Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Orange River Flows In Chinatown St., Arrives In Sewer

While on the corner of Kenmare and Mulberry St this Monday afternoon, one could see a constant stream of orange colored liquid flowing down Kenmare, and around the corner to a drain on Mulberry. What was it? Paint? Food product? Who knows. I bet the fish really like it though.

But seri, where does all this junk end up? According to a story on the Gotham Gazette did on the Sewer Systems of NYC,
"Whenever you flush or turn on a faucet, the wastewater flows through pipes that lead to sewer pipes, called mains, in the street. Sewer mains are typically three to five feet in diameter. Runoff from rainstorms (and all the stuff that collects in the gutter) joins it in combined mains.

The sewage and runoff flow into a series of progressively larger pipes until they reach the wastewater treatment plant. The system relies almost entirely on gravity to keep the waste moving, although pumps help where the topography is difficult.

For decades, the waste simply went from the pipes out into the waterways surrounding the city. Most treatment plants in the city were not built until after World War II, and the last of these, the North River plant in West Harlem and the Red Hook plant in Brooklyn, were not completed until the late 1980s. As recently as 1986, all the sewage from the Upper West Side of Manhattan flowed untreated into the Hudson River. Ending that sewage flow played a big role in the river's rebirth...

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