This morning NAG attended the sold out Valentine’s Day tour of the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant in Greenpoint. The Plant’s free monthly Digester Egg Tours often sell out and today’s was no exception, all three of today’s 100-person tours sold out far ahead of time. The tour came with a commemorative Valentine’s Day card and “NYC SEWER” pin, and the tour was filled with happy couples walking arm-in-arm. It was probably the only wastewater treatment plant tour where “Has anyone ever proposed here?” seemed like a reasonable question (the response was “not yet”).
A couple things that make the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant unique (and lends it to being a decent date spot) are the stunning views of the Manhattan skyline juxtaposed with industrial Greenpoint on the foreground as well as the plant’s acclaimed modern architecture. The tops of the digester eggs are connected by glass walkways, which allows for views from a variety of angles.
The tour started with a presentation in the education center, followed by a Q&A session on the glass walkways atop the digester eggs (140 feet above the ground). On an average day the plant treats 250 million gallons of wastewater, representing about 18 percent of the city’s wastewater. It is the largest of NYC’s 14 wastewater treatment plants. A large-scale project to turn food waste into natural gas is also in the works at the site. The City is partnering with Waste Management, Inc. and National Grid to harness the methane that is generated at the Plant and convert it into “pipeline ready” fuel. The three-year pilot project has the potential to reduce New York City’s carbon emissions by more than 90,000 metric tons annually, comparable to taking 19,000 cars off the road, officials say.
The date of the next Digester Egg Tour has not been posted yet, but we recommend keeping an eye on the tour’s information page for upcoming dates. The tours only last an hour and are a great (free!) way to get another perspective on the neighborhood.