Friday, December 02, 2005

Neighborhood #18 (Oil and Water)

While making dinner for Lillet on Wednesday night I decided finally to do something about the severely diminished flow of water through our on-tap filter. Here's what I discovered, before and after cleaning.

I apologize for the poor quality of these photographs — our camera is really not built for this sort of thing — but you get the idea. Note that this is not the Brita filter proper, not microfiltration, not what we paid $40 for. This is just the little mesh pre-filter. It's what we'd have gotten had we just run the tap water through a standard kitchen strainer for a few months. In other words, what you see in the "before" picture are big, nasty chunks of who-knows-what kind of crap.

New York is known for having the best municipal drinking water in the country, and it does. At the source and at most points of delivery it tests best in terms of cleanliness, safety, and taste. But some neighborhoods are better than others, and if you are concerned about pollution — groundwater and otherwise — ours would be one of your very last choices for where to live in this city.

Remember the Exxon Valdez spill? Okay, now imagine an oil spill 50% larger than that one. And imagine it happened in the most populous county in the country. Well, that's exactly what happened in 1978 on the Brooklyn-Queens border. Here, look.

I've added the three arrows. The first points chez Lillet and Trey, where we live today — just South of the map's border. Arrow #2 points to where Lillet lived when she and I started dating. The third arrow points to the cemetery where both of my maternal grandparents are buried.

I'm sure it goes without saying that the cleanup of this nearly 30 year-old spill is still a matter of litigation. What you perhaps did not know is that the US Olympic Committee planned to build the Olympic Village for the proposed 2012 Olympics on top of this toxic site.

Which will come first, cleanup of the neighborhood or high-rise condos?


Anonymous z said...

Hmmm. Let me think... you ask a tough question. Building high-rise condos?

Yep, the water's clean when it leaves the reservoir. It's all the other sh*t it has to go through in the meantime. Like your pipes. And oil spills. Scary.

1:31 AM  
Blogger Mr. H.K. said...

A school on the most toxic part... Then the high rise condos...

Reminds me that a friend has been nagging me about all the flouride that I'm drinking in the city water and that I should switch to filtered water... Yowsa!


Mr. H.K.
Postcards from Hell's

And I Quote Blog

6:09 PM  
Blogger BrightLikeAKnife said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9:32 AM  
Blogger BrightLikeAKnife said...

I found out from my architect friend Ralf that there are plots of land all over the Williamsburg/Greenpoint area (such as that prime plot on Bedford & 12th) that are so toxic, they are uninhabitable for 75 to 125 years!

The price we'll all pay for being hip young adults: glow in the dark babies.

P.S. In high school, we would use those filters as bong screens. Is that a Jersey thing?

9:36 AM  
Blogger Trey Desolay said...

You used water tap filters as bong screens??

On this side of the Hudson what we would do is go into a head shop and buy a pack of bong screens.

10:37 PM  

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