Pooping Is Not a Crime

Dearest Poopers, First off, there's still room for YOU to join us this Saturday, 7/30 at 7:30pm for a rooftop screening of Gasland! Read the original post to learn more or just go express track and and RSVP here! And now for the news...

Pooping is not a crime. Dumping poo in the river is. So said your trusty Puru via cardboard and marker yesterday at the rally held by New York Senator Adriano Espaillat. While there have been many individuals and organization (like Riverkeeper and the SWIM Coalition) hounding the city and state for years to provide adequate signage in the event of a CSO, perhaps the Senator's rallying cry will put a stop to this heel-dragging on the part of those responsible, and get this thing moving. (By the way, you can see a cool video showing how scientists think the spilled sewage was moving through New York's waters from the fantastic SeaAndSkyNY.)

In case you missed it, you can learn more about yesterday's rally in this great article at DNAinfo (in which the above picture and some of my own comments are featured), or take in a short video about it from NY1 (in which I am not featured).

All the best, and peaceful pooping.

Shawn "The Puru" Shafner

Rally Against NYC Sewage Dumping TOMORROW

Dearest Poopers, If you live in New York City, you've probably heard by now of Wednesday's explosion and fire at the North River Wastewater Treatment Plant. Oh, you know! The one that was spewing untreated sewage out into the Hudson until Friday evening (around 120 million gallons)? If this is news to you, check out this New York Times article. Perhaps most concerning is the discrepancy between tests conducted by the DEP and Riverkeeper, an independent watchdog for water safety and health. They were looking to see whether bacteria that normally live in our intestines (that little cutie down below) had moved en masse to riverfront property. And the answer was yes. Yes it had. From the Times:

On Saturday, Riverkeeper said that Thursday’s samples at 6 of 16 test locations in the Hudson, from the Tappan Zee Bridge down to New York City’s Battery, had unsafe counts ranging from 132 to 104,620 per 100 milliliters. “The concentrations near the discharge points were much higher than usual, comparable to the Gowanus Canal and Newtown Creek,” Dr. O’Mullan [of Riverkeeper] said.

Gowanus and Newtown, among the most contaminated bodies of water in the nation, were both declared federal Superfund sites last year and are to undergo decade-long cleanups.

The city’s own sampling Thursday showed much lower concentrations because the testing is done at beaches and in the center of the river, Mr. Sklerov [of the Environmental Protection Department] said.

Here's the problem (well, one problem): beachcombers are not the only ones who need to be told to stay ashore when sewage has been released into NYC water. There are boathouses up and down NYC's waterways. There are fishermen who live off of what they catch every day. There are even brave folk who swim in these waters without ever stepping foot on a public beach. And there are 2 billion gallons of effluent (washed down by 25 more billion gallons of wastewater--normally rain or snowmelt) coming out of large pipes around the city every year in what's called a Combined Sewer Overflow, or CSO. (You can find tons more information on this from the SWIM Coalition--and be sure to check out this swell factsheet.)

Eventually, the city needs to figure out an alternative to dumping untreated sewage into the river every time it rains or snows too much and the city's wastewater treatment plants can't handle the capacity. Until then, an effective notification system would at least help to mitigate the danger. Plenty of other cities have them (see this compendium, again from SWIM), so why not the Big Apple?

To that effect...

I look forward to seeing you there!  And till then, peaceful pooping.

Shawn "The Puru" Shafner

Newtown Creek: Past, Present and Future

Dearest Poopers, The next panel conversation is almost upon us!  In fact, it's TODAY at 6:30pm!

 

 

A century ago, Newtown Creek had more cargo careening down the banks of Greenpoint and Long Island City than did the Mississippi. Now her docks are used to park cars, and her bottom--soiled by a century's worth of industrial pollution and oil spillage--has earned this toxic creek federal Superfund status. Learn more about the rehabilitation process now under way, and the economic/environmental advantages of once again utilizing our waterways instead of our highways.

Featuring Mitch Waxman (Newtown Pentacle) and Kate Zidar (SWIM Coalition, Newtown Creek Alliance).

NOTE: Due to the birth of a wee miracle, Mike Heimbinder (HabitatMap) will not be able to join us.  Alas, nor and Paul Parkhill (Place in History). I know, I know...excuses!

Looking forward to seeing you there and, as always, peaceful pooping.

Shawn "The Puru" Shafner

A Day for Pee-On-Earth

Dearest Poopers, While we normally extol the virtues of that brown stuff from behind, today we're turning around to wish you a very happy Pee-On-Earth Day!

But, please, hold it for just one more minute, and mark your calendars for Newtown Creek: Past, Present, and Future, a panel conversation happening this Thursday, June 23, from 6:30-8:30 pm at the Visitor Center at Newtown Creek, and moderated by The Puru.  Join experts Michael Heimbinder (HabitatMap), Kate Zidar (SWIM Coalition, Newtown Creek Alliance) and Paul Parkhill (Place in History) for an enlightening and engaging conversation about one of New York's most polluted water bodies--and what we can do about it.

And now...

It's always been good to be Number 1, but did you know that the yellow stuff flowing out of your urethra is actually liquid GOLD?  That's right!  Your very own urine is brimming with the nitrogen and phosphorous that plants crave to make them green and healthy. And today is the day to start spreading the love. (Unless you started last year like The Puru...)

Carol Steinfeld, wastewater expert and founder of the holiday, tells you how to do it:

PEECYCLE either directly or by depositing your contribution in a container you take outside and apply to: - Soil, wood chips or the forest floor (not pavement) - Your composter or compost pile (makes brown leaves and woodchips compost faster)

Or dilute it with 9 parts water to 1 part urine, and pour around plants! (Dilute or distribute widely: Lots of urine deposited in one spot on your lawn can result in nitrogen burn!)

She's even created this delightful decal to help you remember:

Now go out there and spread the love!!

Wishing you purposeful peeing and, as always, peaceful pooping.

Shawn "The Puru" Shafner