City to dredge Newtown Creek

The Brooklyn Paper
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

The city wants to tear down a giant sludge transfer station at the mouth of Newtown Creek so it can free-up space for a park there, but first is has to dredge a large portion of the filthy waterway so tankers can head into Greenpoint to pick up their load.

The plan is to dredge as deep as nine feet in some spots of the creek between the East River and Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant at Provost Street near Greenpoint Avenue, and as deep as 13 feet in Whale Creek, an inlet just past the Pulaski Bridge that will give boats direct access to the plant. There, the city will build a new loading dock and two new vessels to hold the nasty fluid. Those depths will allow the boats to travel beneath drawbridge during low tide without having to raise it.

And even though the Newtown Creek is a federal Superfund site that needs a serious clean-up, the city claims that the sediment is scoops from its banks is not toxic according to sediment sampling the city ordered in 2009.

Some Creek advocates agreed that work is necessary, but are still worried about what will happen with the polluted silt that is brought up.

“Any kind of dredging is a concern,” said Kate Zidar, executive director of the Newtown Creek Alliance. “If the sediment has high levels of contamination, we need to dispose of them appropriat­ely.”

But city officials said the dredging would not adversely affect the environment because shovels wouldn’t go too deep.

“Everyone is concerned, because this is a Superfund site,” said Christine Holowacz, the liaison to the Newtown Creek Monitoring Committee. “But they’re not going to go very far down.”

Holowacz said more testing is needed to determine how the sediment will be disposed.

The move will allow the city to tear down a massive concrete sludge tank that looms over prime East River parkland at DuPont and Commercial streets. For years, wastewater sludge has poured from the plant through a pipe under several blocks of Greenpoint in to the tank.

Once all the work is done, the city says it can enlarge the Newtown Barge Playground, which sits at the site where the boats currently come in, but that likely will not happen for at least a couple more years.

“It was a commitment to take that area for open space, so they agreed that the sludge vessel had to move,” said Holowacz.

The dredging is tentatively slated for either spring or fall of 2013 — there is a moratorium on dredging in the creek during the summer — and the sludge tank on the East River should be demolished sometime in the first part of 2014.

The dredging work could go on 24 hours a day, according to the city.

The creek has not been dredged since the 1970s, so even without this project, the city would have had to dredge the creek eventually so that boats would be able to continue to get through, said Holowacz.

Businesses along the creek said they would wait and see if the dredging affects them.

“As long as our building doesn’t fall into the creek, it’s probably okay,” said Jessica Kaplan, manager at Sightline Fabrication.

Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at or by calling (718) 260-2511. Follow her at
Updated 10:10 pm, July 9, 2018: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Christine Holowacz is a spokeswoman for the city-run plant. She is, in fact, the liaison to the Newtonw Creek Monitoring Committee.
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

Reasonable discourse

ty from pps says:
Yay! I think diehipster must have been hit by a bus!
April 26, 2013, 10:07 am
Vernon from Cobble Hill says:
Ty is obsessed with Diehipster to the point of distraction. How will he steam the milk for the 8 dollar lattes and not burn his muscleless Q-tip fingers, if he can't stop thinking about him?
April 26, 2013, 4:13 pm
ty from pps says:
Vernon... Are your fingers particularly muscle-bound?
April 26, 2013, 9:03 pm
Christine Holowacz from Greenpoint says:
I do not represent the sewage treatment plant as it is stated in the article. I am the Newtown Creek Monitoring Committee's liaison. The committee oversees the upgrade of the plant .
April 30, 2013, 3:06 pm

Comments closed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.

Keep it local!

Stay in touch with your community. Subscribe to our free newsletter: