Move Over Sludge: Dredging Newtown Creek Will Bring Playground Expansion

by Heather Van De Mark on

At last month’s Newtown Creek Community Advisory Group (CAG) meeting, NYC Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) presented, “East River Sludge Storage Tank Removal.”

The NYC DEP’s Project Plan

  • Demolishing the current East River Sludge Storage Tank which sits at the end of Commercial & Dupont Streets in north Greenpoint.
  • Sludge vessels would then take their loads to a newly built dock on Whale Creek Canal that is located next to the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant that the boats serve.
  • In order for the sludge vessels to make it through Newtown and Whale Creeks, dredging has to take place to restore the waterways to the “intended channel depth for safe navigation by sludge vessels.” The dredging would be up to 13 feet deep in some areas.

“East River Sludge Loading Facility” – NYC DEP Presentation, East River Sludge Storage Tank Removal. March 27, 2013

Addressing Public Health & Safety
NYC DEP has pre-dredge plans in place including taking sediment samples that will provide data for the development of air and water quality managements plans that will be put into place prior to beginning operations. NYC DEP will also be coordinating with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on the EPA’s own sediment sampling plan.

Community Benefits
The current East River Sludge Storage Tank and Sludge Vessel sit beside the Newtown Barge Terminal Playground. Removal of the tank and relocation of the vessels would mean expanding the playground and providing better public access to the water front.

“Newtown Barge Terminal Playground Expansion” – NYC DEP Presentation, East River Sludge Storage Tank Removal. March 27, 2013

This open space expansion is part of the Greenpoint WIlliamsburg Waterfront Access Plan, which was a condition of the 2005 Rezoning, that promised continuous public waterfront from N. 3rd St. in Williamsburg to the both end of Manhattan Ave. in Greenpoint.

NYC DEP’s Project
The current schedule plans for the dredging of the creek to take place later this year, while the demolition of the storage tank will begin in the winter of 2013 and end in mid-2014. While, it’s not explicitly stated in the presentation, one would believe that the park’s expansion would begin shortly thereafter in 2014.

“Summary Schedule” – NYC DEP Presentation, East River Sludge Storage Tank Removal. March 27, 2013

What are your thoughts on the demolition and dredging? Leave them in the comments.

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Heather Van De Mark

Heather Van De Mark

Heather is a designer/writer specializing in non-profit organizations and social causes. Originally from central NY, Heather settled into the charming Greenpoint neighborhood in 2011. While most of her community activism takes place from behind a computer screen, Heather can often be found at CB1 meetings, the McCarren Park track and any of the parks along the waterfront.
  • City to Dredge Newtown Creek | Working Harbor Committee commented:

    […] The City plans to demolish the sludge storage tank on Commercial and Dupont Streets in Greenpoint, near the mouth of Newtown Creek. The DEP is in the process of constructing a new loading dock next to the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant to give their sludge vessels direct access to the plant. Dredging will have to take place in Newtown Creek and Whale Creek to depths ranging from 9 feet to 13 feet. “East River Sludge Loading Facility” – NYC DEP Presentation, East River Sludge Storage Tank Removal. Via GWAPP […]

    Reply

    • Greenpoint Resident commented:

      What about everyone who lives near Whale Creek? Why do those Greenpoint residents have to suffer?

      Reply

      • Heather Van De Mark

        Heather Van De Mark commented:

        Do residents live along Whale Creek where the new sludge loading dock will be placed? I’m genuinely asking.

        I suppose it’s the downside of necessary public works need to go somewhere, and to some extent it makes more sense to put it beside/closer to the Waste Water Treatment Plant rather than in a different part of the neighborhood, IMO.

        Reply

  • Laura Hofmann commented:

    There are people living in boats along Newtown Creek. The sludge tank demolition hasn’t been going well. In fact, residents and the playgrounds were impacted by dust containing lead. There are impacts involved with this transition. It’s not enough for folks to sit back and wait for the community “benefits”. There’s a great deal of community impact involved with demolition and construction, particularly in a neighborhood that’s basically one big brownfield.

    Reply

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