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Friday, April 12, 2024 | Back issues
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Filthy NYC Waterway Languishes, Suit Claims

QUEENS (CNS) - The polluted waterway separating Brooklyn and Queens has suffered another major blow, according to complaint in Queens Supreme Court. Newtown Creek has been polluted by more oil and sludge than was dumped in the Exxon Valdez spill, and its clean-up is years behind schedule, according to the lawsuit.

Five Star Electric Corp. claims that the construction companies responsible for upgrading the Newtown Creek Water Pollution Control Plant - A.J. Pegno and Tully Construction - have dragged their feet, delaying the project "2 years behind schedule."

The plant's upgrade was designed to put the ailing Newtown Creek in compliance with the U.S. Clean Water Act.

Newtown Creek, which separates Brooklyn and Queens, has been hammered by sewage and industrial pollution for nearly a century and a half.

The Environmental Protection Agency reported that Newtown Creek was polluted by a petroleum plume that may be as large as 30 million gallons - nearly three times the size of the Exxon Valdez spill.

Major oil companies, including ExxonMobil, BP and Chevron, are believed to have been leaking sludge into the creek for over a century. They are fighting multiple lawsuits while participating in a cleanup whose effectiveness has been controversial.

While the oil companies have tried to suck up the oil plume, the Newtown Creek Water Pollution Control Plant tackled a raw sewage problem caused by New York City's antiquated sewer overflow outlets.

Plaintiffs say the project has been marred by the defendants' "lack of coordination," "inadequate supervision" and "out-of-sequence work operations."

According to the complaint, the expected completion date was Dec. 14, 2004.

Five Star says the delays have cost it $25 million.

It is represented by Levin & Glasser.

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