The city’s Department of Environmental Protection hopes four devices it has installed on the banks of the Bronx River will intercept harmful trash and debris before the muck flows into the waterway.
The underground devices have been installed at four Bronx locations: Soundview Park and West Farms Road near Hunts Point, and Bronx Park Avenue and at the Bronx Zoo farther north.
The agency estimates the pilot program will cost the city $26 million.
Much of the trash and debris that pollute the river and other city waterways originates on city streets as litter, before washing into the sewer system. The new control devices use screens and nylon netting to capture the litter before it gets that far.
The netting is less expensive, but requires more careful maintenance, the city says. The more expensive hydraulic bar screens, however, require no maintenance. They direct the debris they trap to the nearby wastewater treatment plant, where the litter is removed.
“These pollution control devices will help keep litter out of the Bronx and Upper East Rivers and ensure that New York City remains a place where people want to live, work, and raise a family,” said DEP commissioner Carter Strickland.
“Our neighbors and our families should be able to enjoy this treasure of the Bronx, and this project will help improve the quality of water in the Bronx River,” said Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.
The director of the non-profit group that stewards the river is optimistic the new project will help.
“As more and more New Yorkers explore the Bronx River for recreation and enjoyment, we are sure that they will appreciate this contribution to reducing pollution, along with other measures that DEP is taking to improve water quality,” said Linda Cox, executive director of the Bronx River Alliance.
The city says the netting has been responsible for the removal of more than 10 tons of trash since it was installed a year-and-a-half ago, and added it will monitor both methods to help determine their usefulness.