AP: Report: 200-plus NY waterways hit by untreated sewage spills


The Associated Press:
May 11, 2018

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — A new report says more than 200 waterways across New York were impacted last year by billions of gallons of untreated sewage and stormwater.

State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli (dee-NAP’-oh-lee) says in a report released Thursday that the health of New Yorkers and their environment suffers when untreated wastewater spills into rivers, streams and coastal areas.

The Democrat says his agency’s report found continued problems with combined sewer overflows, which occur when municipal systems get overwhelmed and discharge wastewater directly into waterways.

State auditors found there were 1,900 overflow spills in the state fiscal year 2016-2017, with most of them making contact or having the potential to make contact with a waterway.

DiNapoli says state and local officials must keep addressing aging infrastructure issues through continued funding and better planning.

Advertisements

Still time to save the Graniteville wetlands and our homes


Staten Island Advance, March 7th, 2018

FULL TEXT:

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — If you lived on Staten Island when Hurricane Sandy hit, you will never forget the devastation. Those who lived in Graniteville likely remember feeling relieved that their homes were mostly unscathed, our streets never flooded.

It wasn’t just luck that spared the neighborhood. The Graniteville Swamp and wetlands shielded the community from the horrific storm. Tall trees helped block the winds and absorbed the rising water. Nature protected Graniteville.

But if developers and shortsighted politicians have their way, the wetlands that saved Graniteville will soon be destroyed to make room for a strip mall and big box store and gas station. In a neighborhood that increasingly is being invaded by unchecked and poorly planned development, developers are planning to build a BJ’s store — plowing down the very trees that saved Graniteville from Sandy.

Without the natural buffer of the Graniteville wetlands, homes will be at risk during the next big storm. There is no doubt that waters will rise and flood our community. If, as a result, FEMA redraws the flood plain maps, residents are forced to get flood insurance that currently isn’t required, homes will suddenly be unaffordable for many neighborhood residents.

One condo community, City West, estimates that flood insurance for the common areas and building exteriors would run about $1,000 per unit per year. That would add up to $206,000 and a special one-time assessment charged to residents along with a monthly increase to their condo fees! That’s on top of the cost for unit owners to insure the inside of their homes, which is estimated at $500 for a two-bedroom unit.

It’s not too late to turn things around. While the City Council voted to allow re-mapping of streets and changes in the zoning that are needed to allow the developer to build as proposed, the City Council does not have the final word here. New York state has jurisdiction over the wetlands — not the city.

To build in the wetland, the developer will have to get permits from the New York state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). These permits have not been issued — or even applied for. Once the developer applies, there will be a public hearing and the DEC will have the obligation to accept testimony from anyone who offers it and the power to deny the owners permission to pave the wetland.

Together, Staten Islanders can stop the strip mall construction. But we need your help.

We encourage Staten Island residents, especially those on the North Shore, to join us in petitioning the developer to withdraw its plans to build and BJ’s to withdraw its plans to use the buildings. The Coalition to Save Graniteville Wetlands and Forests is organizing weekly events to raise awareness and to pressure the state to stop the BJ’s project. On weekends, some residents are passing out leaflets at the BJ’s in Linden, N.J., where many Staten Islanders shop. BJ’s management has not yet committed to the Graniteville site. The developers are counting on them as tenants. If they pull out, the project should collapse.

The coalition is holding rallies and educational forums to raise awareness. Even if you’re not able to attend an event, you can raise your voice by signing the petition to stop the strip mall.

If you’re thinking that it’s too late, you’re wrong. In fact, now is exactly when we need to join together — before the developers even apply for permits to build in the wetland.

We can pressure the developers who want to rent to BJ’s to withdraw their plans. We can make sure that the state knows we oppose them. We can stand together, armed with the lessons we learned in Superstorm Sandy, to keep our protective wetlands intact.

United, Staten Islanders can beat back the attack on our wetlands — which ultimately threatens our homes and our way of life.

We can save the Graniteville wetlands and adjacent forest — but only if we stand together and demand that our public officials prioritize the needs of our community over the profits of big businesses.


Cigarettes Can Be Good for You—If You’re a Bird


Janice Kaspersen • January 16, 2018 ~ Link ~

Along with discarded plastic of various kinds—plastic bags, drinking straws, fast-food containers, and the like—cigarette butts are one of the most widespread forms of trash in storm drains and waterways. They’re small enough to pass through many coarse filters, yet collectively they add up to tons of material—as much as 90,000 tons a year in the US, according to one estimate. Some of their components are toxic to aquatic life. They’ve even been singled out for clogging the spaces between pavers and preventing water from infiltrating as planned.

But for all that, they may have a surprising benefit to some species, and their very toxicity is part of it. Researchers in Mexico have demonstrated that certain birds deliberately seek out discarded cigarette butts for nesting material. Nests containing the butts are less likely to have blood-sucking parasites, which can harm newly hatched chicks.

As this article explains, the researchers weren’t sure at first whether city-dwelling birds actively sought the cigarette butts or whether they simply picked them up along with twigs and various man-made materials like electrical cable and aluminum foil, making use of whatever they encountered in the urban environment. So they devised an elaborate experiment, which involved introducing ticks into the nests of house finches whose eggs had just hatched.

After the baby birds had fledged, researchers collected and analyzed the nests’ linings. Nests into which they had placed either dead ticks or nothing at all contained no new cigarette butts. Those into which they’d placed live ticks, though, contained butts that the birds had recently collected, suggesting a pest-control strategy at work.


Trumps EPA Pledges to clean up NYC’s Most Radioactive Site – But Funding in Question.


WNYC. November 7th, 2017

FULL TEXT:

The Trump administration is taking on its first Superfund cleanup in New York City – that is, assuming it has the money.

Last month, a $40 million plan to remediate a radioactive site in Queens where highly toxic materials were once poured into city sewers was unveiled by local officials of the Environmental Protection Agency. Known as Wolff-Alport for the chemical firm that was once located there, the site sits on an industrial stretch in the Ridgewood neighborhood of Queens. About three-quarters of an acre in size, the site currently houses a deli, an auto-shop and four other businesses. The E.P.A. counts a public school, a bar and some 300 residences within the site’s immediate vicinity.

Wolff-Alport, the newest of the city’s three designated Superfunds, was added to the E.P.A.’s Superfund priority list in 2014. The move came after surveys identified radioactivity throughout the property, including below public sidewalks and streets and in nearby sewers.

Going after such sites has been declared a priority for new E.P.A. administrator Scott Pruitt, a former attorney general of Oklahoma whose views on the environment make him one of the President’s most controversial appointees. Before assuming the post, Pruitt sued the agency repeatedly and still maintains that climate change is not the result of human activity.

But if he’s a climate change doubter, Pruitt has proclaimed himself a Superfund believer. In a memo this summer, Pruitt wrote: “My goal as Administrator is to restore the Superfund program to its rightful place at the center of the agency’s core mission.”

Judith Enck, former regional E.P.A. administrator for New York who pushed to get Wolff-Alport on the Superfund list, said she remains skeptical of Pruitt’s public declarations in support of cleaning up these hazardous waste sites.

“You can’t be the E.P.A. administrator and not stand for anything,” Enck said. “So he’s latched on to Superfunds. But at the same time, he’s cutting the budget, so it kind of rings hollow.”

President Donald J. Trump has proposed cutting $327 million – or around a third – of the nation’s annual Superfund budget. At the same time, Pruitt is also seeking to end the E.P.A.’s financial support to the Department of Justice, which holds the polluters of these hazardous waste sites accountable.

Regardless, spokeswoman for the E.P.A Tayler Covington, said that the agency is committed to cleaning up Wolff-Alport.

“There are no plans to change any of the cleanups for the three New York City Superfund sites,” said Covington. “We are in the budgetary process and final funding levels will not be settled until Congress acts.”

But experts on the Superfund program contend that even the current funding levels are still well below what is needed to clean up the nation’s many contaminated sites.

The E.P.A. announced the cleanup plan for Wolff-Alport in late September. The site’s remediation calls for all tenants to be permanently relocated, all buildings to be demolished and sewers to be replaced. The contaminated soil will be transported to a waste landfill.

All told, the cleanup will cost $39.9 million. But exactly where those funds will come from remains a question.

The E.P.A. maintains an account for each Superfund site in which money allocated for the cleanup is held. The Wolff-Alport-designated bank account currently holds just a little over $650,000, Thomas Mongelli, E.P.A. project manager of the site, told WNYC.

Usually, it’s the original polluters who are responsible for picking up the tab for cleanups.

At Newtown Creek, a heavily polluted waterway that borders Brooklyn and Queens, six potentially responsible polluters have been identified. The Gowanus Canal in southern Brooklyn has more than 30 known polluters. Wolff-Alport, on the other hand, is considered in E.P.A. terminology an “orphan," which means that the original polluter is defunct and can’t be relied upon for payment.

“There is a good chance that most of this money is going to need to come from the federal Superfund program and federal Superfund is running on fumes,” Enck said.

Beginning in the 1980s, a tax on Superfund polluters amassed funds for cleanup in a trust account. But that provision expired around 1995, and the account has since languished. Although there are no official estimates of the cost to clean up all of the country’s polluted sites, Kate Probst, author of a report to Congress, “Superfund’s Future: What Will It Cost?," said the $280 million account balance is woefully insufficient.

Although annual congressional appropriations for Superfunds were meant to compensate for the trust account’s decline, these appropriations have also steadily dwindled. Federal contributions for Superfund cleanup have fallen from $2.1 billion in 1999, to an annual budget of $1.2 billion by 2013, according to the Office of Government Accountability.

This shortfall has stunted the cleanup work at the nation’s most contaminated sites, Probst said. “If they had more money, they probably would have cleaned up more sites, or gotten construction completed on more sites. We know the number of cleanups are slowing,” she said, adding that she expects there will be more disruptions due to the funding shortages. “That is the tip of the iceberg," Probst said.

City officials are also worried that the feds may be low-balling the costs of cleaning up Wolff-Alport. In an August letter to the E.P.A., Haley Stein, a lawyer with the city’s law department, stated that the city “believes that E.P.A. significantly underestimates the cost and feasibility of implementing its preferred alternative."

City officials declined to detail the reasons for their skepticism.

At an E.P.A. meeting about the site in Queens this summer, a handful of residents also expressed concerns about the Trump administration’s plan to cut the Superfund budget and how that would affect Wolff-Alport’s cleanup.

Walter Mugdan, acting deputy regional administrator for E.P.A. region 2, was frank in his response.

"Do I know how this site will rank against others? I don’t," Mugdan told residents, according to a transcript of the meeting. "But I do know radioactive materials are [a] serious concern and what we do know is that people are actually being exposed.”

Indeed, The New Yorker, citing government findings, dubbed Wolff-Alport, “The most radioactive place in New York City," in a 2014 video story, which recounts the site’s fascinating history.

In the 1920s, business partners Harry Wolff and Max Alport founded the Wolff-Alport Chemical Company. At the factory, workers processed monazite sand to extract rare earth metals – a highly toxic procedure. By the 1940s, the Atomic Energy Commission, the successor of the Manhattan Project, started buying radioactive thorium from the site. In the 1950s, the factory shuttered.

Norman Kleiman, director of the Eye Radiation and Environmental Research Laboratory at Columbia University, said the E.P.A. had an obligation to clean up the site. Radiation there is "well above the average terrestrial exposure even in New York City,” Kleinman told WNYC.

"People are especially concerned about exposure,” Kleinman added, “and from a public policy and public health point of view, it’s important to allay fear."

He said risks to passersby and casual visitors to the site are likely minimal, however. "We get radiation from the sun, from the stars, so we live and are bathed in a radioactive world,”Kleinman said.

But for those who labor at the site everyday, the risks associated with Wolff-Alport’s radiation are higher.

On a sunny, autumn afternoon, Alberto Rodriguez, owner of Los Primos Auto Body Repair and Sale, was especially busy with cars to fix. His shop is one of the businesses that the E.P.A. has said will need to relocate.

Rodriguez said he has yet to hear from the federal agency as to when he has to move or how much compensation he’ll receive.

He’s also concerned about the years he’s spent at the radioactive site.

“I’m worried because this doesn’t just happen immediately, especially things like cancer,” Rodriguez, who is originally from the Dominican Republic, said in Spanish. “It happens over time.”

Over the years, there were numerous warnings about the site’s toxicity. In the 1980s, the E.P.A. reviewed the old chemical site but did not take immediate action. But in 2012, a report by the federal Department of Health and Human Services found that “pedestrians who frequently use the sidewalks of Irving Avenue may have an elevated cancer risk from exposure to ionizing radiation.”

After reading that report, Enck said she rushed to convene city, state and E.P.A. officials to begin working on a cleanup plan. “It seems like government agencies knew about the contamination for quite a long time,” Enck said.

In 2014, the E.P.A. installed large steel and concrete slabs over hotspots where radioactive waste remains buried.

The federal agency estimates that the cleanup will take 17 months – a pretty quick timeline. One of Pruitt’s main priorities at Superfunds is redevelopment, and he says his first goal in this effort is “expediting cleanup.”

But this focus on speed and development has some environmental experts concerned.

“I, like many people, was struck by the number of recommendations that had to do with redevelopment and reuse,” Probst said, referring to Pruitt’s Superfund task force. “Are they going to decrease cleaning standards? To the extent that you’re allocating funds to redevelopment and reuse, and you don’t have as much money as you need, it’s a zero sum game – if they’re going to reuse, they’re not going to something else.”

Besides being an “orphan” in the technical sense, Wolff-Alport is also an orphan in terms of neighborhood concern. There are few residents involved at the site and no organized community groups.

While the other two city Superfunds – Newtown Creek and Gowanus Canal – are farther along in the cleanup process, residents and nonprofits are monitoring the work there.

For example, the Gowanus Canal has an active community advisory groupand residents who meet regularly to discuss the site.

Katia Kelly, who lives nearby, runs a blog where she chronicles the stages of the Gowanus’s cleanup.

“If residents are involved and care enough to take part in the process, cleanups move forward quicker,” Kelly said. “We still try to have the community’s voice heard against the special interest groups and organizations.”


EPA Recognizes Excellence and Innovation in Clean Water Infrastructure


https://us.vocuspr.com/Publish/518041/vcsPRAsset_518041_112137_b26fdd54-c895-426a-b91d-987b78b03d5a_0.jpg
EPA Recognizes Excellence and Innovation in Clean

Water Infrastructure

Contact: David Kluesner, 212-637-3653, E-mail Dave

NEW YORK, N.Y. (October 31, 2017) – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognized 28 clean water infrastructure projects for excellence and innovation within the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) program. Honored projects include large wastewater infrastructure projects to small decentralized and agriculture projects.

EPA’s Performance and Innovation in the SRF Creating Environmental Success (PISCES) program celebrates innovation demonstrated by CWSRF programs and assistance recipients. The CWSRF is a federal-state partnership that provides communities a permanent, independent source of low-cost financing for a wide range of water quality infrastructure projects. Over the past 30 years, CWSRF programs have provided more than $125 billion in financing for water quality infrastructure.

“For decades the Clean Water State Revolving Fund has supported critical water infrastructure projects that help grow the American economy and support our way of life,” said Mike Shapiro, Acting Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Water. “These projects are a testament to the power of the Clean Water State Revolving Fund in leveraging investment to meet the country’s diverse clean water needs.”

Twenty-eight projects by state or local governments, public utilities, and private entities were recognized by the 2017 PISCES program. In EPA Region 2, the following projects were recognized:

Honorable Mention

  • New Jersey: Green Infrastructure CSO Initiative – City of Hoboken

Recognized Excellence

  • New York: New Rochelle WWTP Upgrades – Westchester County

More about each of these projects and the PISCES program can be found: PISCES

17-074


E.P.A. Announces Repeal of Major Obama-Era Carbon Emissions Rule


New York Times, October 11th, 2017

FULL TEXT:

WASHINGTON — The Environmental Protection Agency announced on Tuesday that Scott Pruitt, the chief of the agency, had signed a measure to repeal President Barack Obama’s signature policy to curb greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, setting up a bitter fight over the future of America’s efforts to tackle global warming.

Mr. Pruitt, who had signaled the move at an event with coal miners in eastern Kentucky on Monday, said in a news release that his predecessors had departed from regulatory norms in writing the Clean Power Plan, which was finalized in 2015 and would have pushed states to move away from coal in favor of sources of electricity that produce fewer carbon emissions.

Describing the Obama-era regulation as the “so-called Clean Power Plan,” the E.P.A. statement said that repealing the measure “will also facilitate the development of U.S. energy resources and reduce unnecessary regulatory burdens associated with the development of those resources.”

The repeal proposal, which will be filed in the Federal Register on Tuesday, fulfills a promise President Trump made to eradicate his predecessor’s environmental legacy. Eliminating the Clean Power Plan makes it less likelythat the United States can fulfill its promise as part of the Paris climate agreement to ratchet down emissions that are warming the planet and contributing to heat waves and sea-level rise. Mr. Trump has vowed to abandon that international accord.

It also is a personal triumph for Mr. Pruitt, who as Oklahoma attorney general helped lead more than two dozen states in challenging the rule in the courts. In announcing the repeal, Mr. Pruitt made many of the same arguments that he had made for years to Congress and in lawsuits: that the Obama administration exceeded its legal authority in an effort to limit greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. (Last year, the Supreme Court blocked the rule from taking effect while courts assessed those lawsuits.) A leaked draft of the repeal proposal asserts that the country would save $33 billion by not complying with the regulation and rejects the health benefits the Obama administration had calculated from the original rule.

Coal- and natural-gas-fired power plants are responsible for about one-third of America’s carbon dioxide emissions. When the Clean Power Plan was unveiled in 2015, it was expected to cut power sector emissions 32 percent by 2030, relative to 2005. While many states are already shifting away from coal power for economic reasons, experts say scrapping the rule could slow that transition.

Environmental groups and several states plan to challenge the repeal proposal in federal courts, arguing against Mr. Pruitt’s move on both scientific and economic grounds.

Industry groups cheered the announcement, but have also indicated that they would prefer that Mr. Pruitt replace the Clean Power Plan with a new, more modest regulation on power plants in order to blunt any court challenges. The E.P.A. is still required to regulate greenhouse-gas emissions because of a 2009 legal opinion known as the endangerment finding.

“We have always believed that there is a better way to approach greenhouse gas emissions reductions,” Karen A. Harbert, the president of the Chamber of Commerce’s Global Energy Institute, said in a statement. “We welcome the opportunity for business to be at the table with the E.P.A. and other stakeholders to develop an approach that lowers emissions, preserves America’s energy advantage and respects the bounds of the Clean Air Act.”

How would targets be changed?

In order to regulate pollution from existing power plants, the E.P.A. has to set goals for each state based on what is technically feasible and cost-effective. Under the Clean Power Plan, the Obama administration set targets by assuming utilities could improve the efficiency of their coal plants, shift from coal to cleaner natural gas and add more renewable energy to their grids.

But Mr. Obama’s approach was controversial, because the E.P.A. assumed utilities could reduce emissions at individual plants by taking actions outside of those plants — say, by replacing coal plants with wind farms elsewhere. Industry groups and more than two dozen states challenged this move in court, arguing that the E.P.A. can look only at cleanup measures that can be undertaken at the plants themselves.

Mr. Pruitt is proposing to repeal the Clean Power Plan on this basis. He also argued that the Obama administration overstated the benefits of its rule by factoring in the gains from curbing global warming in other countries as well as from reducing harmful air pollutants other than carbon dioxide.

If Mr. Pruitt does end up pursuing a replacement rule, it would almost certainly be confined to inside-the-fence-line measures, like upgrading coal-plant boilers. Previous E.P.A. analyses found that such upgrades would lead to a roughly 4 percent increase in efficiency at coal plants.

What is the impact on emissions?

While the repeal of the Clean Power Plan offers a reprieve for America’s coal industry, it is unlikely to halt the decline of coal altogether. Even in the absence of the rule, many utilities across the country have opted to shift to natural gas, wind and solar, driven by cost concerns and state-level policies. Many states, like California and New York, are already moving ahead of the targets set by the Clean Power Plan as they develop their own climate policies.

Gov. John Hickenlooper of Colorado, a Democrat, noted that his state planned to exceed the goals that had been set under the Clean Power Plan because the state was closing coal plants early and developing jobs in wind and other renewables.

“We have dramatically cleaner air and we are saving money. My question to the E.P.A. would be, ‘Which part of that don’t you like?’” Mr. Hickenlooper said.

A new analysis by the research firm Rhodium Group estimated that United States electricity emissions are currently on track to fall 27 to 35 percent below 2005 levels by 2030, roughly in the range of what the Clean Power Plan originally envisioned, even if the regulation is repealed.

But John Larsen, the author of the Rhodium Group analysis, estimated that if Mr. Obama’s policies had remained in place, as many as 21 states would have had to make deeper reductions than they are currently expected to do without the rule — including Texas, West Virginia, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — and emissions most likely would have fallen further than the 32 percent originally envisioned.

“So for certain states,” Mr. Larsen wrote, “today’s announcement is a big deal.”

Experts also note that the Clean Power Plan would have prevented a rebound in coal use in case natural gas unexpectedly became more expensive or various policies to promote renewable energy were blunted. The repeal comes on the heels of a proposal by the Department of Energy to subsidize coal and nuclear plants by revamping electricity markets.

Jody Freeman, director of the environmental law program at Harvard Law School, said the Energy Department proposal combined with the Clean Power Plan repeal signaled that the Trump administration was putting its thumb on the scale in favor of fossil fuels.

“You see a pretty powerful message. Disavow any effort to control greenhouse gases in the power sector, and instead, intervene in the market to promote coal. It’s a wow,” she said.

What happens next?

Mr. Pruitt’s proposal for repeal will now have to go through a formal public-comment period before being finalized, a process that could take months. Mr. Pruitt will also ask the public for comment on what a replacement rule should look like, but the E.P.A. has not offered a timeline.

Environmental groups and Democratic-controlled states are expected to challenge these moves on multiple fronts.

The attorneys general of New York and Massachusetts said they intended to sue the E.P.A. once the repeal is finalized.

”Fuel-burning power plants are one of our nation’s largest sources of climate change pollution, and common-sense science — and the law — dictate that E.P.A. take action to cut these emissions,” Eric T. Schneiderman, New York’s attorney general, said in a statement. “I will use every available legal tool to fight their dangerous agenda.”

That raises the question of whether the Trump administration can craft and finalize a replacement rule by the 2020 election. Failure to do so, some industry groups worry, could allow a new administration to start over and impose a more stringent climate plan on power plants.

Partly for that reason, many states are already preparing for the prospect of tougher carbon regulations down the road.

Consider Arkansas, one of the states that challenged the Clean Power Plan in court. Ted J. Thomas, the chairman of the Arkansas Public Service Commission, says that his state is nonetheless in the process of shifting from coal to cheaper natural gas. The initial rule also persuaded the state to start exploring clean-energy options, like expanding wind power, promoting the use of smart meters and developing a working group to look at carbon capture technology for coal plants.

“Even if they repeal the Clean Power Plan, or replace it with something that doesn’t require us to do very much, you still have to reckon with the fact that ultimately regulations on carbon are coming,” Mr. Thomas said. “So we need to develop options to deal with that other than sticking our heads in the sand and hoping we can just file lawsuits forever.”

“You can either be prepared or unprepared,” he added, “and that’s a pretty simple choice.”

RECENT COMMENTS

Paul Yates

8 hours ago

All Caesar’s guest’s arose from their recumbent attitude. "Ye gods! I shall see a burning California city; now I can finish the game,"…

Patriot 1776

8 hours ago

I think we need to change the name of the EPA to the EDA. the Environmental Destruction Agency is a more fitting term for what these evil…

Lilou

8 hours ago

Clearly, the EPA’s original mission has been aborted. "Callous", "Indifferent", "Contemptuous"; "Self-serving" — this is the Trump/Pruitt…


Rain Rain didn’t go away


Houston Let Developers Build Homes Inside Reservoirs. But No One Warned Buyers.

An extreme example of why resiliency will not work if we continue to allow people to build in flood plains (or in this case a reservoir designed to hold flood water). It’s a long article with the link below, but the bottom line is summarized in this quote from the article: "This is not dumb, bad planning,” he said. “This is very well-thought-out, bad planning."

October 13, 2017

When Jeremy Boutor moved to a master-planned community in Houston’s booming energy corridor, he saw it as idyllic.

Lakes on Eldridge boasted waterfalls, jogging trails and a clubhouse. It was upscale, secure and close to the office. A bus even picked up his two young sons in front of their house and took them to a nearby international school.

“This neighborhood was a paradise,” said Boutor, who moved to Houston from Paris two years ago after his employer, a French-based energy company, asked him to relocate.

Then, Hurricane Harvey changed everything.

As the downpours began and Boutor studied maps flashing on his TV screen, he realized that his home wasn’t at risk of flooding just because of record rainfall; it was also located inside one of two massive reservoirs that had been built west of Houston decades ago to protect the city from catastrophic flooding.

View Full Story From The Texas Tribune