September 27, 2010 - The Environmental Protection Agency today declared toxic Newtown Creek a federal Superfund site after a series of soil and water samples were tested over a three-month period in 2009. Superfund sites are former industrial areas so polluted they are determined to need federal funding for cleanup. The creek, which serves as the border between Queens and Brooklyn, joins the Superfund list as one of seven added today by the EPA.
Testing revealed the presence of pesticides, metals, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). PCBs are thought to cause a range of health issues in humans, and VOCs can cause respiratory, allergic, or immune problems.
Citing the toxic site as one of the most polluted water bodies in the country, officials including local Congress members Anthony Weiner and Nydia Velazquez pushed the EPA to test the waterway, which flows partly under the north end of Bushwick as English Kills.