Have you noticed that the city smells a lot less like sewage lately? Yeah, me neither. But according to figures released by 311, we’re at least complaining about it a whole lot less – though Sheepshead residents remain among the most frequent whiners.
According to numbers published by the New York Times today, sewage odor complaints relating to wastewater treatment plants are declining citywide, with just 73 complaints to 311 from June through September – the stinky summer months. That’s down from a peak of 375 in 2007.
From the New York Times:
The city’s Department of Environmental Protection, which runs the city’s water supply, attributes the decrease to new equipment including air filters, tank covers and digesting flares that burn off methane.
“D.E.P. normally gets our highest number of odor complaints during the summer, when it is hot and treatment plants tend to emit the most odors,” an agency spokesman, Farrell Sklerov, said in an e-mail. “We have invested millions in odor control technologies, and it appears that it is paying off.”
The number of sewage-plant odor complaints bobbed between 90 and 180 per summer from 2002 to 2006, spiked to 375 in 2007, and has decreased since then.
Those improvements appear to have helped some of the worst offending treatment plants like that at Newtown Creek. The city’s largest plant, Newtown dropped to 4 this year, from 151 in 2007.
This year, though, complaints out of Sheepshead Bay, where we have the Coney Island Wastewater Treatment Plant on Knapp Street, were among the city’s highest. We accounted for 18 of the city’s 73 total complaints, beat only by Owl’s Head plant in Bay Ridge.
And it seems that those who complain the most get higher priority by the DEP. At Owl’s Head, a steady winner in the complaint category, the city has installed carbon filters, flares to burn off methane, and tank covers – totalling more than $50 in odor control improvements.
All the more reason Sheepshead Bay residents should turn up the notch on complaints if the Coney Island Plant is a problem. Call 311, and have your neighbors do so, too.
But, still, there is the fact that the city has just spent somewhere in the vicinity of $60 million at the Knapp Street plant in odor and fire control systems, as well as technical upgrades. Maybe it just takes time for benefits to kick in, or maybe it’s all just a big pile of number-two.