Coney Island Wastewater Treatment Plant

Our wonderful Coney Island Wastewater Treatment Plant, right next to homes and a nature preserve. (Source: DEP)

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.

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  • Anonymous

    Sorry about that.  I ate Lasagna at El Greco that other day and well……

  • Anonymous

    60 mil for odor and fire  control ? what are they going to do? buy 60 mil worth of air fresheners? … Face it… shit smells and does not burn with exception for methane gas that can explode.. covering all the surrounding streets with shit! lol 

    on the other note.. one of my friends who lives less than  a block from this shit processing plant says that he never smells it… … LIAR!!!

    • Anonymous

      In related news, the surrounding streets are covered in shit :-D

    • Barkingspider7

      He has probabaly grown so used to the stink, that he can’t smell it anymore.

  • Andrew Kent

    I wonder if Sheepshead Bay still has an ozone layer?

  • Ijas2000

    it always smells like sh*t here….we’ve gotten soo used to the smell we dont even realize it there! 

  • Andrew Kent

    Well, as they say, doody calls ;)

  • http://twitter.com/Lostinservice Lostinservice

    I’ve personally called and complained to 311 about shit smells around SHB. The complaints weren’t about the treatment plant though. Often times the cause is people dumping trash into the the sewers via manholes. They get clogged and the lack of movement causes shit to build up and smell like well, you know.

  • Tinman

    Smell can be horrific, even in summer when windows are shut and AC is on.
    Also depends on which way the wind is blowing.
    I’ve lived a block west of the plant for 25 years and it has, on occasion, smelled like a toilet!
    City has tried and failed for for years to end the stench. Time to move it near Gracie Mansion and see how the mayors like it. 

  • http://www.chickenunderwear.com Chicken Underwear

    I remember back in the day I used to run from the foam coming out of that plant when I was stuck in right field.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_32KIUIOU4BY5JF7G2Q6APWTS6I Jeff

    I read somewhere that our waste-water plant is the largest of its kind in the world.  Never had that confirmed, however.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_32KIUIOU4BY5JF7G2Q6APWTS6I Jeff

    The smell usually seems to be concentrated just north of the plant.  Other areas seem hardly impacted.

  • Roma5645

    And I suppose there is no health hazards connected with the methane being release from the plant on Knapp street.
    One block away the city decided the park all the garbage trucks which doesn’t help matters.

  • Norm Acunis

    Anybody have a photo of the old iconic stink factory at “Z and Knapp”?  It’s the building that was replaced circa 1993.  If you have such a photo, I’d pay for a decent one.  Contact me at nacunis@gmail.com

  • Alla Markova

    The reconstruction of plant seemed to end in December 2011. Now it’s March of 2012 ans it stinks even more. I called yesterday 311 and today got a call from the plant’s assistant manager who said the plant is very old and they do not have staff nor equipment. What happened to the money? Can the Community Board do something about it? Should we write a petition and gather signatures?

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