The polluted Sheepshead Bay

Residents wrinkle noses at Sheepshead Bay after rains

Brooklyn Daily
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Sheepshead Bay stinks to high heavens, say nose-holding residents who want the city to fumigate the foul-smellng waterway as soon as possible.

Manhattan Beach resident Mike Baglivo and others claim that the bay smells disgusting after heavy rains, when the city’s over-taxed sewer system overflows and discharges storm water and feces-filled household waste into the bay.

“Sheepshead Bay smells terrible after storms,” said Baglivo, who lives a block from the water. “The city needs to clean this up.”

Baglivo isn’t the only resident who says the bay could use some help.

“I had guests stay over who complained about the smell,” said Joyce Arberman, who lives a short distance from the water. “I never noticed, but maybe I don’t have a strong enough sense of smell.”

Yet others dismissed the claims, saying the water quality has actually improved over time.

“It’s probably cleaner now than it’s ever been,” said a manager at the Stella Maris Fishing Station — a decades-old bait and tackle shop on Emmons Avenue near E. 27th Street — who asked not to be identified. “I don’t think there’s any problem.”

Theresa Scavo, the chairwoman of Community Board 15, said the issue hasn’t come up.

“I haven’t received any complaints,” Scavo said.

The swan-filled bay, which stretches from West End Avenue to Knapp Street, is a popular fishing destination. But the water is often littered with plastic bottles, wrappers, and other debris from residents who live nearby and shop at stores along Emmons Avenue, residents say.

The Department of Environmental Protection did not return calls seeking comment about residents’ complaints.

The agency has spent millions in an attempt to reduce the flow of storm water and human waste into the city’s waterways.

The agency also opened a $404-million sewage treatment facility last March designed to protect nearby Jamaica Bay from waste water overflows.

Reach reporter Daniel Bush at or by calling (718) 260-8310. Follow him at
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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