Site Status

On this page you will find information on the current status of the Newtown Creek site, as well as an estimated timeline and milestones.

 

The EPA, the City of New York, and the five companies (Phelps Dodge, Texaco, BP, National Grid, and ExxonMobil) known as the Newtown Creek Group have entered into an Administrative Settlement Agreement and Order on Consent to complete a comprehensive study of Newtown Creek and its tributaries, called a Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study (RI/FS). The first step is the Remedial Investigation—an in-depth study designed to gather data needed to determine the nature and extent of contamination at a Superfund site—which is already underway.

Remedial Investigation Completed Activities

Phase 1 field activities began in November 2011 and were completed in March 2013. As part of these activities, sampling vessels and field crews were on the creek performing the planned water, sediment, and air sampling. During this extremely intensive effort, approximately 35,000 samples, from approximately 300 stations, were sent to laboratories for chemical analyses. The Phase 1 data analysis began in April 2013. The results will be made available by EPA when complete.

The investigation and proposed cleanup for Superfund sites are guided by planning documents that identify the work that must be conducted at the site. For Newtown Creek, those planning documents included the following:

•  Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study Work Plan

•  Quality Assurance Project Plan

•  Health and Safety Plan

•  Field Sampling and Analysis Plan

•  Data Management Plan

•  Cultural Resources Survey Work Plan

•  Data Collection Plan

•  EPA's Community Involvement Plan (under development)

 

Typically, large complex sites such as Newtown Creek require multiple phases of site characterization work, where knowledge gained from the initial phase of work helps to focus investigative efforts in subsequent phases.  The Phase 1 site investigation field activities within Newtown Creek included the following:

  • Site surveys to characterize the creek shoreline, identify and document important shoreline features, obtain detailed aerial photographs of the site and its immediate surroundings, and obtain water depth and creek bed sediment information
  • Sediment sampling to characterize the physical and chemical properties of the creek sediments
  • Monthly water column sampling for chemical characterization
  • Sampling to understand the abundance and diversity of the biological community within the creek sediment
  • Air quality monitoring

Concurrent with the Phase 1 investigation field work are ongoing efforts focused on interpreting the site data and developing computer models that are used during the RI/FS process.  Other activities performed during this process include the following:

  • Compiling historical environmental data from in-creek locations and adjacent upland properties
  • Developing the approach for the ecological risk assessment—a critical component of the overall investigation that helps to determine cleanup levels for the site
  • Developing approaches to simulate and assess future changes in the creek under a variety of potential future conditions
  • Identifying appropriate reference areas that are helpful in assessing site conditions at Newtown Creek relative to those in the broader New York Harbor area

What’s Next?

  • EPA is currently reviewing the draft submittals of the RI Report, the Baseline Ecological Risk Assessment, and the Baseline Human Health Risk Assessment.
  • The Feasibility Study Field Program is planned for summer 2017 to support the development and analysis of remedial alternatives.
  • The draft Feasibility Study Report is scheduled to be submitted to EPA in 2019.

Site Status