BACKGROUND

Here you will find information chronicling the history of Newtown Creek as an industrial waterway.

Newtown Creek and its tributaries are a part of the New York – New Jersey Harbor Estuary that forms the border between the New York City boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens.

Since the 1800s, Newtown Creek has been a major New York City industrial waterway. More than 50 major manufacturing operations were located along its banks, including oil refineries, petrochemical plants, fertilizer and glue factories, sawmills, and lumber and coal yards. The area was crowded with commercial vessels, including large boats bringing in raw materials and fuel and taking out oil, chemicals and metals.

By the early 1900s the creek’s shores were host to over 40 oil refineries, metal and chemical plants, manufactured gas plants, municipal and industrial discharge pipes, shipping and barging, and coal handling and storage facilities. Many of the industries in the Newtown Creek area discharged waste directly into Newtown Creek and its tributaries; uplands spills of waste also eventually seeped into Newtown Creek and its tributaries.

In the early 1990s, New York State determined that Newtown Creek was not meeting water quality standards under the Clean Water Act. Since then, a number of limited investigations of the Study Area have taken place by various private entities or State and Federal agencies.

In September 2009, Newtown Creek was proposed for National Priorities List (NPL).

In September 2010, it was listed on the National Priorities List and designated a Superfund Site by the EPA.

In July 2011, The EPA has entered into an Administrative Settlement Agreement and Order on Consent with the City of New York, and the five companies (Phelps Dodge, Texaco, BP, National Grid and ExxonMobil) known as the Newtown Creek Group to complete an investigation of Newtown Creek and its tributaries.

BACKGROUND