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Sewage in Newtown Creek: Last Chance to Speak Out for a Cleaner Creek


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New York City has proposed a plan to respond to sewage pollution in the Newtown Creek, and a comment period ending March 9 is the public’s best chance to ask tough questions about it.

This plan will govern pollution levels from combined sewage overflows – the discharge of raw sewage during rain storms – for the next 20 years. The upcoming Superfund cleanup ordered by the Environmental Protection Agency promises a future free of toxic pollution, and residents have the right to expect a Newtown Creek that is eventually sewage-free too.

Riverkeeper is reviewing the city’s plan, which the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation must approve, and has serious concerns, including:

  • The plan would allow for the discharge of 136 million more gallons of sewage than was allowed in the 2005 consent order. Why is the city backing away from its commitment to clean Newtown Creek?
  • The plan would not reduce pollution sufficiently to upgrade the creek’s water quality designation, suitable only for fish survival – the lowest designation possible. Shouldn’t Brooklyn and Queens residents expect to be able to enjoy boating and other recreation on the creek?
  • The plan is short on details about the timeline and expected outcomes of a Green Infrastructure “Pilot project.”

This is your creek! Let city officials know that North Brooklyn and Queens residents want and deserve a Newtown Creek that’s clean enough for the tugboats and the kayaks both. Tell New York City that maintaining the sewage-soaked status quo won’t do!

Send comments to:
Gary Kline, NYS DEC – Division of Water
625 Broadway, 4th Floor
Albany, NY 12233-3506
Phone: (518) 402-9655
Fax: (518) 402-9029
E-mail: [email protected].

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