2002-10-26 / Letters

Bay Needs A Second Flush!

Bay Needs A Second Flush!

Dear Editor;

Jamaica Bay at present is like one of those infamous water saving toilets; it doesn't flush properly. As a result, residues are left within and are added to constantly.

The same old idea exists that if you reduce the depth of the north side of the bay (at Grassy Bay), the bay will flush itself more efficiently. Reducing the depth of this area of Jamaica Bay might just work. But I might remind the authors of that plan (as I did long ago at one of their meetings that Mario Russo and yours truly attended) about the old Aesop's fable about the crow and the pitcher. The crow couldn't get water out of a narrow-necked pitcher, so he kept dropping pebbles down the narrow neck, into the base of the pitcher, until the water was raised up enough to drink.

The dredge fill intended to serve as pebbles dropped into the bay will help raise the water level in Grassy Bay, for the tide will not stop coming in, and the water will only have one way to go... and that is up! The perimeter of our bay was mostly all marsh land, and extremely high tides had a much broader area to spread out in.

The landfills around the bay's perimeter and in central areas, coupled together with a deeper bay bottom (accomplished by man and his many improvement projects) cause stronger tidal currents during tide changes. Severe erosion of the bay marsh foundation (of silts and organic matter that took hundreds of years to accumulate) is the result. This condition will not stop unless someone plugs up Rockaway inlet to cut down the strong outgoing current. The outgoing current does more damage than the incoming tide. But this cannot be done. How will the bay flush out the unwanted ingredients added by mankind?

So like the newfangled water saving toilet, the bay needs a second flush! That's right, a second flush....not a second inlet through Edgemere as some have proposed. The proposed canal to the ocean at the eastern end of Edgemere would only add to the problems of East Rockaway inlet thereat!

For the second flush we would need an influx of fresh and clean water from the nearby ocean, wouldn't we? Now you say we would need a bucket brigade up Beach 36 Street to the bay front. Nahhhhh!

Picture this (if you will!): a huge solar operated pumping station at Far Rockaway, drawing fresh seawater from the ocean, and pumping this fresh and clean seawater through underground mains to Norton Basin, Mott Basin, the head of the bay, and Grassy Bay, as well as any other point on the north and west bay shore. Other pumping stations could also be placed at intervals for booster pumps. Perhaps another pump could be built near Marine Park in Brooklyn as an auxiliary to pump from the west side of the bay to Spring Creek Park. Voila!...The second flush, or, the 24-hour type. And using the K-I-S-S principal, it doesn't require any great leap of faith to visualize this cleansing remedy for the bay.

This idea is a hell of a lot better than dumping toxic waste in parts of Jamaica Bay bottom, isn't it? You bet is!

As for the toxic waste to be dredged from New York harbor? Send it back up the Hudson River where it came from, and dump it on the properties of the companies that produced it and dumped into the Hudson River. I believe that General Electric was the PVC dumper of all time.

We cannot turn back the hands of time, but if I could, I would take it back to 1814. At this time the bay was described as a tidal flat at low tide, with one navigable channel along the south shore of the short peninsula. Another description used the word- mudflat!


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