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NY Storm Panel Proposes Shoreline Changes

A draft report prepared by the NYS 2100 commission, one of four panels appointed by New York governor Andrew Cuomo in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, has proposed a number of changes to protect the area from future super storms that could impact utilities, railways, wastewater treatment and the state’s shoreline.

The 175-page study proposes the state consider storm surge barriers to protect New York Harbor and recommends adding “green infrastructure” features to the state’s industrial shoreline, the New York Times reports. Such features, which include dunes, wetlands and oyster beds, would help infiltrate, evaporate, retain or reuse storm water, the report said.

The commission also recommends a rail connection between the Metro-North commuter lines and Penn Station, a project that is already in the works, the Times reported.

The preliminary report, which forecasts more frequent cycles of drought and flooding caused by climate change, also calls for protection of petroleum, chemical and hazardous waste tanks located in flood plains, strengthening of wastewater and drinking water infrastructure, and decentralizing of electricity generation through more networks of cogeneration, combined heat and power and solar power.

Sandy’s storm surge caused widespread pollution of the Hudson River, New York Harbor and nearby areas by a variety of toxic chemicals, including petroleum and fluids from cars and boats, along with contaminants from flooded subways, roads, parking lots and tunnels, as well large single sources, such as a 349,000-gallon diesel fuel spill in New Jersey’s Arthur Kill waterway.

The storm, which caused widespread power outages, also crippled the regional supply chain, slowing deliveries from companies including Amazon and railroad firm CSX, grounding thousands of flights and shutting down Wall Street.

In a recent issue of EL PRO Analysts, Eric Meliton of Frost & Sullivan examined the environmental impacts of Hurricane Sandy, including water and wastewater treatment facility clean-up requirements, safety measures enacted by the EPA and actions needed to protect these services.

Photo: Flickr/That Hartford Guy

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