Greenpoint Community Meeting

Newtown Creek (oil spill)


Wedged involving the hard-bitten boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens, N.Y., lies a six-kilometer-long slip of sickly green liquid called Newtown Creek. Dubbed many polluted waterway in the usa, this tidal tributary of the East River does not have any natural headwater: water that nourishes the mostly stagnant creek is a mix of commercial wastewater, stormwater runoff and, after a difficult rainfall, natural sewage.

Once I visited the creek final March, a single day was blustery and bitterly cold. My tour guides — Captain John Lipscomb and Basil Seggos of this ecological organization Riverkeeper — motored us past a desolate hodgepodge of cement industrial facilities, recycling services, scrap yards and barren brownfields. Rafts of trash floated in the murky liquid. But I happened to ben’t indeed there to see rubbish; I was there to see oil.

During latter half of the 19th century, the shores of Newtown Creek boasted a large number of petroleum refineries. Although many closed straight down years ago, their history remains. Newtown Creek’s southwest coast types the northeast boundary regarding the largest oil spill in U.S. history. The plume — a toxic mixture of kerosene, gasoline oil, fuel and naptha (a vital ingredient in napalm) — floats towards the top of a subterranean aquifer underneath the working-class neighborhood of Greenpoint in Brooklyn.

Even though oil organizations that populate the creek’s banking institutions began cleaning the spill nearly three years ago, just 9.5 million for the 17 million to 30 million gallons of oil have-been restored. The U.S. Environmental Protection department (EPA) estimates that getting the rest aside might take another 25 years.

The slow pace of remediation has left many residents, local officials and environmental organizations bitter. They say the oil organizations could and should be performing much more. “One for the huge concerns is the fact that there’s this ginormous oil spill that's within the houses additionally the companies of only ordinary men and women, really limiting their own health along with their house values, ” states Kate Schmid, head for the Newtown Creek Alliance, a local neighborhood group co-founded by Riverkeeper.

Today the spill has reached the center of about five split legal actions — including one levied in 2007 by the state of the latest York — and regional lawmakers are phoning for the spill become added to the nation’s set of Superfund internet sites.

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