The City of Mount Vernon is faced with an unprecedented sewage crisis exacerbated by climate-fueled extreme weather events. On Monday, July 16th, beginning at 10 am noted advocate Catherine Coleman Flowers, Vice-Chair, White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council, and author of Waste: One Woman’s Fight Against America’s Dirty Secret will tour the city’s waste sites along with Mount Vernon senior leadership and other key stakeholders.
Ms. Flowers is an important leader in the environmental justice movement who uses her platform to shed light on aging sewers systems in communities of color across the United States. Mount Vernon has over 100 miles of sewer lines in varying states of disrepair. Federal and state consent decrees against the city to compel it to fix the MS4 system cited for polluting waterways. Ms. Flowers and her team will meet with Mayor Patterson-Howard and her staff to explore resources to fix the crumbling system, which will cost approximately 150 million dollars to repair.
Ms. Flowers will also be accompanied by Mitch Bernard, Acting Director of the Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC), Donnel Baird, CEO of BlocPower and Kartik Chandran, Professor & Engineer from Columbia University (Department of Earth and Environmental Engineering), along with senior leadership from the City of Mount Vernon.
The tour will commence with testimony from city residents impacted by raw sewage backfilling into their basements and entire neighborhoods supported by fragile sewage pumps, followed by visits to MS4 outfalls along the Hutchinson River and remote demonstration of the SL-RAT truck currently mapping Mount Vernon’s entire sewer system. After the tour, Mayor Patterson-Howard, Catherine Flowers, and other attendees will hold a 70 W 3rd Street press conference. The press conference will be streamed live on the City’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/mountvernonny.