Imagine Central Park full of sewage stacked 41 feet high. That’s what spewed into waterways in the northeast in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, according to a new report from the nonprofit climate research group Climate Central.
Six months after Hurricane Sandy battered the New York and New Jersey area, Climate Central found that the storm surge caused 11 billion gallons of partially or untreated sewage to leak into rivers, waterways and lakes. The group, which says it “assessed data from a variety of state agencies, municipal governments, plant operators and the EPA” in its analysis, found that 18 of the 20 largest sewage spills occurred in the New York and New Jersey area; four sewage spills were larger that 1 billion gallons each.
How much sewage is 11 billion gallons? According to Climate Central, it’s more than 50 times the size of the BP oil spill (estimated 210 million gallons of oil). That’s enough sewage to fill Central Park’s 843 acres piled more than 41 feet high. In New York alone, the cost to repair flood-damaged sewage treatment facilities will cost an estimated $2 billion.