BY NATHAN DUKE
The city has announced the completion of a $42 million project to build four subsurface litter capture devices that will improve the health and aesthetics of the long-polluted Newtown Creek.
Vincent Sapienza, the commissioner of the city’s Department of Environmental Protection, announced on Tuesday that the project had been completed. He noted that in-sewer control devices at the site include fixed baffles and bending weirs that capture floating litter and direct it to a wastewater treatment plant, where it would be removed and sent to landfill.
“Cleaning up Newtown Creek is one of our top priorities and this $42 million investment will help to recapture trash and debris and ensure that it does not foul the waterway,” Sapienza said.
To prevent litter from reaching the creek, the DEP began installing below-ground capture devices at four locations—47th Avenue between 28th and 29th streets, Rust Street and 56th Drive, Troutman Street and Saint Nicholas Avenue and 455 Johnson Ave.—near the waterway in 2015. The creek borders Long Island City and Brooklyn.
An oil spill at the site was discovered by a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter patrol in 1978, but is believed to have started anywhere from 60 to more than 100 years ago along the bank of the creek, where Standard Oil once operated an oil refinery.
A DEP plan to make the creek comply with federal standards of the Clean Water Act is projected to cost $600 million and would be completed by 2042.
Reach editor-in-chief Nathan Duke via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (718) 357-7400, ext. 122.