Monday, November 17, 2008

Cleaning up shit's creek

Whenever it rains more than one-tenth of an inch, untreated sewage, along with storm water runoff, is dumped directly into the creek.

But on Nov. 6, the city and state struck an agreement that should bring the city’s treatment plants into compliance with environmental laws, as well as provide funds for environmental improvements in Brooklyn. The agreement focuses on the Newtown Creek plant in Greenpoint.

More specifically, the agreement ensures the upgrade of the plant, which dumps into the East River, will continue under a strict set of guidelines; commits the city to completing a comprehensive environmental audit to assure compliance at all its treatment plants; and provides $10 million in local environmental benefits.

The city agreed to address problems with the plant in 1988 after the state determined its treatment of sewage was substandard; however, that work did not happen quickly enough for the state, which last year won a ruling to impose a $27.4 million fine on the city.

That money will be kept in escrow and returned to the city if it meets certain construction milestones with the project.

Polluted creek may have cleaner future

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