Coney Island usually conjures up images of fun in the sun, but area residents are saying that a nearby creek is looking more like a nightmare. According to locals, the Department of Environmental Protection’s efforts to clean out the western Coney Island sewers also unintentionally spewed black water out of the sewer overflow pipe at West 33rd Street and Bayview Avenue. Some Coney Islanders are reporting that the sludge is even washing up onto Kaiser Park beach and ruining the local habitat.

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The problem appears to stem from a DEP cleaning operation meant to fix jammed sewer lines that have caused frequent street flooding along Coney Island streets. While the mission meant to dislodge sand and debris from the long-clogged sewer lines, the process also released built up residues into the water.

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Pete Castro, a resident living on West 35th Street, told Sheepshead Bites that the water that comes out of the sewer is black and thick with sludge. Worse yet, much of this contaminated water washes up on the beach, mucking up a habitat Castro says was otherwise in the midst of environmental restoration.

The DEP responded noting that the events were an unfortunate result of clearing out the sand-impacted storm sewers. District 47 Councilman Mark Treyger took the DEP to task over the toxic water spill issue and the agency promised conduct a review on the operation. The DEP called Treyger back within several hours claiming it had completed its evaluation and concluded that the sewer cleaning operation was safe.

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Dissatisfied with the DEP’s investigation, Treyger has requested the agency hold a meeting with the community in the coming weeks (the date has yet to be announced) to discuss their operation and respond to concerns. Hopefully together the Coney Island community and the DEP will come up with a better and safer solution for the environment.

via Sheepshead Bites

Images © Keoni Cabral and Vlad Iorsh