NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – Superstorm Sandy released 11 billion gallons of sewage from East Coast treatment plants into bodies of water from Washington, D.C., to Connecticut.
That’s according to a study by the nonprofit science journalism group Climate Central. It says 11 billion gallons is equivalent to having Central Park covered with sewage 41 feet high or more than 50 times the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
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Most of the overflow was due to storm-surge flooding that inundated sewage treatment facilities. The sewage spilled into surrounding waters and even some city streets, most of it in New York City and northern New Jersey.
The study found one-third of the spilled sewage was untreated. Ninety-four percent was due to coastal flooding damage.
The group found that in some cases, untreated sewage kept flowing into waterways for weeks and even months because a number of treatment plants and pumping stations were damaged during the storm.
Long Island’s Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant reported a spill of nearly 100 million gallons of untreated sewage that overflowed into Hewlett Bay after the plant was knocked out of service during the storm, the group said.
New York City reported six sewage spills larger than 100 million gallons and 28 larger than 1 million gallons, the group said.
In New Jersey, the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission in Newark had the largest spill with 840 million gallons of untreated sewage flowing into Newark Bay during the week after the storm, the study found.
The PVSC facility was damaged by severe flooding and power outages during the storm.
The group estimated the cost of repair to damaged plants at nearly $2 billion for New York and $2.7 billion for New Jersey.
The report was based on data from state agencies and treatment plant operators.
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