On Valentine’s Day, take a virtual tour of the city’s largest sewage plant

February 2, 2021

Photo via NYC Water/Flickr

What’s more romantic that that?? It may seem odd, but every year, when the NYC Department of Environmental Protection and Open House New York host a Valentine’s Day tour of the Newtown Creek Wastewater Resource Recovery Facility and its famous Digester Eggs, it sells out almost immediately. But thanks to our new virtual world, more New Yorkers will get a chance to experience this quirky event this year, and it also allows us to see parts of the facility that the public wouldn’t normally have access to.

As a press release explains: “Originally opened in 1967 to treat wastewater from portions of Brooklyn, Queens, and Manhattan, the Newtown Creek Wastewater Resource Recovery Facility, located in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, is the largest of New York City’s fourteen treatment plants.” (Today, it treats wastewater mainly from Brooklyn and Manhattan below 79th Street.)

In the 1990s, the Department of Environmental Protection began planning a $5 billion upgrade to the facility, for which they engaged Polshek Partnership (now Ennead Architects), along with a team of engineers. The program will include a focus on “Polshek’s award-winning architectural master plan and the ways in which design innovation helped to balance the requirements of large-scale water pollution control with community amenities, like improved waterfront access and public art.”

Part of Polshek’s contribution included the eight, 140-foot-tall stainless steel digester eggs, which can process up to 1.5 million gallons of sludge every day, turning the organic material removed from sewage into renewable energy and an organic compound that can be used as fertilizer.

In addition, you’ll learn fun facts like why you shouldn’t take a shower during a rainstorm and the real problem with “flushable” wipes.

The program will be hosted on Zoom on Sunday, Feburary 14th at 4:30 pm. Tickets are $5 and on sale through February 13.


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