The Newtown Creek Digester Eggs
Among the most dramatic elements of the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant are its eight futuristic, stainless steel-clad digester eggs. Processing as much as 1.5 million gallons of sludge every day, the eggs are visible from vantage points in Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan and serve as a landmark for travelers on several of the city’s highways and bridges. Learn more about our Digester Egg Tours.
Blending Form and Function
The digesters play a critical role in processing sludge, the organic material removed from sewage. Inside the digesters—given heat, lack of oxygen and time—bacteria break down the sludge into more stable materials. This natural process converts much of the sludge into water, carbon dioxide and methane gas, leaving what is called “digested sludge.” This material is then dewatered to form a “cake,” which, after additional processing, can be used as fertilizer.
Illuminating the Night Sky
At night, the dramatic lighting of the digester eggs reminds all who see them of their elegant combination of engineering and art. Lighting designer Hervé Descottes used a layer of blue light to identify and unify the water treatment plant and to set it apart from the surrounding city. He also used other lights as well. Bright white lights define the plant’s various functional areas, such as the loading docks, which blaze in contrast to the blue monochromatic field. Shimmering lines, some of them yellow, are used to demarcate pedestrian walkways and to contrast with the blue light.