Paerdegat Basin

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Paerdegat Basin (pronounced PAD-ih-git) is a channel that connects to Jamaica Bay in western Canarsie, on the eastern end of Brooklyn, New York, United States. It connects to Jamaica Bay to the south, and the north end of the basin is adjacent to the intersection of Ralph Avenue and Flatlands Avenue. "Paerdegat" derives from the old Dutch 'paardengat', meaning "horse gate".[1]

Paerdegat Basin came to its present form in the late 1920s. Before then, it was a freshwater-fed tidal creek known at various times as Bestevaar Kill, Bedford Creek, and Paerdegat Creek. It was much longer than the present-day basin, and had several branches.[2][3]

The waterway was an important part of a failed plan to transform Jamaica Bay into an alternative port to New York Harbor.[4] In January 1931, the New York City Board of Estimate approved a plan to build railroads on both sides of Paerdegat Basin, connecting the Long Island Rail Road to Canarsie Pier to the east and to Floyd Bennett Field to the west.[5] Paerdegat Basin was dredged to a depth of 16 feet, but was abandoned soon thereafter when the proposal fell out of favor. In the 1960s, the neighborhoods of Georgetown and Paerdegat were built near its banks.

The waterway is polluted due to the overflow location of the combined sewer system at the basin's northern end. The area's sanitary sewer (from residential and industrial sources) is carried through the same system as the storm water. Typically, the full volume of that water is drained to the sewage treatment plant located on Knapp Street; however, during periods of heavy rainfall, the Knapp Street plant does not have the capacity to treat the full volume of the water, so untreated water is forced to flow out into Paerdegat Basin. The New York City Department of Environmental Protection is working to mitigate the environmental impact of the overflow on the ecosystem. At the same time, the DEP is working with the Parks Department to repair the saltwater wetland area which lines the east and west shores of the basin. NYC Parks and NYCDEP are building a Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) facility at that location; the construction contract was awarded to the joint venture of Slattery Skanska / Gottlieb Skanska, which is a subsidiary of the global construction company Skanska. The facility serves as holding tank for the excess water, and whenever the Knapp Street plant can accept additional water, the water is pumped from the holding tank of the CSO facility back to the plant to be treated, preventing the raw untreated sewage from flowing into the Basin. The CSO facility was completed in August 2011.[6]


  1. ^ NYC Parks - Paerdegat Park
  2. ^ Merlis,, Brian and Lee A. Rosenzweig (2008). Brooklyn's last village : Canarsie on Jamaica Bay. Brooklyn, NY: Israelowitz Publishing. ISBN 1878741772. 
  3. ^ Kadinsky, Sergey (2016) Hidden Waters of New York City Countryman Press. Pp. 217-220 ISBN 978-1-58157-355-8
  4. ^ "Paerdegat Basin and the Jamaica Bay Project". The Weekly Nabe. 
  5. ^ "Jamaica Bay Plan Approved by City". The New York Times. 31 January 1931. Retrieved 3 April 2012. 
  6. ^ "Paerdegat Basin CSO Facility". The City of New York. Retrieved 3 April 2012. 

Coordinates: 40°37′38″N 73°54′28″W / 40.6271°N 73.9077°W / 40.6271; -73.9077