At Skyline Cruises, our waterways are our home and our home port at the World’s Fair Marina in Flushing Bay is our neighborhood. That’s why we were honored to host our neighbors recently for an important meeting on the future of the bay and a proposed plan by New York City to clean its waters.
The meeting aboard our yacht, the Skyline Princess called the Flushing Clean Water Community Meeting was a chance for members of the community to give their input on the city’s proposed $47 million cleanup. The meeting was co-sponsored by Skyline and three environmental organizations: Guardians of Flushing Bay, Riverkeeper, and S.W.I.M Coalition. Environmentalists, elected officials, and residents of the area were in attendance as were members of the city Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), the agency which will oversee the cleanup once a plan is approved.
“We can’t just say the water is bad, the conditions are bad,” Akilia Simon, of the Empire Dragon Boat team NYC, a racing team made up of breast cancer survivors, told the Queens Chronicle at the meeting. “We need to band together, have power in numbers and move on to the public meetings where we can make that difference.” Members of the team which practices in Flushing Bay have seen instances of pollution first-hand and decided to take action by joining local advocacy groups.
Why the City is Cleaning Up Flushing Bay
According to the investigative reporting website City Limits, the city has been trying for decades to deal with the problem of sewage runoff, known as combined sewer overflow (CSO) in several waterways including Flushing Bay. The city has sewage treatment plants to clean up wastewater and rainwater runoff from nearby streets and the runways from La Guardia airport. But heavy rains can cause the treatment plants to become overwhelmed causing the bay to become polluted.
The city is under a state order to clean up CSOs, with the order most recently updated in 2012. They are required to submit what’s called a Long Term Control Plan (LTCP) to the state detailing the cleanup in 2017 following several months of public comment on the DEP’s initial cleanup proposals.
Proposals for Cleaner Water
The meeting aboard the Skyline Princess gave community activists the chance to hear ideas that they later presented during the public comment period. Among the potential ideas that the DEP is considering are ecological enhancements and creation of green infrastructures, such as more porous pavement that will absorb rainwater and will reduce runoff into the bay and green roof buildings that will be covered with vegetation that will absorb rainwater. There are also proposals to better maximize the flow into wastewater treatment plants to better capture CSOs and plans to modify and optimize the sewer system.
The final plan could cover infrastructure spending on sewage treatment for the next 25 years, Sean Dixon, a lawyer for Riverkeeper told the Chronicle at the Skyline meeting.
“We’ve got a huge problem ahead of us,” Dixon said of the sewage flow into Flushing Bay. “It’s up to the community to tell the elected officials, tell city agencies, tell the state agencies that we don’t want that to continue for 25 more years.”
Skyline Cruises Can Provide the Venue for Your Next Meeting
It was a privilege for Skyline Cruises to help bring the community together to discuss and debate this important issue. If you’re looking for a distinctive setting for your next meeting or event, consider a private charter with Skyline Cruises. For more information, contact us today.