On September 27, 2010, EPA announced its decision to list Brooklyn’s toxic Newtown Creek on the Superfund National Priorities List. Newtown Creek is a tributary of the Hudson and East Rivers, located between Brooklyn and Queens. Over a century of industrial pollution and raw sewage overflows have rendered the Creek one of the most highly polluted waterways in the United States. Under Superfund, the EPA will bring its considerable legal and technical resources to bear to completely address the legacy of contamination that has nearly obliterated the Creek’s natural systems and posed a public health risk to nearby residents.
Riverkeeper has been a vocal advocate for a Superfund cleanup for Newtown Creek since the EPA announced that it was considering the Canal for the federal Superfund program in December, 2009. Riverkeeper has been active on Newtown Creek since 2002, when its first boat patrol discovered oil seeps, abandoned cars and floating garbage littering the Creek. Riverkeeper also helped found the Newtown Creek Alliance, a coalition of elected officials, local residents, business owners and other non-profit organizations working to improve the Creek and adjoining neighborhoods.
Over the past eight years, Riverkeeper has also established itself as the leading pollution enforcer on the Creek, exemplified by its citizen suits against oil companies, cement manufacturers and other polluters.