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Riverkeeper Celebrates Enforcement Victories in Brooklyn


Photo: Josh Verleun
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Settlements received in long-standing Newtown Creek and Gowanus Canal Cases

Ossining, NY – December 21, 2010 – Riverkeeper announced victories in two Brooklyn enforcement cases, settled by the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office. These long running cases were against 6th Street Iron and Metal for dumping scrap metal into the Gowanus Canal and Quality Concrete for releasing cement waste into Newtown Creek.

Riverkeeper originally filed a Notice of Intent to Sue (NOIS) against 6th Street Iron and Metal as part of its Gowanus Canal enforcement campaign launched in September, 2009. As a result of Riverkeeper’s action, the DEC filed an enforcement action against the company for violations of the environmental conservation law. In October, the DEC signed a Consent Order with 6th Street Iron, fining the company approximately $33,000 for dumping into the Gowanus Canal and having an unlicensed waste-oil container on site. They are also being ordered to remove all scrap from the canal within 10 feet of their property, come up with best management practices to prevent future dumping into the canal, and plant native foliage along their shoreline.

The case against Quality Concrete and its owner Constantine Quadrozzi began in 2002 when a routine Riverkeeper patrol spotted a hidden pipe illegally discharging cement-laden wastewater through Quality Concrete’s bulkhead into Newtown Creek. Riverkeeper issued a NOIS in 2003 and the DEC initiated an enforcement action. The company continued to discharge cement into the creek through 2004 and in January 2005, Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hines charged Quality Concrete and Quadrozzi with criminal violations of the state’s environmental conservation law. In 2010, following years of legal wrangling and appeals, Quality Concrete pleaded guilty to a class “A” misdemeanor violation of the environmental conservation law, paid a $95,000 financial penalty, and installed an onsite wastewater treatment system.

“We commend the DEC and Brooklyn DA Hines for seeing that these polluters were brought to justice,” said Josh Verleun, Riverkeeper Chief Investigator and Staff Attorney. “These actions send a clear message that these waterways are not open sewers and dumping grounds for polluters. These enforcements combined with the historic ExxonMobil settlement in Greenpoint represent major steps in the long journey to return the Gowanus and Newtown Creek to naturally functioning water bodies that can one day benefit rather than burden the communities living near their banks.”

Riverkeeper’s ongoing efforts on Brooklyn’s waterways include regular boat patrols, water quality testing and a partnership with the Kings County District Attorney, the New York City Department of Small Business Services Dockmaster Unit, and the DEC aimed at coordinating surveillance and enforcement efforts on the Gowanus Canal, Newtown Creek, and other New York City waterways.


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