Kate Hinds is an Associate Producer for WNYC News. She also reports for WNYC and Transportation Nation, a public radio reporting project that combines the work of multiple newsrooms to provide coverage of how we build, rebuild and get around the nation.
Ten Months After Sandy, 'Black Water' Cleansed, Hoboken Terminal Bathrooms Are Back
Wednesday, August 14, 2013 - 11:52 AM
When Sandy flooded the historic Hoboken Terminal, among the casualties were the indoor restrooms. Ever since, passengers have had to use port-a-johns outside the terminal. But the wait for a permanent bathroom is over.
"I might add they're upscale temporary facilities, they're not just port-a-johns," pointed out NJ Transit executive director Jim Weinstein.
But no matter, because the restrooms in the terminal's main waiting area will reopen on Monday, August 19th, rendering the port-a-johns obsolete.
Weinstein said the bathroom had to be essentially rebuilt. The sewage pipe underneath was severed, and when mixed with Hudson River flood waters, the terminal "had five feet of what's called black water intrusion."
"Black water is not a firm," he said. "It's an environmental description of the water."
In his words, the structures "had to be decontaminated."
But while the bathrooms may be back, work on the terminal continues. Starting in October, the main waiting room will be closed for eight weeks for more post-Sandy remediation. Walls must be scrubbed down, benches currently encased in boxes to contain mold must be stripped and restored, and vendor space must be fixed.
"Our intent is by the beginning of December (is) the waiting room will be open," said Weinstein.
The restrooms will remain open.