Subway Car Reef: Novel Solution

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ambience: Subway sounds

Typically you can take the A train to the west side of Manhattan however one day it might end up in Delaware Bay. I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet. How do you safely recycle hundreds of dilapidated New York City subway cars? Well transit officials and marine biologists have come up with a novel solution — use them to build an artificial reef. Jeff Tinsman is Artificial Reef Coordinator for the Delaware Department of Natural Resources. He says the first step, is to make sure that all potentially dangerous materials are removed from the retired subway cars. Then, they can be shipped by barge to a specially selected reef site in Delaware Bay.

“What we’re left with is the metal shell, the car. The under-carriage is removed that’s what’s got all the oil and grease. The cars are steam cleaned – all the doors and windows are removed. Basically we have a seventeen ton box that allows good circulation of sea water and allows for fish to come and go from the interior of the structure very readily.”

Turns out that these huge metal boxes also make perfect habitat for mussels, crustaceans, and other food sources vital to local fish populations. Because the old cars possess so much ready-made surface area, Tinsman says it won’t be long before marine mammals colonize the site.

“We’re not waiting for something like a coral reef to grow – that’s gonna take decades to become functional. These subway cars will be colonized early this spring typically by blue mussels and the rest of the community and it’ll be fully functional by next summer.”

Pulse of the Planet is presented with support provided by the National Science Foundation.

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Subway Car Reef: Novel Solution

A seventeen ton metal box seems an unlikely place for for a marine habitat, but in the Delaware Bay it's home-sweet-home.
Air Date:03/05/2004
Scientist:
Transcript:


music
ambience: Subway sounds

Typically you can take the A train to the west side of Manhattan however one day it might end up in Delaware Bay. I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet. How do you safely recycle hundreds of dilapidated New York City subway cars? Well transit officials and marine biologists have come up with a novel solution -- use them to build an artificial reef. Jeff Tinsman is Artificial Reef Coordinator for the Delaware Department of Natural Resources. He says the first step, is to make sure that all potentially dangerous materials are removed from the retired subway cars. Then, they can be shipped by barge to a specially selected reef site in Delaware Bay.

"What we're left with is the metal shell, the car. The under-carriage is removed that's what's got all the oil and grease. The cars are steam cleaned - all the doors and windows are removed. Basically we have a seventeen ton box that allows good circulation of sea water and allows for fish to come and go from the interior of the structure very readily."

Turns out that these huge metal boxes also make perfect habitat for mussels, crustaceans, and other food sources vital to local fish populations. Because the old cars possess so much ready-made surface area, Tinsman says it won't be long before marine mammals colonize the site.

"We're not waiting for something like a coral reef to grow - that's gonna take decades to become functional. These subway cars will be colonized early this spring typically by blue mussels and the rest of the community and it'll be fully functional by next summer."

Pulse of the Planet is presented with support provided by the National Science Foundation.

music