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Photo via Wikimedia Commons/Jim.henderson
Alley Creek

Learn about the underlying issues lurking within northeast Queens’ local waterways and what is being planned to combat them at this gathering in Bayside.

The Clean Water Symposium, which will take place on March 1 at Queensborough Community College, will give residents the chance to learn about the overall health of Alley Creek and Little Neck Bay. The city’s Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and advocacy organizations Riverkeeper and SWIM Coalition (Stormwater Infrastructure Matters) are slated to present at the event.

Little Neck Bay is the cleanest of all bays located in New York City and the only to meet swimmable water quality standards. However, the waterway’s health is impacted by three main factors: pollution sources from Alley Creek, septic systems in Douglas Manor and direct stormwater runoff into Little Neck Bay.

In March 2017, the city approved a set of long-term plans to improve the overall health of Alley Creek and Little Neck Bay. The proposal includes the construction of a multi-million dollar disinfection facility for water chlorination and de-chlorination. This will reduce bacteria in the creek during the recreational season, according to DEC. The design process for the facility is estimated to begin in late 2018.

However, for advocacy groups, these efforts don’t go far enough to improve waterway health. They argue disinfection through chlorination is not a long-term fix and would still release too much chlorine into the waterways. They’re also concerned the fix could have a negative impact on the creek’s diverse ecosystem.

The event will offer locals the chance to learn more about the waterways and the ideas being proposed to protect them, according to event coordinator Tom McGlinchey. Residents who wish to submit a discussion question should send them to McGlinchey at Tom0153[at]hotmail.com prior to the event.

The Clean Water Symposium is free and will begin at 7 p.m. at Queensborough Community College, located at 225-05 56th Ave., within Lecture Hall S111. Discussion will be moderated by Queensborough Community College Professor Eugene Harris and Queens College Professor Gregory O’Mullan. Interested parties can RSVP here.

The event is organized in part by the Alley Pond Environmental Center. Those with questions about the event should contact the center at 718-229-4000.

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