Newtown Creek will never be a clean body of water if people like Kew Gardens resident Manuel Acosta keep illegally dumping hazardous materials in it.
That’s according to officials such as city Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Emily Lloyd and state Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Marc Gerstman, who applauded the rendering of a $110,000 fine against Acosta’s electropolishing company last Wednesday in a joint statement.
According to a release from Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson, Acosta, the manager of Control Electropolishing Corp. in Bedford-Styvesant, ordered his employees to dump hazardous waste into a bypass pipe they installed in order to prevent the materials from entering a specific system that treats toxins before they can enter the sewer system.
Instead, the untreated hazards traveled directly into the sewer and Newtown Creek.
The sludge placed into the pipe by the employees between Nov. 22, 2013 and Jan. 9, 2014 included high levels of lead, chromium, copper and nickel, according to Thompson.
Whenever DEP officials would inspect the property, Thompson added in his press release, Acosta would order his employees to insert a plug into the bypass line to disable it and conceal it.
“When the defendants dumped untreated wastewater and sludge directly into the city sewers, this waste was carried to the Newtown Creek Water Pollution Control Plant,” the release says. “The plant does not treat industrial process wastewater containing chromium, copper, lead and nickel, so some of the wastewater was introduced untreated into Newtown Creek.”
Last Wednesday, Acosta plead guilty to one felony count of discharging hazardous materials into the waters of the state while his company copped to one count of endangering public health, safety or the environment and one count of disposing hazardous waste without authorization, both Environmental Conservation Law misdemeanors.
As part of the plea agreement, both Acosta and Control Electropolishing Corp. must pay $110,000 fines.
The Brooklyn company cleans metal medical, dental, surgical, boating, fishing, swimming pool, aircraft and pharmaceutical equipment for its clients, according to Thompson.
“New York Harbor is cleaner today than it has been in more than a century,” Lloyd said, “and prosecuting those that illegally discharge pollution into our waterways sends a strong message that we will protect our environment and public health.”
Newtown Creek, which serves as the border between northern Brooklyn and western Queens, was declared a Superfund site in 2010 by the Environmental Protection Agency following decades of oil spills and toxic releases into the water, freeing up federal services for remediation efforts.