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Newtown Creek to Get Slightly Cleaner Thanks to $30M Plan

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The Newtown Creek is one of New York City's most polluted waterways, so full of oil and sewage and general grossness that it was declared a Superfund site in 2010. But thanks to a new clean-up initiative, one of the contaminants that makes the creek so nasty—litter—may at least be better contained.

DNAInfo first reported on the initiative, which will see the creation of four litter-capturing apparatuses to be installed along the Creek. Similar ones have already been put into place along the Bronx River and the Gowanus Canal, and according to the Department of Environmental Protection (which is spearheading the project), they've already collected more than 200 tons of garbage. The cost: $30 million, and they should be functioning by 2017.

Four of the devices will be installed along the Creek, and are currently under construction at the following locations:

455 Johnson Avenue (Bushwick)
Rust Street and 56th Drive (Maspeth)
47th Avenue between 28th and 29th Streets (Long Island City)
Troutman Street and St. Nicholas Avenue (Bushwick)

The devices are installed below ground and work like filters, capturing trash and debris as it leaves sewers and heads toward the waterway, then diverting it to the wastewater treatment plant nearby. Unfortunately, it doesn't work to catch other contaminants—particularly raw sewage, a particularly nasty scourge of the city's combined sewer overflow system. And it's the latter problem that has some critics concerned: Chris Len, an attorney with Riverkeeper, told DNAInfo that "by making it look cleaner, that doesn't mean it's actually cleaner…[It's] like kicking your crap under the bed when you're eight years old."

But DEP Commissioner Emily Lloyd sounded more optimistic about the initiative in a press release:

"Cleaning up and revitalizing Newtown Creek is one of our top priorities and this $30 million investment will help to capture trash and debris and ensure that it does not foul the waterway. We look forward to continuing to work with elected officials, environmental groups and residents on the many other projects we are working on to further improve the health of Newtown Creek." ·
City to Invest $30 Million to Stop Trash Flow Into Newtown Creek [DNAInfo]
· All Newtown Creek Coverage [Curbed]