2009-02-20 / Top Stories

Bloomberg Stops By Rockaway

Talks Climate Change And Rising Sea Levels
By Nicholas Briano

Mayor Michael Bloomberg at the Rockaway Wastewater Treatment Plant in Rockaway Park this week discussing the effects of rising sea levels. Mayor Michael Bloomberg at the Rockaway Wastewater Treatment Plant in Rockaway Park this week discussing the effects of rising sea levels. Mayor Bloomberg was in Rockaway this week to announce the findings of a report stating that water levels around New York City could rise by more than two feet by century's end along with average temperatures increasing as much as 7.5 degrees.

The report was released by the Department of Environmental Protection's Rockaway Wastewater Treatment Plant and the New York City Panel on Climate Change, a group of climate change scientists, academics and private sector practitioners compiled by Bloomberg to study city-specific climate changes and effects.

In his announcement at the water treatment plant at Beach 106 Street and Beach Channel Drive on Tuesday, Bloomberg said he chose this site to make the announcement because the Rockaway plant is specifically preparing for the effects of climate change. A $30 million project of raising electrical equipment, such as pump motors, circuit breakers, and controls, to higher elevations, in anticipation of rising sea levels is underway.

The equipment is currently 25 feet below sea level, but the plans are to elevate the machinery to 14 feet above sea level.

"The City's 14 plants are particularly vulnerable because of their proximity to the water," Bloomberg said. "We must make sure plants like these function properly in the event of a catastrophe."

The report was funded by a $350,000 grant from the Rockefeller Foundation and specifically predicts that sea levels will rise by approximately 12 to 23 inches around New York City by the end of the century.

According to the report, in the coming decades New York City can expect 2.5 to 4.5 times more days of temperatures that exceed 90 degrees, than it experienced on average in the years of 1971 to 2000.

The Mayor was joined in the announcement by Acting Environmental Protection Commissioner Steven Lawitts, New York City Panel on Climate Change Co-chair Dr. Cynthia Rosenzweig and the Office of Emergency Management's Chief of Staff Seth Cummings.

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