Superstorm Sandy released 11 billion gallons of sewage from East Coast treatment plants into bodies of water from Washington, D.C., to Connecticut with a New Jersey plant having the most overflow.


Partially untreated sewage laps onto Liberty Island (WNBC TV)

That's according to a study by the nonprofit science journalism group Climate Central. It says that's equivalent to having Central Park covered 41 feet high with sewage.

Most of the overflow was due to storm-surge flooding that inundated sewage treatment facilities.


The sewage spilled into surrounding waters and even some city streets, most of it in New York City and northern New Jersey.

The Passaic Valley Sewage in Newark had the single worst overflow with 840 million gallons of untreated sewage flowing directly into Newark Bay between October 29 and November 3 thanks to a 5-foot wall of water that hit the plant. In addition, another 3 billion gallons of partially treated sewage was sent into the bay before secondary treatment was restored on  November 16.

The underground plant's equipment was soaked and had to be dried before the plant could fully resume normal operations.

The fourth largest overflow was at the Middlesex County Sewage Authority's two pumping stations in Sayreville & Edison that sent over 1 billion gallons of untreated sewage into the Raritan River and Raritan Bay.

The study found one-third of the spilled sewage was untreated. Ninety-four percent was due to coastal flooding damage.

It estimated the cost of repair to damaged plants at nearly $2 billion for New York and $2.7 billion for New Jersey.

The report was based on data from state agencies and treatment plant operators.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.