Harlem Sewage Spill Opens Old Wounds

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Last week's fire at New York City's North River Wastewater Treatment Plant and subsequent sewage spill highlights just one of a vast number of reasons no one wanted it built in Harlem in the first place.

Fire broke out in the engine room of the hulking plant, raging for more than three hours and discharging millions of gallons of untreated sewage into the Hudson River, according to NewsOne.


Harlem community activists saw this coming years ago and fought against its opening. They also expressed concerns about its environmental risks. But they lost the battle to the Upper West Side. NewsOne writes:

It was just another story in a long-standing American narrative of environmental injustice against communities of color; white politicians and planners shifting the noxious, the unpleasant, and the dirty public and private works of our cities onto neighborhoods with minimal political influence.

… By the time it was partly operational in 1989, it was already controversial — spewing fetid, rotten-egg odors and coinciding with an increase in asthma rates and other respiratory related ailments in the surrounding area.

Officials pacified residents with a sprawling, verdant park atop the cauldron of raw sewage, replete with an Olympic-size pool, skating rink, cultural center and 2,500-seat athletic complex. But nothing can gloss over environmental safety.


Read more at NewsOne.

In other news: Obama: 'We Have Run Out of Time.'

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