Superfund Information Systems: Site Profile

Superfund Site:

NEWTOWN CREEK
BROOKLYN, QUEENS, NY

Health & Environment

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What Are the Risks at the Site?

The Human Health Risk Assessment for the Newtown Creek Study Area indicated unacceptable risks to human health from eating contaminated fish and shellfish from the river.  These contaminants are primarily Dioxins, Pesticides and Polychloringated Biphenyls (PCBs). The state of New York currenlty has a fish consumption advisory for Newtown Creek and has produced brochures to educate the public with regards to consuming fish from local waterways. These brochures are available in English, Spanish, Polish, Russian, Traditional Chinese and Simplified Chinese.  EPA encourcages the community to follow the advisories issued by NYSDOH. To view the fish advisories, please click the appropriate link below:The following links exit the site Exit

 

English - https://www.health.ny.gov/publications/6532.pdf

Spanish - https://www.health.ny.gov/publications/6533.pdf

Simplified Chinese - https://www.health.ny.gov/publications/6534.pdf

Polish - https://www.health.ny.gov/publications/6535.pdf 

Russian - https://www.health.ny.gov/publications/6536.pdf

Traditional Chinese - https://www.health.ny.gov/publications/6537.pdf

 

A risk assessment for ecological receptors from exposures to site-related contaminants was finalized in September 2018. Overall, the results of the Baseline Ecological Risk Assessment (BERA) indicate that sediments are toxic to benthic macroinvertebrates in the Study Area in the turning basin portion of the creek and the tributaries, primarily from exposure to porewater polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). PCBs are bioavailable in the Study Area and accumulate in the tissue of receptors and also represent a dietary exposure pathway for birds (i.e., spotted sandpiper, green heron, black-crowned night heron, and belted kingfisher). PCB exposure is highest in Dutch Kills, English Kills, and the Turning Basin. Other contaminants of potential ecological concern include copper, lead, and dioxins/furans, but the magnitude of response resulting from exposure to these contaminants is lower than for PAHs and PCBs, and they are generally collocated in the same areas where PAH and PCB concentrations are highest. 

EPA ensures community participation throughout the remedial process by meeting with residents and affected stakeholders, issuing public notices and updating fact sheets.The New York State Department of Health completed a public health assessment for Newtown Creek in 2014, which reviewed existing environmental chemistry data in sediments and biological contaminants in surface water. Based upon this assessment, the State of New York concluded that full body immersion in the Creek (e.g., swimming, scuba diving) could harm people’s health due to biological contaminants and physical hazards. The assessment also concluded that activities such as kayaking and catch and release fishing are not expected to impact people’s health so long as precautions are taken, such as properly washing hands and avoiding the ingestion of surface water. EPA’s study to evaluate the nature and extent of contamination in Newtown Creek is ongoing.

For more information regarding the New York State Department of Health's public health assessment, please visit the following link: http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/HAC/pja/NewtownCreek/NewtownCreekPHA(final)02242014_508.pdf

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Performance Measures

EPA uses performance measures to track environmental results at Superfund sites. If you have any questions or concerns about the measures at this site, please contact the site team members listed under Site Contacts.

Read more about Superfund Remedial Performance Measures.

Performance
Measure
Status at this
Superfund Site
What does this mean?
Human Exposure Under Control Insufficient Data Yes means assessments indicate that across the entire site:
  1. There are currently no unacceptable human exposure pathways; and
  2. EPA has determined the site is under control for human exposure.

No means an unsafe level of contamination has been detected at the site and a reasonable expectation exists that people could be exposed.

Insufficient data means that, due to uncertainty regarding exposures, one cannot draw conclusions as to whether human exposures are controlled, typically because:
  1. Response to the contamination has not begun; or
  2. The response has begun, but it has not yet generated information sufficiently reliable to evaluate whether there are currently any unacceptable human exposure pathways at the site.
Groundwater Migration Under Control Not a Ground Water Site

Yes means EPA reviewed all information on known and reasonably expected groundwater contamination. EPA concluded the migration of contaminated groundwater is stabilized and there is no unacceptable discharge to surface water. EPA will conduct monitoring to confirm that affected groundwater remains in the original area of contamination.

No means EPA has reviewed all information on known and reasonably expected groundwater contamination, and the migration of contaminated groundwater is not stabilized.

Insufficient data means that due to uncertainty regarding contaminated groundwater migration, EPA cannot draw conclusions as to whether the migration of contaminated groundwater is stabilized.

Construction Complete No

Yes means the physical construction of the cleanup is complete for the entire site.

No means either physical construction is not complete or actions are still needed to address contamination.

Sitewide Ready for Anticipated Use No Yes means:
  1. All cleanup goals affecting current and reasonably anticipated future land uses of the entire site have been achieved, so there are no unacceptable risks;
  2. All required land-use restrictions or other controls have been put in place; and
  3. The site has achieved Construction Complete status.

No means that one or more of these three criteria have not been met. However, a site listed as no may still have redevelopment occurring on portions of the site and may be eligible for additional redevelopment.

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