the bay and the creek.