Assessing the Impact of Combined Sewage Overflow Upgrades at a Superfund Site: Newtown Creek, New York

Authors: Aldrin Ador*, The City University of New York, LaGuardia Community College, Holly Porter-Morgan*, The City University of New York, Tonya Roe, The City University of New York, LaGuardia Community College, Zazoe van Lieshout, The City University of New York, LaGuardia Community College, Diana Calderon, The City University of New York, LaGuardia Community College, Thomas Calella, The City University of New York, LaGuardia Community College
Topics: Coastal and Marine, Water Resources and Hydrology, Urban Geography
Keywords: Combined Sewer Overflow, Water Pollution, Enterococcus, New York City,
Session Type: Illustrated Paper
Day: 4/11/2018
Start / End Time: 1:20 PM / 3:00 PM
Room: Canal St. Corridor, Sheraton, 3rd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Newtown Creek, a 6.0 km tidal waterway between Queens and Brooklyn, was designated a Superfund site in 2010. Not only does the Creek contain sediments packed with chemical contaminants, but it is severely impacted by combined sewer overflow events. The Creek receives more than 2 billion gallons of untreated sewage and storm water yearly from 20 combined sewer outfall pipes. The New York City Department of Environmental Protection is addressing this problem by upgrading the four sewage outfalls that contribute the highest proportion of discharges to the Creek. This research is assessing the impact of these upgrades by providing first a baseline of water quality at Newtown Creek and then testing water quality after the upgrade completion. Weekly water samples at key locations along the Creek were collected during the recreational boating season and tested for levels of dissolved oxygen and Enterococcus (fecal indicator bacteria). High bacteria and low dissolved oxygen levels were found to be correlated with heavy or sustained rainfall. In addition, the highest levels were found at the combined sewage outfall pipes slated for upgrades. Results from this research will be important in determining best management practices for this waterway.

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