By: Nia Alexander
On Tuesday, July 26, 2016, the UVSO Department of Community Outreach & Planning (DCOP) attended the monthly Newark DIG meeting at Newark City Hall. Newark DIG stands for Newark is Doing Infrastructure Green. Newark DIG is a partnership with Rutgers Cooperative Extension Water Resources Program, The Trust for Public Land, Greater Newark Conservancy, NY/NJ BayKeeper, New Jersey Tree Foundation, Unified Vailsburg Services Organization, Ironbound Community Corporation, Clean Water Action, Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission, and many other community organizations tworking together to help keep Newark’s infrastructure up to code with the NJ Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Each organization at the table wants to make Newark a healthier and greener city.
This meeting was filled with representatives from different organizations. During the meeting, Ms. Pam brought up a situation that occurred on July 14, 2016. Heart Of Vailsburg (HOV) residents were witnessing Lindsley Grocery, a store located on Brookdale Avenue and Lindsley Place pour hot grease from the store into the sewer drain. That is obviously a problem. The sewer drain can get backed up and effect everything from unsanitary water to blockage in the pipelines. This is when the coalition comes in handy. All the different organizations at the table came together to try and solve the issue. The City of Newark Engineering Department representative pledged to follow-up with Code Enforcement to see if they had received the HOV letter explaining the issue and if actions were taken. The representative from the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission shared an enforcement department website and phone number where issues like that can be reported and that department is most likely to follow-up more quickly than the City since they have the DEP an EPA power to do so. The Newark DIG Chairperson also encouraged the coalition that if they have any similar stories, they should share it with her so the issue can be shared with the whole committee.
Toxic liquid waste added into the water system can lead to combined sewer overflow more quickly whether there is a lot of rain or not. It can also cause everything to become backed up in communities, which we see throughout Newark when heavy rainfall occurs. While listening to this meeting there were many interesting things talked about and many great solutions mentioned. These organizations come up with different plans to help keep Newark’s water, pipes, and environment safe and clean for Newark’s residents.