Learning the Lessons of Drainage, Again!

November 30, 2012
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The picture is from an article in the New York Times on the havoc wrought on Nassau County’s sewage treatment plants by Hurricane Sandy.  Readers of this blog who have attended to the warnings of the original Lichanos, source of my nom de plume, will not be suprised.

A few excerpts from the Times piece describing what happened when the system went down, my emphasis:

In less than 30 minutes, engines for the plant’s main pumping system were under 12 feet of water, and sewage began to back up and overflow into low-lying homes. In one low-lying neighborhood, a plume of feces and wastewater burst through the street like a geyser.

During heavy rains, there are occasional sewage leaks, particularly in low-lying areas, residents say

For the residents of Barnes Avenue in Baldwin, a low-lying stretch about three miles from the Bay Park plant, the failure during the hurricane was the culmination of their worst fears, though hardly a surprise. …After Tropical Storm Irene sent human waste splashing onto lawns and front porches last year, residents said, the county bolted manhole covers shut to prevent them from opening.

And now, for those of you too lazy to go the source, I reproduce here the most probing and relevant section of Drainage:  The Wine of Life in which Professor Hilton Korngold summarizes The Drainage Crisis.  I have added some emphasis:

… in the probing monograph, “Towards an Interpretation of the Drainage,” . . . Hilton Korngold, describes with disturbing calm the widespread deterioration of urban drainage systems in the Western World. In this work, Korngold writes:

We must arm ourselves with all the material and spiritual forces at our disposal to ensure that this crucial epoch is one of the transcendence into unity of Drainage and Drained or else our culture is doomed to destruction. Extrapolation from our present condition along the lines of Revelation yields a vision of Busting sewer mains and all waters of the world made as wormwood, unfit to drink.  Mankind would be reduced to a primitive state of disunity, neighbor isolated from neighbor by vast surging cataracts of fluid, while the monument of our era’s accomplishments would gradually be submerged beneath festering pools of stagnant runoff. In this hell on earth all laws of sense will be overturned, men will go mad for lack of water to drink, sinks and cisterns will back up onto your floor instead of efficiently disposing of your wastes, and the Power of the Plumber will be null. Men in their frenzy of despair and disbelief will turn the evil upon themselves, building houses at the bottom of hills, in marshes, and along oozing gullys, while the Few Who Know will be the object of arrogant derision. And it is the folly of human inaction which will bring down on us this recapitulation of The Flood.