Brooklyn and Queens, NY
Footage of Newtown Creek
EPA has established two Information Repositories where documents related to the site can be viewed.
Borough of Brooklyn:
Greenpoint Public Library
107 Norman Avenue at Leonard Street
Borough of Queens:
Long Island City Public Library
37-44 21st Street
Please call for business hours
Wanda Ayala - (212) 637-3676
Newtown Creek, located in the City of New York, is a part of the New York – New Jersey
Harbor Estuary and forms the northern border of the Borough of Brooklyn and the southern border of the borough of Queens. In the mid 1800s, the area adjacent to the 3.8 mile Newtown Creek was one of the busiest hubs of industrial activity in New York City. More than 50 refineries were located along its banks, including oil refineries, petrochemical
plants, fertilizer and glue factories, sawmills, and lumber and coal yards. The creek was
crowded with commercial vessels, including large boats bringing in raw materials and fuel
and taking out oil, chemicals and metals. In addition to the industrial pollution that resulted from all of this activity, the city began dumping raw sewage directly into the water in 1856. During World War II, the creek was one of the busiest ports in the nation. Currently, factories and facilities still operate along the creek. Various contaminated sites along the creek have contributed to the contamination at Newtown Creek. Today, as a result of its industrial history, including countless spills, Newtown Creek is one of the nation’s most polluted waterways.
Various sediment and surface water samples have been taken along the creek. Pesticides,
metals, PCBs, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are potentially harmful contaminants that can easily evaporate into the air, have been detected at the creek.
In the early 1990s, New York State declared that Newtown Creek was not meeting water
quality standards under the Clean Water Act. Since then, a number of government sponsored cleanups of the creek have taken place. The New York City Department of
Environmental Protection has sampled sediment and surface water at a number of locations along the creek since 1980. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) conducted a sampling event in 2009 to analyze sediment samples for a wide range of industrial contaminants. Results of this study are found via the ‘additional documents’ link.
In September 2010, Newtown Creek was listed as a Superfund Site on the National Priorities List. EPA signed an Administrative Order on Consent (AOC) with six Potentially
Responsible Parties (PRPs) on July 7, 2011. The AOC finalized the Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study (RI/FS) process, to characterize contamination at the creek,
with EPA oversight.
The Remedial Investigation (RI) for the Newtown Creek Superfund site is currently ongoing. Field work is being conducted for a multi-year, multi-phase RI. The Phase 1 RI field investigation began in February 2012 and was completed in March 2013. Phase1 field investigation activities included: a shoreline assessment; creek-bed surveys (bathymetric, magnetic, and side-scan sonar); fish, ecological, and benthic community surveys; surface and subsurface (coring) sediment sampling; air sampling; and monthly surface water sampling.
The Phase 2 field investigation will begin in the Spring of 2014 and is anticipated to last one year. Major elements of the Phase 2 field effort will include: Additional surface water and sediment sampling, sampling of point source discharges (storm sewers, combined sewers, and other discharges), ground water sampling, sampling and toxicity testing of ecological resources such as fish and crab and sampling in selected background areas outside of Newtown Creek.