Worry Over E. 91st St. MTS Flooding

| 02 Mar 2015 | 05:01

Elected officials spoke of their concerns over extreme weather affecting the future garbage transfer site

Yorkville residents have protested the construction of the Marine Transfer Station for multiple reasons, from concerns of air pollution and asthma, to financial drain. At a press conference last Thursday, and at the peak of hurricane season, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, Senator Liz Krueger and Council Member Lappin focused on the flooding risks associated with the project. They called on the army corps of engineers to revoke the permits for the 91st Street site.

The 10-story, three-block-wide garbage dump will be constructed in Flood Zone 1 - which is at the highest risk of flooding during a natural disaster. The flood plain, according to Federal Emergency Management System, is six feet above the base of the MTS, which would create a serious flooding probability. The elected officials present at the press conference said that the Army Corps of Engineers should consider rejecting the proposal, or at least should require a re-assessment of the height and size of the site before the proposal moves forward.

"This proposed MTS location will only make us more vulnerable when the next natural disaster strikes," said Maloney. "It makes no sense to house thousands of tons of garbage in a known flood zone right along the waterfront and just steps away from a senior center, public housing complex and a playground, all of which could be inundated with filthy, hazardous waste."

This week, U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan released the Sandy Task Force rebuilding strategy, which called for a number of strategies for rebuilding and prevention one year after Sandy. One of the main strategies is to make vulnerable shoreline areas, including the site of the MTS, more resilient.

During Hurricane Sandy, the FDR Drive was under 8 feet of water, the flooding enveloped Asphalt Green next to the proposed site, and the waters reached 2nd Avenue. The political representatives expressed concern over what would happen once thousands of tons of garbage were added to the equation.

"We don't have a full understanding of the potential flooding this site and the surrounding neighborhood can face, and we need to," said Senator Liz Krueger. "This project must not be allowed to move forward without a full reassessment."