Model Site for Sustainable Sediment Remediation?
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency declared Newtown Creek a Superfund site in 2010.
The creek's bottom is lined with a 15-foot-thick layer of petroleum-based pollutants that scientists have dubbed "black mayonnaise." The ooze penetrated the shoreline and now sits on top of the water table dozens of feet under Brooklyn's gentrifying Greenpoint neighborhood. More than 300,000 people still live within a mile of the creek.
Scientists are using sonar to probe the muck in the 3.5-mile waterway in hopes of determining the best way to conduct the cleanup, which will be financed by six entities that inherited the pollution: Exxon Mobil, Texaco Inc., the Phelps Dodge Refining Corp., BP Products North America Inc., National Grid NY, and the city of New York.
One method used at other Superfund sites is to dredge the sediment from barges carrying cranes with scoopers, then capping the bottom to block any residue of oil, pesticides, chemicals, and other pollutants.
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