The near 150-year toxic scourge that has claimed Newtown Creek—the bordering waterway between Brooklyn and Queens—ends with today’s announcement by the Environmental Protection Agency that designates the canal as a Superfund site.
The new designation follows the outcome of a series of EPA tests and samples taken over a three-month period in 2009. That report confirmed the presence of toxic chemicals, heavy metals and petroleum products in more than 1 million cubic yards of sediment.
“The cleanup of Newtown Creek should transcend any associated costs,” said Senator Martin Malavé Dilan, D-Brooklyn. “However, this designation assures that money will be available for a thorough and complete cleanup of Newtown Creek. Today’s announcement is a major victory for communities on both sides of the canal and New York City as a whole.”
The designation of Newtown Creek makes it eligible for federal funding to cover the costs of the cleanup. According to the EPA, the focus of the cleanup will be on mitigating contaminated sediment and identifying and addressing any additional sources of pollution.
“The communities surrounding Newtown Creek have endured the fallout of more than a century of industrial negligence. While we managed to get a handle on that carelessness, we’ve been forced to endure unthinkable hazards in its wake. Things like toxic fumes, contaminated soil and water, oil slicks, and even the presence of PCBs, ” said Senator Dilan.