Plus Pool: A Crowd Funded Way To Clean Up NYC’s River Water

Image via Kickstarter/+ Pool

If you’ve ever visited NYC, chances are you’ve seen the rivers, and you’ve probably heard at least one local complaining about the state of the waters. “Drinking from a public fountain is like taking a sip from the Hudson,” some might say. You might even receive a warning about the rivers themselves: “New York is great, but don’t ever swim in the rivers, they’re absolutely disgusting.”

­They are, but a few talented engineers and entrepreneurs decided to change that. Plus Pool is an ambitious idea. Instead of trying to filter and clean up the water around NYC, the group behind Plus Pool decided to clean only one specific part of the river—to not only show that it could be done but also to allow New Yorkers to swim in clean river water for the first time in 100 years.

Their most recent Kickstarter project enables backers to purchase tiles that will be placed in the giant floating pool. For $200, you get your own name on a tile in the world’s first crowd-funded pool.

According to the campaign, Plus Pool is designed to filter river water as it flows through the walls of the pool. Its layered filtration system will remove bacteria and other contaminates, ensuring swimmable water—without chemicals—that meets city and state standards. The proposed pool will be capable of cleaning 500,000 gallons of river water daily.

Image via Kickstarter/+ Pool

Image via Kickstarter/+ Pool

It’s a pretty sweet idea, but it’s going to cost a lot of money. Don’t let the Kickstarter goal fool you. That $250 grand only goes to making a small water lab to actually test whether or not it’s feasible to do this project.

And this isn’t Plus Pool’s first Kickstarter venture, either. It was also part of a successful 2011 campaign that raised more than $40k to build and test a full-scale mockup of the Plus Pool filtration wall.

The actual pool itself will cost close to $15 million and is projected to open in 2016. But if each of the 70,000 tiles needed to build the pool is sold, the entire project will be funded. Here’s the thing: in NYC, we generally get things done fast. But when it comes to construction or engineering, boy oh boy are we absolute shit at that.

This isn’t the best example, but take for a moment the Second Avenue Subway Line. This project has been in development for almost a century. And you think you can make a giant pool in the East River in three years? Yeah, good luck guys.

Granted, the MTA is responsible for the subway construction, but my point stands. It’s difficult to build stuff in NYC, most especially a giant pool in the middle of a river.

I’m not entirely cynical though. The guys at Plus Pool seem like capable engineers, and the outlines and design plans look sound.

The coolest part of the tile plan is the different sort of tiles you can get. For just $25 bucks, you can get your name on a group tile with 7 other people. Have a lot of cash lying around? For $2,500 you can get your own special graphic tile.

That way everyone can chip in to the pool, from those on welfare in the Harlem projects to those living in ease in Brooklyn Heights. Regardless of the practicality and actual fruition of Plus Pool, it’s still an awesome idea, and I hope it takes off.