In gross news for the day, the New York Times ran a story highlighting the city’s Department of Environmental Protection “Wait …” campaign, which asks residents in parts of Brooklyn and Queens to “Wait…to use water during a heavy rainstorm.” Unbeknownst to many, rainwater runoff and household sewage flow in the same underground pipes. When there is a lot of rain, the overflow runs off into nearby rivers, bays, and creeks instead of to the intended water treatment plant destinations. The four things the site suggests you wait on are: laundry, shower, wash dishes, and/or flush the toilet.
As per the New York Time article, “About 20 billion gallons of combined sewer overflows are discharged annually into waterways, down from nearly 110 billion gallons in 1985, according to city officials. Typically, about 90 percent of that combined overflow is rainwater runoff.”
Since the 1980s, the city has spent over $45 billion to rectify the problem. According to the DEP’s brochure, “The waterways of New York have been getting cleaner and healthier. Wildlife and people continue to enjoy the waterways in their neighborhood… Join the movement that’s improving our community and keeping our waterways clean for wildlife. We’ll send you a free text message alert when there’s a heavy storm and another when it’s all clear.”
“Wait…” also created a map of participating neighborhoods so NYC residents can see if they are living in an area in high need zones.
Perhaps unintended, the city’s grand advice is a quite intuitively comic, “wait…doing laundry later, taking a shorter shower, delaying dishwashing and if you’re really brave…waiting to flush the toilet.” Um, we got that.
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