By Duane Craig
|Phelps Dodge, BP, Texaco, National
Grid and ExxonMobil |
(united under the moniker Newtown Creek Group) - to
clean up the red area above.
Perhaps rivaling the Gowanus Canal in pollution, Newtown Creek is set to get cleaned up, according to this report in the Greenpoint Gazette online edition. The EPA will oversee a contamination investigation done by responsible parties Phelps Dodge, BP, Texaco, National Grid and ExxonMobil (united under the moniker Newtown Creek Group) and the City of New York. The process is expected to take eight years.
Newtown Creek Contamination History
Newtown Creek forms the northern border between Brooklyn and Queens, New York, and its industrial past is legendary. At one time there were 50 refineries along its banks churning out refined oil products, petrochemicals, fertilizers and glue. There were also sawmills and lumber and coal yards and vessels of all kinds moving materials into and out of what was termed in the EPA's Superfund background report as "one of the busiest hubs of industrial activity in New York City."
Unfortunately for Newtown Creek it was also chosen by the city as a great place to dump raw sewage beginning in 1858. The creek also served as a very busy port during World War II and there are still factories and other facilities operating there.
The creek waters and sediments harbor pesticides, PCBs, and volatile organic compounds. VOCs evaporate easily into the air and can be particularly troubling from a health perspective. Newtown Creek was only recently added to the Superfund list in 2010.