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City Completes $42 Million Sewer Upgrade to Keep Trash Out of Newtown Creek

Construction on the litter capture devices in 2015. (NYC DEP)

Feb. 23, 2018 By Nathaly Pesantez

The city has completed work on a $42 million project that aims to keep trash and debris out of the Newtown Creek.

The city’s Department of Environmental Protection announced yesterday that they installed litter capture devices that will improve the health and aesthetics of the creek.

The four subsurface devices capture floating litter and direct it to a wastewater treatment plant, where it can be removed and sent to landfill, the DEP said.

The trash and debris that often finds it way to the creek originates as litter discarded on city streets that gets washed into catch basins and eventually into the sewer system.

Work on the project began in late 2015 at four locations within the sewer system. The locations include 47th Avenue between 28th and 29th Streets, Rust Street and 56th Drive, Troutman Street and Saint Nicholas Avenue, and 455 Johnson Ave. The first two sites are in Queens, with the latter locations in Brooklyn.

“Cleaning up Newtown Creek is one of our top priorities and this $42 million investment will help to capture trash and debris and ensure that it does not foul the waterway,” said Vincent Sapienza, DEP Commissioner. “As we continue to work to raise public awareness of the problems associated with litter, we look forward to partnering with elected officials, environmental groups and residents on many other projects that will further improve the health of Newtown Creek.”

Debris and plastic pollution has been a longstanding problem within the Newtown Creek, according to the Newtown Creek Alliance.

“…We applaud this over-due investment by DEP to keep trash out of the waterway,” said Willis Elkins, program manager for the Newtown Creek Alliance. “We look forward to working with the city to monitor the impact of the upgrade and to push for similar improvements on other sewer and stormwater outfalls throughout the Creek.”

Similar litter-catching systems have been installed along the Bronx River and the Gowanus canal, and have captured more than 500 tons of litter and debris. The city also has 144,000 catch basins throughout the city to trap litter before it can go through its sewer system. Skimmer boats also patrol New York harbor to capture floating debris.

The Newtown Creek is considered one of the most polluted industrial sites in the US, and was designated a Superfund site to be cleaned up by the federal government in 2010.

A map showing the locations of the newly completed litter capture devices along the Newtown Creek. (NYC DEP)

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Coincidental to the opening of the park section at Hunters Point. The park build apparently has silted the waterway with brown color, up river at the LIC portion–hopefully there is sufficient recovery by the summer opening of the new section.


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