The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

arduous details

with 2 comments

My beloved Creek, in today’s post.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned in an earlier post, I recently rode along with the EPA and DEP on a boat tour of my beloved Newtown Creek, and the shots in today’s post emanate from that trip. Pictured above is the scene from just west of the Greenpoint Avenue Bridge, at the verge of what I refer to as “The Newtown Creek Petroleum District.”

The trip was prevaricated by a meeting of the EPA’s CSTAG committee (Contaminated Sediments Taskforce Advisory Group, I think) wherein various players in the Superfund story made a presentation to a national level panel of experts regarding the handling of the “black mayonnaise” which bedevils the waterway.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The Newtown Creek CAG (Community Advisory Group) presentation was offered by Will Elkins of Newtown Creek Alliance, and the so called “PRP’s” or “Potentially Responsible Parties” who have organized themselves under the nomen “Newtown Creek Group” also offered a presentation to the August panel. Oddly enough, it wasn’t the community nor potentially responsible party documents that sparked the most conversation – instead it was a series of claims and prepositions offered by the NYC DEP which roused a certain ire in those of us familiar with the Superfund story.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned ad infinitum on tours and at this – your Newtown Pentacle – NYC has a combined sewer system. During rain events, sanitary and storm water mix in the underground pipes and end up getting released into area waterways via outfall pipes which are referred to as “CSO’s” or “Combined Sewer Outfalls.” These CSO’s are all over the harbor, there’s better than 400 of them, but the 23 found at Newtown Creek are amongst the largest ones in the system and responsible for allowing millions of gallons of raw sewage a year to enter the water.

NYC DEP asserted that the solid materials transported by these combined sewers contribute nothing to the continuing growth of the poisonous sedimentation in Newtown Creek, and if they did, it wouldn’t be their fault as any solids were being transported from upland properties. The analogy is that I’m standing on a street corner and pulling the trigger on a pistol, over and over, but since somebody else loaded the bullets – it’s not my responsibility whom they strike. Something I can tell you, based on nearly ten years of dealing with DEP’s bureaucracy, is that DEP lies.

DEP lies to your face, and smirks while doing so. Their attitude is “what do you think you’re going to be able to do about it?”.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Upcoming Tours –

June 7th, 2015
13 Steps Around Dutch Kills Walking Tour
with Newtown Creek Alliance, click here for details and tickets.

June 11th, 2015
MADE IN BROOKLYN Hidden Harbor Boat Tour
with Working Harbor Committee, click here for details and tickets.

June 13th, 2015
The Insalubrious Valley of the Newtown Creek Walking Tour
with Atlas Obscura, click here for details and tickets.

June 20th, 2015
Kill Van Kull Walking Tour
with Brooklyn Brainery, click here for details and tickets.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

June 5, 2015 at 11:00 am

2 Responses

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  1. Reblogged this on gregpeterslapalestra.

    gregpeterslapalestra

    June 5, 2015 at 11:37 am

  2. […] inanimate,” discussing the ongoing Superfund situation at Newtown Creek in “arduous details,” and asserting that 7 line Subway is far and away the most photogenic of NYC’s mass […]


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