4 times • APRIL 23, 2015 FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT www.timesnewsweekly.com Ridgewood talks Newtown Creek cleanup BY KELLY MARIE MANCUSO firstname.lastname@example.org @TimesNewsweekly The Newtown Creek Alliance (NCA) offered information about the polluted waterway’s ecology during an Earth Day meeting of the Ridgewood Democratic Club on April 16. NCA Program Manager Willis Elkins was joined by historian Mitch Waxman and Community Board 2 Environmental Committee Chair Dorothy Morehead to discuss the group’s ongoing improvement and preservation efforts at Newtown Creek. The NCA was first established in 2002 with the central goal of refurbishing and protecting all 3.8 miles of the waterway, a federal Superfund site straddling the Brooklyn/Queens industrial border. “We’re in support of maintaining its industrial use, we just want to make sure it’s maintaining a clean state,” Elkins said. During the 18th and 19th centuries, Newtown Creek was a vibrant salt marsh ecosystem. By the 1950s, however, the creek was one of the busiest industrial waterways in the city. As a result, pollutants including chemicals, dyes, metals and petroleum were left behind. In addition to industrial waste, one of the many challenges plaguing Newtown Creek is contamination from over 20 combined sewer overflow (CSO) pipes discharging sewage and stormwater into the creek. The nearly 450 citywide CSOs were originally designed to handle the surplus of rainwater entering the sewer system during storms. According to Elkins, the East Branch CSO, located at Metropolitan Avenue, is one of the biggest pipes on the creek, discharging over 500 million gallons of sewage and untreated stormwater per year. The creek also contains many deadend The Ridgewood Democratic Club board is shown with State Senator Joseph Addabbo and NCA Program Manager Willis Elkins. tributaries in which water tends to pool and stagnate, promoting bacterial growth. The rise in bacteria levels from CSO output is responsible for low dissolved oxygen levels and poor water quality. In an attempt to raise oxygen levels, the city Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is in the process of constructing a complex aeration system designed to pump air into the creek. The NCA has voiced staunch opposition to the $110 million dollar project, citing concerns over the possible health risks linked to aeration of the creek’s contaminated sediment. “It’s only treating the symptom and not the actual cause of the bad water quality,” Elkins said. “It’s like putting a bubbler on your toilet and calling it clean water.” The NCA partnered with a research group to conduct a series of air quality tests. According to Elkins, research showed higher levels of bacteria entering the air while the aeration system was in use. Despite these results, a consensus could not be reached between the NCA, DEP and other agencies regarding the impact on public health. Elkins voiced support for natural solutions, including the use of cord grasses and “filter feeders” such as mussels and wild oysters to help improve dissolved oxygen levels in the creek. Green infrastructure improvements, such as the installation of bioswales slated for Maspeth, can also help absorb excess TIMES NEWSWEEKLY/photo by Kelly Marie Mancuso rainwater before it enters and the already overburdened sewer system. Going forward, Elkins and the NCA hope to focus on the creek’s ecology by creating habitats for the many birds, fish, plants and mollusks that have returned in recent years. The NCA recently received a small grant from the Greenpoint Community Environmental Fund to construct a living dock to monitor wildlife. The 180-square-foot structure will feature milk crates filled with substrate that will act as a habitat for fish and invertebrates. The NCA also partnered with LaGuardia Community College to install cord grass planters along industrial docks and bulkheads. “It shows you can incorporate life into lifeless structures,” Elkins said. Local Roots CSA adds Ridgewood location BY ANTHONY GUIDICE email@example.com @A_GiudiceReport Getting fresh-from-the-farm food has never been easier. Local Roots Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) has added several new pickup locations, including one in Ridgewood. Members of the CSA in Ridgewood will now be able to pick up their weekly grocery deliveries at Onderdonk & Sons bar, located at 566 Onderdonk Ave. Other new pickup spots include locations in Crown Heights, South Street Seaport and Greenpoint. These are in addition to their current locations in Boerum Hill, Bushwick, Carroll Gardens, South Slope and Williamsburg. Local Roots CSA allows members to shop on their website for food from local, sustainable farms. Food available for purchase includes fruits, vegetables, pastas, meats, fish, bread, chocolate and more. One order of food feeds a household of approximately one to two people. The farmers harvest the food the day before or the morning of delivery to ensure that the food is at its peak flavor and nutritional value for the consumer. Customers of Local Roots CSA can place their orders for a 12-week season, shorter than the 24-week season of other CSAs. The 12-week season gives their customers less of a financial investment and allows Local Roots CSA to offer four different seasons of food. Local Roots CSA then delivers the food to the pickup location designated by the customer each week for the 12-week season. They also offer home delivery for customers in Lower Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn. On April 24, Local Roots CSA will host The Good Festival, an annual celebration of local bands with cooking demonstrations and sustainability workshops between performances. Some of the demonstrations and workshops include making mozzarella at home, how to make sambar and soil-less spoil-less salad greens with Radicle Farm. This year’s The Good Festival will be held at Tiny Montgomery, located at 333 Douglas St. in Brooklyn. For more information visit the Local Roots CSA website. Photo courtesy of Local Roots CSA Some of the fresh food available from Local Roots CSA. TIMES NEWSWEEKLY (USPS 465-940) is published weekly by Schneps NY Media LLC, 38-15 Bell Blvd., Bayside, NY 11361. Periodicals postage paid at Flushing, NY. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: Times Newsweekly/Ridgewood Times, P.O. Box 863299, Ridgewood, N.Y. 11386-0299.
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