Greenpoint Gazette
Photo Credit: Newtown Creek Alliance

Bed-Stuy Company Found Illegally Dumping Toxic Waste into Newtown Creek

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A Bed-Stuy company’s manager has pleaded guilty to illegally dumping toxic wastes into Newtown Creek, according to a report issued by Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson’s office yesterday.

The DA’s office along with the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the Department of Environmental Conservation carried out an investigation that revealed that between November 22, 2013 and January 9, 2014, that Control Electropolishing Corp., upon the instructions of its manager, Manuel Acosta, used a bypass line to dump industrial waste that went untreated into the creek.

“This case should make clear that we take environmental crimes in Brooklyn seriously and will vigorously prosecute any company that dumps environmental toxins into our waterways,” said DA Thompson.

The company charged in the illegal dumping provides metal cleaning services such as medical and dental equipment, aircraft components, swimming pool and fishing accessories, and pharmaceutical equipment.

Under normal guidelines, the waste would pass through a tank that treats the industrialized waste before it is sent to the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant, which does not have the capability of treating that type of wastewater.

Control Electropolishing Corp’s waste was found to have chromium, copper, lead and nickel.

When agents from the DEP first came to inspect the facility, Acosta ordered workers there to conceal the bypass using a plug, and hence the operation went on unnoticed.

Now the DA’s office has charged Acosta and the company with one count of one count of endangering public health, safety or the environment in the fourth-degree, and one count of disposal of hazardous waste without authorization.

The sentencing date has been set for December 16, and the company has been ordered to pay a fine of $110,000 to the DEC.

The Newtown Creek site was declared a superfund site in 2010 after years of oil spills and toxic dumping, and the creek has been on the mend in recent years with clean up efforts and boating clubs introduced to make people more aware of the water body, and to speed up the rehabilitation efforts.

The illegal dumping comes as a setback in a time where many in Greenpoint have been taking an active role to reclaim the water body that was lost to excessive pollution.

“New York Harbor is cleaner today than it has been in more than a century and prosecuting those that illegally discharge pollution into our waterways sends a strong message that we will protect our environment and public health,” said Emily Llyod, the DEP Commissioner.

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