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Re: The Bronx River Cleanup and Activities

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Posted by Lobo on Tuesday, June 18th 2024:

In Reply to: The Bronx River Cleanup and Activities posted by Alvin L. on Wednesday, June 12th 2024:

Sadly, from day one of the European settlers in NY, our native waterways started becoming cesspools of waste and contamination. The Collect Pond in Manhattan, the Bronx & Saw Mill Rivers, and Tibbett's Brook all fell victim to European colonization. The only thing that kept these waterways from becoming totally unpotable and able to sustain wildlife was that they were continuously being fed fresh waters from their sources upstream. That ended when these upstate sources north of NYC became populated as well. By the early 1800's or so, downstream BR was all but wastewater due to industry & human waste contamination starting in lower Westchester down through the Bronx. Even today, as I understand the below, the east bank of the BR in the northern Bronx can still be prone to contamination of raw sewage waste under excessive flooding conditions. This is due to the sewer & rainwater runoff "traps" engineered to accommodate the large buildings of the early/mid 20th. Century expansion (east bank of Shoelace Park & south). The factories, mills and homes that fed raw sewage may all be gone, but the city sewage system can still be a potential source of contamination when heavy rainfall overfills the roadway runoff drains (they normally empty into the Bx. River). When overfilled, the excess rainwater causes the overfill traps to divert the rainwater to the raw sewage pipe system (this does not empty into the Bx. River). This overflow, if excessive in turn can cause backflow back into the rainwater runoff pipes going into the Bx. River! This backflow is now a mix of raw sewage and rainwater. I do not believe that up to this day that has been resolved, but my understanding is that it occurs only under extreme conditions (when the traps become overfilled).

Reference ID: BX92393


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Subject:Re: The Bronx River Cleanup and Activities

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