Underreported Update: Newtown Creek Oil Spill

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The worst oil spill in U.S. history happened right here in New York City, at Newtown Creek in Brooklyn. Find out how cleanup efforts are going, whether Greenpoint residents should be worried about negative health effects, and why Newtown Creek might have a new problem to deal with – illegal concrete dumping! Alex Matthiessen is president of Riverkeeper.


Alex Matthiessen

Comments [18]

Peggy Plunkett from Hackensack, NJ

Mr. Lopate: About 4 years ago I listened to your program about Newtown Creek. I was horrified by the info delivered there, including the input from two DCA people. Subsequently I wrote to the editors of the NY Times, The Daily News and the Bergen Record asking them to give press to this important issue. I never read anything about Newtown in any of those papers. The pollution of that neighborhood and the waters that surround New York continues & has been since 1955! What can we do to bring this to the front page? No local or federal governments care. Why is Mayor Bloomberg not DEMANDING the EPA to step up & do the watch-dogging they're paid for?

Sep. 19 2008 10:42 AM
Frank from Brooklyn

Two more resources:

Sep. 19 2008 06:46 AM
Michael Heimbinder from Brooklyn

For more information on the ExxonMobil Greenpoint oil spill visit:

For more information on Newtown Creek visit:,72,77,78,79,80

To share information on environmental hazards and amenities in your neighborhood simply sign in to HabitatMap and add a marker.

Sep. 18 2008 05:13 PM
Carol Lawson from NYC

Given the extraordinary amount of time it has taken to focus our government representatives on the environmental hazards that Newtown Creek has always posed (I grew up --40 years ago --as a New Yorker hearing comments like "it smells like Newtown Creek at low tide," as my father did before me), the proposed drilling in the New York City watershed for gas by a process that leaves toxic chemicals in the ground and on the surface in 3-5 acre ponds makes me terrified -- and dumbfounded as to why the media and press have not informed the citizenry about an impending yet preventable environmental and public health tragedy.

Sep. 18 2008 03:18 PM
mc golrick Park resident from greenpoint

McGolrick Park is one of the beautiful landmarks of Greenpoint, yet the stench from the ultra modern sewage plant on Newton Creek has permeated the area for the last week. Now I look at the Greenpoint oil spill map and listen to the show and wonder if it is not time to get real and move away.

Sep. 18 2008 02:07 PM
Laura Hofmann from Greenpoint, Brooklyn

I've lived in Greenpoint all my life (50 yrs).
I wouldn't say that folks should pack up their stuff and move out. Greenpoint is a great neighborhood. However, there are definitely health concerns. I won't be convinced to beleive differently. My family's medical history reads like an area 51 report. Health & Environmental officials need to stop sitting on their hands and do a TRUTHFUL study & a QUICK & THOROUGH cleanup. Not only of the oil spill. Their have been horrible environmental offenders in this neighborhood that left the neighborhood ill & polluted. Including the old incinerator, smelting facilities, pvc manufacturers and more.

What agencies need to do is to finally be truthful and actually DO what's necessary and right to quickly correct and mitigate the conditions.

For instance. The city should be priortizing Greenpoint for tree plantings given the extent of environmental & health damage. The City should be developing the esplanade/waterfront park instead of hoping developers will do it.
Apparantly the City was NOT concerned that Greenpointers would be living in unmitigated environmental & health conditions even longer.

Sep. 18 2008 01:52 PM
d. freckles from brooklyn

Here is documentary about the Creek Spill and health risks in the Willamsburg/Greenpoint Corridor

Sep. 18 2008 01:44 PM
Alex from Greenpoint

yes, it's such a nightmare. the worst spill in U.S. history in such a populated area??? why on earth is this not a superfund cite???? Leonard, please do an update on this story in the future and keep us informed!

Sep. 18 2008 01:42 PM
danielle from upper west side - the suburbs

how does it help the clean-up of the creek if the cement company can just get a permit to dump cement which is the impression i got from the speakers comment : "they knew they needed a permit"

Sep. 18 2008 01:42 PM
XXXX from nyc

I work for US EPA Superfund. EPA personnel never resist any cleanup activities. Now as for EPA political appointees that is another matter.

Sep. 18 2008 01:41 PM
Hugh from Crown Heights

I was told that NewTown Creek is so chemically active that you can develop film in it. True or urban myth?

Sep. 18 2008 01:39 PM
licnyc from long island city

As a resident of long island city I've been following this for a while. One problem is its impossible to clean up since they have to replace all the dirt under greenpoint, which is impossible. There is also a lot of problems close by with the buildings going up on the east river.

Sep. 18 2008 01:37 PM
Chuck Renaud from Brooklyn

What a nightmare.

Why can't the government take control of this?

Sep. 18 2008 01:35 PM
Demetri from brooklyn

there is concrete wash flowing into the gowanus canal also. you can see this from 9th street and BQE in brooklyn

Sep. 18 2008 01:35 PM
Marissa from Manhattan

here's a map from riverkeeper's website

Sep. 18 2008 01:33 PM
Marissa from Manhattan

with oil prices so high, the city should pump out the oil and make the profit from it, not exxon

Sep. 18 2008 01:31 PM

please ask guest to state where a oil spill map of the plume can be located. I'm a concerned Greenpoint resident. Thanks

Sep. 18 2008 01:31 PM
C from Brooklyn

As a long time resident of Williamsburg (7 years) who is now currently pregnant, can somebody please tell me and all the neighbors of this terrible environmental disaster, if there are any long term health affects we should know about. My research into this topic has unearthed many contradictory reports about the dangers and safety of living in this area. Help please.
thanks, C. Williamsburg.

Sep. 18 2008 11:31 AM

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