Newtown Creek


Newtown Creek, which serves as the border between Queens and Brooklyn, is one of the dirtiest bodies of water in the nation.  Congresswoman Maloney has long supported its inclusion on the Superfund National Priorities List of the country’s most hazardous waste sites and was pleased when, on September 27, 2010, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it would be included.  This clears the way for the EPA to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the creek, development a remediation plan and implement the plan. Congresswoman Maloney intends to ensure that EPA is comprehensive in its approach and that Queens, along with Brooklyn, is given appropriate attention in the EPA’s clean up plans.

The EPA's preliminary estimates place clean up costs at around $300-400 million dollars. The EPA has identified EPA has identified six Potentially Responsible Parties (PRPs) for the Newtown Creek site: BP America, Inc., The Brooklyn Union Gas Company d/b/a National Grid NY, The City of New York, ExxonMobil Oil Corporation, Phelps Dodge Refining Corporation and Texaco, Inc.  These PRPs will pay the lion’s share of the cleanup costs.

EPA concluded that metals, volatile organic compounds, and semi-volatile organic compounds (including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and polychlorinated biphenyls) were present in Creek sediments at elevated concentrations.  In a study conducted in 2007, EPA estimated that the amount of oil released into the creek is three times the amount that spilled from the Exxon Valdez – roughly 30 million gallons of oil.   Additionally, oil distillaries and other industrial operations on both sides of the creek discharged tens of thousands of gallons of liquid waste each week for decades.  There's so little oxygen in the water that fish that drift into the creek die from lack of oxygen.   

Newtown Creek was historically an industrial center.  By the end of the 19th century the creek was lined with oil refineries and petrochemical plants, fertilizer and glue factories, copper-smelting and fat-rendering plants, shipbuilders, sugar refineries, hide tanning plants, canneries, sawmills, paint works, and lumber and coal yards.  During World War II, Newtown Creek was the busiest industrial port in the Northeast, with tanker traffic lining its length.


10/15/10 Rep. Maloney’s letter to EPA Urging Attention to Queens side of Newtown Creek


More on Newtown Creek

Jun 21, 2011 Press Release

Queens, NY – U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D Queens, Manhattan), Queens Borough President Helen Marshall, other local representatives, and members of the western Queens community met with EPA Regional Administrator Judith Enck and other EPA officials today to press for the expedited cleanup of Newtown Creek.  At today’s meeting, members of the community had the opportunity to ask the EPA questions about the proposed cleanup and express their concerns.

Oct 15, 2010 Press Release
Long Island City, NY – Today, U.S. Representative Carolyn Maloney, Queens Borough President Helen Marshall, Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan, Assemblyman Michael Gianaris, and Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer wrote to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson urging her to give appropriate attention to both the Queens and Brooklyn shores of Newtown Creek in the Agency’s planned Superfund cleanup of the waterway. A full copy of that letter follows.
Sep 27, 2010 Press Release
Queens, NY – Today, U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Queens, Manhattan) hailed the decision by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to designate Newtown Creek as a Superfund site. This designation will allow the EPA to conduct extensive testing to determine the nature and extent of pollution in the creek and to formulate a plan to clean it up.