The Shit Tits: Welcoming The Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant

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There are over eight million people in New York City. Invariably, each and every one of them will go to the bathroom. So after that fateful flush, where does it go? Well, if they happen to live or work in North Brooklyn or the East Side of Manhattan below 72nd Street, the odds are that their poop will surface two blocks from my home. You see, I live in the shadow of the largest waste treatment plant in New York City, and perhaps on the entire east coast.

Before you send me your condolences, dear readers, let me tell you a few things about this establishment. The Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant (as it is formally called) is not your run-of-the-mill poop processing facility. It is much more interesting than that, as you will see. But before that, let's start with a little background information about what is now lovingly referred to by the locals as The Shit Tits.

The Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant was built 1967. It receives high-rate activated sludge sans primary sedimentation and handles approximately three hundred million gallons of you-know-what a day. When the Federal Clean Water Act was passed in 1972, 85% became the established standard for the removal of waste products before it could be dumped into the city's waterways. As a result, this then five-year-old plant (which sported a significantly less 65% removal) instantly became non-compliant. And non-complaint it has remained, to this very day.

An upgrade of this plant was green-lighted by the city in 2003. The end product of this $2.4 billion project will be a thirty-seven acre facility equipped to handle 1.2 billion gallons of sewage. (That's a lot of poop, people!) The projected date of completion for the new and improved plant is 2013 (although it's rumored that the city is trying to push it back to 2022). The completed plant will also sport a state-of-the-art odor control system (which I can attest, as of July 2008, is NOT up and running).

Polshek Partners, the architects responsible for the Rose Center for Earth and Space at the American Museum of Natural History as well as the William Jefferson Clinton Presidential Center, were brought on board to design the digester tanks. When completed, there will be eight in total; four of them are up and running as of this writing. They are quite stunning, if a bit surreal:

Especially at night.

Why are these tanks blue, you ask? That is a very good question. One which I will enjoy answering, as it segues into what makes this plant so darned interesting. You see, if everything goes as planned, there will be a lot more going on at this site than mere waste treatment. Among the amenities promised is an education center, a waterfront park and "commissioned art work".

The education center has yet to become manifest, but the latter two items have. On September 29, 2007, the Department of Environmental Protection unveiled the first of several unusual perks to be had on the premises: a nature walk (PDF), the first part of what will ostensibly become a waterfront esplanade along Newtown Creek, one of the most polluted waterways in the United States.

I was at the nature walk's official opening in September (see pictures here) and, last month, I attended the official lighting ceremony for the digester tanks. (My write-up is here, including video footage and digester tank cakes.)

It was at this latter event where I got the scoop about the blue things that hold the poop: Herve Descottes of L'Observatoire International was hired to give these bad boys some flair. And that he did. The "diaphanous layer of blue light" that "visually identifies" Greenpoint's very own sewage treatment plant is purported to be visible from the observation deck of the Empire State Building. I have never verified this, but nonetheless find it strangely appropriate, given our neighborhood is probably charged with handling the building's crap.

How many of you can tout a public park on the premises of sewage treatment plant? Or digester tanks considered to be both a public landmark and a source of civic pride? I didn't think so. But then again, you don't live in Greenpoint. The next time you visit the Empire State Building or flush a toilet in Manhattan, please remember my fair burgh: Greenpoint, Brooklyn, U.S.A., also known as the Garden Spot of the Universe.

15 Comments on "The Shit Tits: Welcoming The Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant"

Thunderbox's picture
PoopReport of the Year AwardComment Quality Moderatorj 1000+ points
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Imagine if crazed terrorists blew that place up when it`s completed. New York City would be wiped out by a turd tsunami.

The voice of sanity

ChiefThunderbutt's picture
PoopReport of the Year AwardComment Content ModeratorComment Quality Moderatorf 5000+ points
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How wonderful life is in the civilized world. We shit in the drinking water and then spend a gazillion dollars getting the shit out so the water is potable.

Envy the poor savages who shit in outhouses. They still have to boil their water but have a small amount of assurance that it contains no turd particles.

-----------------------------------
Like the big bear I shit in the woods.

How long a minute is depends on what side of the bathroom door you're on!

prarie doggin's picture
PoopReport of the Year AwardComment Quality Moderatorg 4000+ points
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The place looks like a half-buried Russian Orthydox church.

daphne's picture
PoopReport of the Year AwardSite AdminComment Content ModeratorComment Quality Moderatore 6000+ points
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Bravo Miss Heather, great article! It's interesting that the city has decided make the plant a public affair. When I saw the night picture, I thought that it looked like a new sports complex or movie theater. Maybe the architect liked torpedo bras from the fifties.

_______
.....hugging bunnies since 1969
www.daphneszoo.com

.....hugging bunnies since 1969
www.daphneszoo.com

Bilgepump's picture
Comment Quality Moderatorh 3000+ points
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I thought it a monument to Madonna...
_______

The proper order is kiss me, then go smell the other dog or cat's butt. I cannot stress this enough.

"One of the founding members of the Front Page Hyena Pack, and runs as its alpha male when the urge strikes him, which is often." Daphne (one perceptive chick)

s53748's picture
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It is incongruous that this marvel is somehow associated with an edifice constructed to the memoirs of William Jefferson Clinton, when we all know that structure is dedicated to the processing not of human waste but pure and unadulterated bullshit.

Jim N's picture
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Great article!

I have to say, though, I've lived in Greenpoint for a while and never smelled it. You sure it's not the DSNY solid waste transfer facility you're smelling?

Love to Poop's picture
m 1+ points - Newb
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Holy Cow! YOU really know your waste treatment info. I am impressed by your wealth of knowlege. Where do you find room in your brain to store all that?


Kimmy!!! Get your thumb out of there! I'm about to blow!

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Kimmy!!! Get your thumb out of there! I'm about to blow!

olde mann's picture
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great article.I am doing the HVAC work in some of the buildings there and I think the name shit tits is very funny.

joeAnne's picture
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Well, yes, indeed you are right to be angry about this awful situation. If I were in your place I would have tried until now to do something to make it better. Actually, all the inhabitants of the New York city should take some serious measures to solve this. And after doing this go on a trip with the Greek Island Cruises. I am sure that you will get so relaxed that you will forget about all your problems.

Deputy Doo's picture
m 1+ points - Newb
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I loved the article! Great work.

John G.'s picture
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Wow, joeAnne, how responsible of you...you would've tried, and, somebody else should've. Then a brilliant segue for a shameless self promotion of your lame business. "Cause if you go on a cruise, problems magically go away!"
Jackass.

Captain Craptastic's picture
l 100+ points
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When traveling in strange countries, always make the most of every opportunity to fart in the elevators! Bonus points are awarded if crowded! Take care with local, exotic cuisine that may lead to sharts, the unexpected fart with a wet ending.
----Captain Craptastic!!!

----Captain Craptastic!!!

ChiliKahKah's picture
j 1000+ points
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Given this project, I do not see how the country could assume our infrastructure expertise could be of value to any other country.

lyn's picture
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Oh My God! Is this for real? like this is happening in The Big Apple? How can poops be everywhere in the city, considered as one of the most expensive cities to live in?