Friday, June 26, 2009

Runoff and Readings

The Walt Shamel (Dean North) Community Garden has a water-catchment system going in this weekend. The tank, seen above, will collect runoff from adjacent lots and store it for gardening purposes. Systems of this kind are remarkably good for New York City's somewhat troubled water cycle, for two reasons: they conserve water (NYC has oodles of it, but that doesn't mean it's free for the city to provide) and, more importantly, they keep runoff out of the combined sewer system. Unlike other major cities, New York doesn't have very many separate storm drains for rainwater, which mostly runs directly into the same system as raw sewage. The problem with a combined system is twofold: it's expensive, because it increases the volume of sewage that needs treating by mixing in water that could safely run into rivers and oceans untreated, and it overwhelms an old, overtaxed system, causing "combined sewer overflows" that dump raw sewage into local bodies of water, wreaking havoc on fragile ecosystems and drawing hefty EPA fines in the bargain. Yet another reason that community gardens are the answer to everything.

In other news, Monday (June 29th) marks the next installment of the Franklin Park Reading Series. The theme is "Coming of Age Across the USA: Tales from the Heartland, Big City, and South," and the featured speakers will be Nebraskan playwright Rachel Shukert, Alabaman comedian Dan Fontaine, and Brooklyn's own Felicia Sullivan. Come check it out.

Also, don't forget Nostrand Park's Day of Service tomorrow!

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