October 5, 2021
In 2021 we upped our water quality sampling at the new site for + POOL, as part of our due diligence with New York City Economic Development Corporation. Trained volunteers collected 100-ml samples at the Pier 35 site every Thursday morning over an 18-week period.
Additional samples were collected at the site during Tropical Storm Henri (Week 13). Henri originated from a well-defined low-pressure system north-northeast of Bermuda and strengthened into Tropical Storm Henri on August 17, eventually making landfall in Westerly, Rhode Island, on August 22. The result for New York City was more than 8.39 inches of rainfall (as recorded in Central Park) from August 19-23.
As previous patterns have shown, the water quality in the NYC Harbor meets or exceeds standards for swimming for a majority of the samples. At our new site, 12 of 18 weekly samples were safe for swimming naturally. We were surprised to see that, according to the Health Department’s 2021 Beach Report, raw river water at the site actually exceeded standards at two existing city beaches that are currently monitored by the Health Department!
We began to use that data to have deeper conversations with the city about how access can be made possible based on the science. We also used the data to start to design an advanced monitoring plan with our health risk assessors that would help us understand processes and protocols for safe operation of our facility when it comes to water quality testing and monitoring. Since there is no advanced monitoring frameworks currently designed at the city level for these kinds of facilities in these kinds of waters, we began to put together our own to propose to the city.