Steve Hiltner: Pollution in Harry’s Brook

Harry’s Brook turned milky white recently. What is the cause? Photo: Steve Hiltner.

By Steve Hiltner

Recently, Harry’s Brook turned into Princeton’s own Milky Way. The source of the pollution is difficult to determine, because every part of the creek upstream of the intersection of Harrison Street and Hamilton Ave. was buried long ago in underground pipes. You can see in the distance where the creek emerges out of the oval pipe, with the intersection just beyond. In another era, kids would seek adventure and cooler temperatures in the summer by exploring these pipes, which extend up towards Palmer Square, where this branch of the creek begins.

I took a sample of the water, and reported the spill to town engineers and the Stony Brook Watershed Association, which does periodic monitoring of the creek. These episodic spills, which may only linger an hour or two, don’t show up in periodic water quality testing. Click to continue reading…

Steve Hiltner is a frequent contributor to Planet Princeton and a former member of the Princeton Environmental Commission. He blogs at Princeton Nature Notes and Princeton Primer.