EPA gives update on sampling of Newtown Creek
by Andrew Pavia
Apr 03, 2013 | 2367 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Representatives from DEP and EPA briefing community members at LaGuarida Community College about Newtown Creek.
Representatives from DEP and EPA briefing community members at LaGuarida Community College about Newtown Creek.
The city's Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) met with members of the Newtown Creek Alliance last week to discuss the ongoing efforts and initiatives on the creek.

Caroline Kwan, EPA’s Newtown Creek project manager, said the EPA would be entering phase two of its sampling process to determine the best course of action for cleaning up the creek.

Phase two of the plan will begin in spring of 2014 and be completed by spring of 2015. In the meantime she said that data from phase one is still being organized.

Kwan also preached community involvement. “The first part of risk assessment,” she said, “is the pathway analysis, which is what path or exposure do you have with Newtown Creek.”

Kate Zidar, executive director of the Newtown Creek Alliance, said the organization has a system of weather stations that alert them during heavy rains when the city's sewer system will begin discharging untreated sewage into the areas's waterways, including Newtown Creek.

Teams from the alliance then make a visual confirmation.

“In addition to missing the first flush, I think you might be missing events, so that would be something to also add to the mix,” Zidar told EPA representatives.

Kwan said that the EPA will work with the community in an attempt to solve the problems plaguing the creek, but that it will be a long process.

“The earlier we get input from you,” she said to the crowd, “the better we can focus on phase two.”

And in an attempt to make operation run more smoothly at the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant, DEP will be moving a sludge storage tank that is currently docked on the East River closer to the Greenpoint facility.

A new sludge loading dock will be built on the Whale Creek Canal, a tributary off Newtown Creek. Three new, smaller sludge vessels that will be able to navigate the narrow waterway are under construction now.

The construction of the new sludge loading dock, as well as the demolition of the East River storage tank, will take place between 7 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. The construction of the dock, which is already underway, will be completed in October of 2013. The demolition process will begin in November of 2013 and be completed in June of 2014.

However, dredging of the two waterways will take place 24 hours a day in an attempt to speed up the process. The process should start in September and finish in early November.

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