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Category Archives:

Pollution

Phytoremediation, Park Intern Hannah Schanzer’s Summer Project

Hannah Schanzer is a Park Intern at Solar One this summer, working in Stuyvesant Cove Park. She is a rising junior at Washington University in St. Louis, studying Environmental Policy and Urban Studies. She has come to the Park this summer to learn more about urban park stewardship and urban ecology.

For my summer research project, I really wanted to focus on studying how the urban setting impacts the biodiversity of the park. Stuyvesant Cove Park is situated between a gas station, a power plant, and the highway. Additionally, it is located on the former site of a cement mixing factory.

Preliminary testing revealed that the soil in some beds of the park have slightly elevated levels of lead, although not enough to cause concern with park operations (highest lead concentration in a bed was 80 ppm (parts per million), anything less than 100 ppm is considered safe for children to play in). I was curious to find out whether there was a way to “clean” the soil with the highest lead concentration without treating it with chemicals or replacing it with imported soil.

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Lead Exposure in Children Still a Problem in NYC

Lead has been flagged as a known health hazard for more than 40 years, but contaminated paint, dust and soil is still a problem in older NYC buildings and neighborhoods that had a lot of automobile traffic during the 50s, 60s and 70s.

Complete removal is difficult, and while cases of lead poisoning in children have been declining steadily since the first lead mitigation building regulations were established in 2004, the demolition and renovation of so many older buildings over the past decade has only added to the problem. The city had originally hoped to completely eliminate lead poisoning by 2010. Unfortunately it was not to be. However, with proper action taken by landlords, and enforcement by city agencies charged with monitoring this issue, New York City can move closer towards its stated goal.

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Ascendant Neighborhood Development to Solarize Buildings in East Harlem

Ascendant Neighborhood Development (AND), an affordable housing company working in East and Central Harlem, has been working since 2015 on a plan to renovate and modernize 21 buildings in its portfolio, and Solar One is delighted to have partnered with AND on the solar portion of their strategy.

Our Here Comes Solar Affordable Solar team did the site assessments and provided technical advice to AND about which of their buildings were best suited for solar installations, and did the estimates of how big the systems could be and how much electricity they could generate. As a result, AND will be installing a 197 kW array, which will generate more than 235,000 kWh every year- enough to provide electricity to all the common areas of all 21 Ascendant Heritage buildings.

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Will NYC Be First in the US to Try Congestion Pricing?

Since the 1970s, off and on, NYC has considered a congestion pricing plan, where drivers would be charged a fee for driving in Manhattan south of 60th Street during certain hours of the day, for the purpose of relieving congestion on the streets and raising badly needed income for the public transportation system. Unlike previous plans, the current one under consideration does not include tolls on all the East River bridges. But opponents still believe the fees will be a drain on commuters.

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Books for Kids that Teach About the Environment

“Reading is fundamental” is a phrase most people are familiar with, and instilling a love of books and reading in their children is some thing that many, if not most, parents strive for. Some books carry messages even more profound, though. Stories are such a compelling way of passing on information that human cultures have stories that have survived thousands of years.

When it comes to environmentalism, stories can play an important role in teaching kids to take care of the animals, plants and other features of a healthy natural environment.

Here are five suggestions from Earth911.com that are sure to please budding environmentalists and eco-parents:

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New Report Shows NYC Waterways Are Cleanest They’ve Been in 100 Years

Being that Solar One is physically close to the water, the condition of that water is anything but an abstract notion to us. Water quality testing is one of our Education team’s most popular field trip offerings, we have a Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) pipe running diagonally under the blacktop, and we host some of the Billion Oyster Project‘s little bivalve charges. Students who come to Stuy Cove can find out exactly what’s in our water on any given day.

And while most days, we generally do find at least a little bit of bacteria, a new report from the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) shows that remarkable improvements have been made in recent decades.

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