Local pols rally to end dredging at controversial Waste Transfer Station

November 24, 2015 Editorial Staff
Share this:

BY ANNA SPIVAK & MEAGHAN MCGOLDRICK

Local politicians, community activists and residents gathered at the construction site of the controversial Southwest Brooklyn Marine Transfer Station on Sunday, November 22 to demand an end to dredging that, they say, violates the health and safety conditions of the project’s permit, and puts Brooklynites in grave danger.

The construction of the waste transfer station, which community leaders and residents have vocally opposed but which the city insists is an integral part of its overall solid waste management plan in which each borough is supposed to handle its own trash stream, requires the dredging at the problematic site—once home to the former Bensonhurst incinerator, a long-loathed dumping site that was found to be operating without a permit from the 1950s through the 1980s.

However, work was temporarily halted mid-November by the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) after elected officials notified the agency of toxic overflow into Gravesend Bay resulting from city-mandated work at the site.

“The city’s administration’s rushing forward to build this senseless garbage station already has resulted in significant damage to the environment in incidents such as shown in the video, where contaminated sludge was dumped into Gravesend Bay,” asserted Assemblymember William Colton who, at a meeting preceding the rally, noted that he and Democratic District Leader Nancy Tong were able to see this illegal dredging firsthand—and capture it on film.

“The video footage captured at the site of the Waste Transfer station is appalling,” added Councilmember Mark Treyger on Sunday. “Just as those of us who have fought this disastrous, irresponsible project from the start predicted, the dredging process at this site is violating all of the conditions set forth by the permit, spreading contaminated material into our water and the air that we breathe.”

The toxic soil—said to contain contaminants such as Class C acutely toxic levels of dioxins, lead, mercury, chlordanes and Mirex (an ant killer insecticide banned by the EPA in 1976)—could be seen in the video, and several photos, leaking into the Gravesend Bay water from the machinery transporting the sediment.

Furthermore, the footage shows piles of hazardous materials that are not covered by tarps, as the permit requires, blowing more contaminated particles into the air and onto the grounds of surrounding businesses.

“The health and safety of the residents surrounding Gravesend Bay must come first,” said Borough President Eric Adams, also in attendance at the event. “We cannot be so hasty to complete a project, regardless of its merits, that we put Brooklynites on a collision course for harm.”

Officials present at the rally also demanded that DEC – the agency responsible for the permit – refrain from making any changes to the permit’s conditions (which, local elected allege, the agency has already done) before presenting them for public review.


Leave a Comment


Leave a Comment