Photo via Ted McGrath on Flickr
Thousands of wooden water tanks in New York City have not been properly inspected and cleaned for years, according to an investigation by City & State. And while the water towers have been an iconic part of the city skyline for over a century, the structures make it easy for pathogens and even dead animals to congregate and infiltrate the city’s drinking water. According to the report, most building owners do not inspect and clean water tanks on a regular basis, despite newly updated health codes that require annual filings. City & State mapped more than 13,000 water tank inspection reports from the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH), letting the public know for the first time if and when a building’s tank has been inspected and whether bacteria was found. Last year, just over 3,520 buildings with water tanks filed proof of inspection.
Has your building’s water tank been inspected?
As the population of New York City continues to rise, so does the amount of garbage lining its sidewalks. But getting all this trash out of sight is not an insignificant expense. As the Post reports, a new study by the city’s Independent Budget Office (IBO) has found that the price of exporting trash is swelling and there appears to be little remedy in sight.
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As a city of 8 million people became a city of 8.5 million, it only took a glance skyward at any given time to note the booming population in every borough, with tall towers and boutique buildings springing up like weeds in formerly less-bustling neighborhoods. It’s just as noticeable closer to the ground as an exploding population’s trash threatens to reach skyscraper proportions, too, taxing the city’s sanitation infrastructure. From street cleaning to curbside sanitation pickup to volunteer “adopt-a-basket” efforts in tourist zones and parks, the job of keeping the city clean is getting out of hand, the New York Times reports. Yet the garbage keeps growing. The city’s sanitation department spent $58.2 million last year to keep the streets clean, up from $49.5 million the previous year, as well as expanding and adding routes, putting more people on duty to empty sidewalk baskets and adding Sunday service; Staten Island got its first street sweeper last year.
More people means more trash
A New York City nuisance map today would consist of things like text-walking zombies, pizza rats, and Soul Cycle locations. But back in the 19th century, people had bigger problems, such as manure heaps, hog pens, and 400 families wading through “a disgusting deposit of filthy refuse” just to get home. Atlas Obscura uncovered these amazing maps that were created in 1865 by the Citizen’s Association of New York as part of a 300-page report on the city’s sanitation and public health conditions in the wake of the smallpox and typhoid epidemics. “Rapid population growth, overcrowded apartment buildings, dirty streets and poor sanitation standards had meant that New York in 1860 had the mortality rate of medieval London,” according to the blog.
See the maps and learn more
, Tue, September 16, 2014
- Tired of trips to MoMA and the Met? Try out these 10 obscure NYC museums, like the Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art or the Underpenny Plane and Cast Iron Museum, rounded up by Untapped Cities.
- In case you were wondering, this is where NYC’s poop goes. Gizmodo does the dirty work.
- Help out the sweetest cab driver in the city get a new CandyCab! Learn how on Huffington Post.
- Curbed features 9 disasters that resulted in making NYC a safer, more resilient city.
Images: Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art by Bill Lyons for Staten Island Advance (left); Triangle Shirtwaist Factory prior to fire courtsey of UPI/Cornell University (right)