Why & how Red Hook floods & how to prepare
Created for the 2020 Barnacle Climate Justice Rally & March
You can download this one-page PDF flyer at link below. We have copied its words below so that you can easily click the hyperlinks to get to all Red Hook WaterStories content mentioned in the PDF. The jpeg version is for sharing on social media, but the links won't work in the jpeg.
Red Hook flooding relates to Red Hook’s history of landfilling and our being at the bottom of the hill of the local watershed and sewershed. During Sandy, Red Hook flooded with salt water from the harbor, underground springs burbling up, rainwater and sewage coming up through storm drains, and sewage emerging from home toilets (sewage backflow).
A watershed is the area of land from which water drains to a central point like a lake, river, or stream. The high hills of Carroll Gardens drain into Red Hook and the Gowanus.
A sewershed describes an area from which all the sewers flow to a single end point. Sewer lines from parts of Carroll Gardens, Park Slope and Gowanus go to Red Hook where there was going to be a wastewater treatment plant. Due to Red Hook protests, it was moved to the Brooklyn Navy yard (and is still called the Red Hook Wastewater Treatment Plant); and the sewage has to be pumped from here to there.
When there is a heavy rain, sewage overflows into the harbor due to CSOs (see below), or up into our streets through storm drains. During Sandy, it also backed up into home toilets. NYC has CSOs (combined sewer overflows) that move both rainwater and sewage. A sudden load of water from heavy rain, snowmelt or harbor flooding can overwhelm the system and make sewage flow into the harbor, along with all the street litter. Helpful Action: Don’t litter at all and don’t flush your toilet while it is raining.
The Red Hook maritime nonprofit PortSide NewYork (located on the ship MARY WHALEN) has a growing virtual museum about Red Hook at www.redhookwaterstories.org with a lot of info about this kind of thing plus info about current Red Hook nonprofits, stores and government services. Here are some related links:
- Resiliency 101: how to prepare for a flood in Red Hook https://redhookwaterstories.org/tours/show/9
- Historic maps https://redhookwaterstories.org/maps
- Map of Sandy-damaged trees https://redhookwaterstories.org/items/show/914
- How Red Hook changed from marsh to peninsula https://redhookwaterstories.org/exhibits/show/thentonow/
- Local sewer history https://redhookwaterstories.org/items/show/1590
- Red Hook sewershed https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B4wX_nnTabwhTTFSamlSNkpNSzg/view
- Green energy history! Red Hook had tide mill ponds, https://redhookwaterstories.org/items/show/884
- Water quality & wildlife along Red Hook’s waterfront https: //redhookwaterstories.org/items/show/1735
This flyer created by PortSide NewYork is at https://redhookwaterstories.org/items/show/1855