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Getting to Zero (CSO) in Dutch Kills Community Workshop!

Updated: Apr 21, 2021

SWIM, Green Shores NYC, Newtown Creek Alliance, Riverkeeper, and NYC Soil and Water Conservation District have teamed up to develop a Community Action Plan for improving water quality in the Dutch Kills branch of Newtown Creek.

The plan is called Getting to Zero in Dutch Kills. One of the key goals of the project is to identify ways to reduce the annual discharge of nearly 200 million gallons of combined sewer overflow that currently pollute this branch of Newtown Creek.

Combined sewer overflows are the largest ongoing source of pollution in NYC's waterways. The City's plans to reduce CSO pollution in our waterways are currently in the early design/ implementation stage for most of our waterways. Completion dates for the plans range anywhere from 2030 - 2042. See our CSO Long Term Control Plan page here for details.

The CSO Long Term Control Plan for Newtown Creek is currently slated to be completed in 2042! There's a lot that citizens can do between now and then to help the improve water quality and public awareness of the current health of the Creek. The Getting to Zero in Dutch Kills Community Action Plan is one such project.

As part of the Getting Zero in Dutch Kills community action plan, we've:

On February 26th, community stakeholders from around the "Getting to Zero" project area gathered to review community based recommendations for the project area from two community visions plans: Bridging the Creek and the Newtown Creek Vision Plan, our inventory of existing and potential green infrastructure assets, discuss and rank the current priority projects list for the action plan, and share ideas for new greening projects that will improve water quality and help manage stormwater runoff in the project area.

At the workshop, which was hosted by Boyce Technologies in their beautiful employee cafeteria, we learned about water quality improvement efforts already underway in the project area, current water quality conditions in the Dutch Kills tributary, innovative stormwater catchment projects that NYC DOT is piloting in Long Island City and Sunset Park under bridges, how much stormwater the City's tree canopy and green streets can intercept, and how much stormwater can be managed by the City's enhanced tree beds and right of way rain gardens in order to get a sense of how much stormwater can be managed by green infrastructure in the project area. Some attendees also drew pictures of potential graphic icons to depict the CSO outfall points on the tributary, one is depicted above and was submitted anonymously during the workshop.

The project team is currently synthesizing all the information we gathered at the workshop and will launch the action plan in late spring 2019.

Project Background

SWIM's strategic partners at Riverkeeper and NYC Soil and Water Conservation District helped catalyze this project as part of SWIM's mission to empower our members with the tools and information they need to advocate for their waterways. We hope that the Getting to Zero in Dutch Kills Action Plan can be a model that all of our members can use for their local waterways across the city. We'll continue to share our progress on the plan over the next few months.

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