‘Absolutely Disgusting’ Gravesend Bay Dredging Caught On Camera


Assemblyman William Colton is outraged over raw footage which appears to show a moving construction container dropping black sludge and debris into Gravesend Bay.

Dredging at the site of the controversial Southwest Brooklyn Marine Waste Transfer Station — located off Shore Parkway’s service road along Bay 41st Street — was filmed on Thursday, November 12, at 4:40pm, by the Brooklyn assemblyman himself.

“There was a piece of metal that was stuck in it, so therefore was a clamshell was not closed … And it’s supposed to have a sensor to alert them, if it’s not completely closed. There you see, so much for the sensor,” Colton can be heard saying on the clip. “That was absolutely disgusting.”

A second, up-close video, submitted by neighbor Anna Firsova, also appears to show murky waters pouring from the clamshell into the Bay:


The waste station is being built at the site of a former trash incinerator, which the Department of Sanitation (DOS) operated from 1959 to 1989 without obtaining a legally required permit. Sentiment samplings from the area were found to contain toxic levels of dioxins, lead, mercury, chlordanes, and Mirex (an insecticide banned since 1976), and many opponents of the Gravesend Bay station fear dredging at the construction site will release the pollutants into the waters. As a result, strict conditions were put in place as to how the dredging must be conducted.

Colton, who has been waging a years-long legal battle to block the city from building the garbage station, demanded to know if Thursday’s spill was reported to environmental authorities like the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) or to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) — which inspected the site in August.

After the visit, the EPA identified numerous potential violations and areas of concern to the sanitation department, and gave the agency 30 days to respond. Their concerns included:

  • Debris and soil in the water at bulkhead area
  • Failure to include required inspection records in their reports
  • Failure to comply with plan of placing silt fencing around the site
  • Area where storm water can exit the site not protected by fencing
  • Exposed mud on track pad area without the covered gavel

Colton says he has told Mayor Bill de Blasio directly that if this “senseless garbage station” is built, the community will hold the mayor accountable for whatever damage the garbage station causes to southern Brooklyn waters.

Nancy Tong, co-chair of Colton’s Anti-Waste Task Force, who was present during the filming of the dredging incident, expressed dismay at what she witnessed Thursday.

“I was horrified when I saw the bucket clamshell raised from the waters with a large piece of metal stuck in its jaws and all that black contaminated sludge falling out back into the waters,” said Tong.

Other southern Brooklyn pols commended Colton for his and Councilman Mark Treyger’s efforts to halt the project.

“Assemblyman Colton and Councilman Treyger have been fearless advocates for South Brooklyn’s environmental safety,” said Congressman Daniel Donovan. “The latest revelations of improper procedure at the waste transfer station construction site are alarming. I spoke to the EPA and the Army Corps this morning to share our findings and urged them to take immediate action.”

Colton, Treyger, and Donovan, along withTong and her Anti-Waste Task Force co-chair Charles Ragusa, have all sent letters to the EPA demanding an investigation of the work site. Councilman Vincent Gentile has called on the EPA to make the area a superfund site.

Colton has also set up a tip line for residents whose homes overlook the construction site, or who are impacted by the comings and goings of trucks to send in their photos and concerns.

The mayor’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


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