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Audio: How to Stop Illicit Pipes & Illegal Dumping from Fouling NYC Waters

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Jarrett Murphy

An outfall pipe on Newtown Creek. The shores of the city’s creeks, rivers, bays and canals are dotted with thousands of pipes. No one knows where many of them originate or what their purpose is, though many are dormant.

New York’s harbor is cleaner than it’s been in a century, but the canals and creeks, rivers and bays that create some of the city’s most interesting coastline are still in pretty bad shape.

The biggest problem for those waterways is sewage overflows, which the city is spending billions to try to reduce, with environmental advocates pushing for even tougher action.

But as City Limits revealed in an investigation last week, individual homes, apartment buildings and businesses also pad the pollution load in some city waterways through illicit connections and illegal dumping. These can involve age-old pipes sending sewage into storm drains instead of to treatment plants. Or it can mean people carelessly letting industrial chemicals run off their waterfront property or down catch basins.

It’s unclear how big the problem is, but some recent incidents—like the 16 buildings encompassing just shy of 1,000 apartments that were found to have been draining 200,000 gallons of sewage a day

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This article was reposted from City Limits, an independent online news source.

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