On YouTube: Mother Jones - Superstorm Sandy (February 2013)
Coastal Processes & Hazards - News

Mother Jones: After Sandy, Scientists Hunt for Sewage in New York City's Harbors (February 2013)


Duration: 3 mins and 16 secs

Filed by Tim McDonnell, Climate Desk's associate producer

For most people affected by Superstorm Sandy, the damage was plain to see: Devastated homes, impossible traffic, even lost lives. But for Bruce Brownawell, the storm's biggest consequences are buried under several meters of seawater. Brownawell is a marine scientist at SUNY-Stony Brook who has spent the last several years becoming intimately acquainted with the chemical makeup of mud on the floor of various bays, harbors, and inlets in the New York City area.

When Sandy hit, several local scientists saw opportunity: For Bruce, it was a chance to return to these areas and investigate how strong storm tides shifted mud around—particularly in areas close to several low-lying sewage treatment plants that were knocked out during the storm and dumped raw sewage into the water for days. To do that, he and colleague Jessica Dutton of Adelphi University strapped on mud-proof waders and headed out to Hempstead Bay off the south shore of Long Island. Climate Desk crammed onto the boat for the inside dirt.


Related New York Sea Grant-funded research:


Photo by Doug Kuntz, Newsday

Is the Western Long Island South Shore Estuary ecosystem (pictured above) capable of handling the additional nitrogen from the post-Superstorm Sandy failure of the Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant?

And how is the breach on Fire Island at Old Inlet impacting Great South Bay and surrounding communities?

In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, NYSG responds by funding two new research projects on Long Island's South Shore valued at $50,000.

For more on this story, see the related "New York Sea Grant Responds to Superstorm Sandy" story.

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