2006_07_subwayrain.jpgThere's a great article in today's NY Sun on how the MTA gets water out of the subways. Before the article is hidden behind the subscription, it states, "On a dry and sunny day [the MTA's hydraulics] department's 700 or so pumps, at about 280 locations, push 13 million gallons of water out of the subway system and into New York City's sewers. That's the equivalent of all the wastewater produced by the city of Boca Raton, Fla., every day." Which explains why many subway stations are damp, sometimes with pools of water and drippy ceilings on those dry days (and those free newspapers left at stations - that end up in tracks - aren't helping the drainage systems either). But what's crazy is that incidents like last week's stoppage or even the one in early June are nothing compared to one from over a decade ago:

The worst condition [hydraulics assistant chief Peter] Velasquez has seen was in Harlem in the early 1990s, where a broken water main flooded a station at 125th Street and St. Nicholas Avenue up to the stairwell. Scuba divers had to be called in to shut down the main, and the Transit Authority had to bring in its most powerful weapon: one of two diesel-powered train cars outfitted with pumps that can get rid of 2,700 gallons of water a minute. It took an entire weekend to pump out the water, Mr.Velasquez said.

Scuba divers! Maybe the MTA should look into getting more of those special pumping trains, given the forecast looks wet this summer.