Locals Want Coney Island Creek To Be Designated A Superfund Site


A lovely view of Coney Island Creek from Calvert Vaux Park. Photo by Den Schwartz

If locals get their way, the notoriously polluted Coney Island Creek just might become Brooklyn’s third Superfund Site.

(Currently, the Gowanus Canal and Newtown Creek are the only Superfund Sites in the borough.)

At a Community Board 13 meeting on November 30, members unanimously voted to request Albany make the Creek a State Superfund site, Brooklyn Daily first reported.

Superfund sites are designated areas — often bodies of water, but not always: in Queens, an abandoned building known as the Radium Chemical Company is a Superfund site — that the state or Environmental Protection Agency deems to possess “consequential amounts of hazardous waste.” Once designated, the EPA or state essentially sues all parties who contributed to the site’s pollution (the City of New York and National Grid are two examples of parties being sued in the case of the Gowanus Canal) and uses the money to clean the area up.

Plenty of local and city agencies have been working on cleaning up the Creek for sometime. Recently, the New York City Economic Development Corporation and the Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency commissioned design and consultancy firm Arcadis to study the Creek and how to make it and the surrounding area more resilient against future flooding.

As well, back in November the City formally apologized for giving area residents poor notice about illegal sewage dumping that created unsafe water conditions in Coney Island Creek this past summer.

Back in 2014, locals claimed toxic sludge was spilling into the Creek as the city cleared surrounding sewers. In 2013, a dolphin was stranded in the Creek. These are just a few highlights from the Creek’s polluted history.