EPA eyes sewage flow into Newtown Creek - Queens Chronicle: Queenswide

EPA eyes sewage flow into Newtown Creek

Posted: Wednesday, November 27, 2019 10:30 am

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is proposing a plan that evaluates impacts of the current and expected future volume of combined sewer overflow discharges to the Newtown Creek Superfund Site Study Area.

The public is invited to comment on the proposal through Dec. 23.

“This proposed plan is an important step forward in advancing the cleanup of the Newtown Creek Superfund Site,” EPA Regional Administrator Pete Lopez said in an announcement. “In this plan, EPA acknowledges that the work that the City is already obliged to do to improve the water quality of Newtown Creek, including major water infrastructure improvements through compliance with the state imposed long term CSO control plan, will be consistent with meeting the needs of the Superfund program and help EPA fulfill its mission of protecting human health and the environment.”

The Newtown Creek Superfund Site Study Area comprises the waters and sediments of Newtown Creek in both Brooklyn and Queens. Outside of the Superfund process, the City of New York is under order by the State of New York to implement a CSO Long-Term Control Plan for Newtown Creek. The LTCP, which was approved by the state in June 2018, includes a number of components to reduce future CSO discharges to the creek, including construction of a storage tunnel, and is ultimately anticipated to reduce the volume of CSO discharges to it by about 61 percent.

The EPA evaluated the LTCP in the context of the Superfund site to determine if the anticipated volume reductions are sufficient to meet the needs of the future cleanup of the site.The agency determined that the water pollution volume controls prescribed by the LTCP, in accordance with requirements of the Clean Water Act, are sufficient to meet the needs of an eventual Superfund cleanup.

The EPA is conducting in-depth investigations of the extent of the contamination at the entire Newtown Creek Superfund Site in order to determine how best to clean it up over the long term. This proposed plan is for one aspect of the site. The EPA will determine in the future whether additional control actions, either in the creek or at CSO points-of-discharge, are needed to address the cleanup of the full site.

During the public comment period, the EPA will hold two public meetings to inform people of the proposed plan and to receive comments on it and other options that were considered. The meetings will be held on Dec. 9 at 6:30 p.m. at Sunnyside Community Services, at 43-31 39 St., and on Dec. 11 at 6:30 p.m. at PS 110, at 124 Monitor St. in Brooklyn.

Written comments on the proposed plan, postmarked no later than close of business Dec. 23, may be emailed to schmidt.mark@epa.gov or mailed to Mark Schmidt, U.S. EPA, 290 Broadway, 18th floor, New York, NY 10007.

To view the proposed plan, visit epa.gov/superfund/newtown-creek.