ASTORIA – Politicians often promise to clean things up, but New York State Senator Michael Gianaris is doing that literally.
Gianaris, who represents District 12 in Queens, which includes Astoria and Long Island City, has sent a letter to the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, the New York Daily News reported, requesting that they check bathrooms that are adjacent to waterways in order to reduce pollution.
“Should any problems be discovered, remedial measures must be taken immediately,” Gianaris wrote, the News reported. This stems from a discovery that for the past 30 years, according Parks Department officials, water leaked from Astoria Park’s toilets into the East River. And although Gianaris acknowledges that “tremendous progress” has been made, he says it is “crucial to make sure that we’re not adding more pollution with more shoddy septic systems.”
Gianaris said that it is important to that leaking is not occurring in other places because the situation at Astoria Park was discovered only by happenstance when workers were undertaking unrelated tasks, the News wrote.
Last week, QNS reported that “the discovery was made when construction of a new amphitheater began at the park’s neglected diving pool. Designers working on the project found that pipes from the playground and pool concession were not connected to city pipes.
“‘The pool and playground were built in the 1930s at a time when people were unfortunately not as environmentally conscious as we are now,’ a spokesperson for the Parks Department said.
“The Parks Department brought in portable toilets to Charybdis Playground last summer and will do the same this summer. The new bathrooms are not expected to be completed until 2019. Bathrooms at the pool were fixed to ensure the pool could operate last summer, the spokesperson said.”
Gianaris was elected to the New York State Senate in 2010, after having served 10 years in the state’s Assembly. A longtime champion of fighting pollution, he wrote New York State’s Clean Energy Law.