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Red Hook activists to feds: Don’t put sludge in our backyard

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A group of Red Hookers have made it crystal clear that they don’t want the federal government to store the sludge dredged from the toxic Gowanus Canal on their waterfront.

Residents working under the name “No Toxic Red Hook” are petitioning against a plan under consideration by the Environmental Protection Agency that would decontaminate some of the muck and use it to build a massive landmass on concrete tycoon John Quadrozzi’s property at the foot of Columbia Street as part of the agency’s half-billion dollar Superfund cleanup of the fetid waterway.

The feds claim it would be safe to construct a “confined disposal facility” that would turn the sludge into concrete and use it to permanently build out the waterfront at the Gowanus Bay Terminal and Gownaus Industrial Park, but neighbors are worried about their health, the risk of flooding, and the effects the operation would have on Red Hook’s bustling ball fields and pool.

“The community does not want to create more land from this contaminated sludge adjacent to one of the most heavily used recreation areas in New York City,” activists wrote on the online petition posted in March in a last push before the feds close the public commentary period later this month.

The Red Hook activists say they don’t oppose the polluter-funded cleanup of the waterway — just the proposal to process sludge in their community.

“This is almost the worst thing I can imagine for this neighborho­od,” said Red Hook mom Carly Yates, a founder of No Toxic Red Hook who is worried about air pollution and fears that the site could become a permanent plant for treating toxic waste. “It’s disturbing — I don’t think that I can raise my daughter here if it were to be built.”

The sludge used to construct the landmass would be dredged from the least contaminated section of the canal-bed, which is south of Hamilton Avenue, moved by barge, and treated to remove hazardous toxins that may include coal tar and heavy metals, eliminating any health risks, feds claim.

“The materials would be rendered non-toxic and there would be a protective wall around the area where the materials would be placed,” said Superfund project manager Christos Tsiamis, who credits himself with coming up with on-site disposal option that he claims will shave $37 million from the project and create between 30 and 60 jobs over six years.

Workers would de-water the grime on Quadrozzi’s property, mix it with cement-like materials, and store it as stabilized concrete inside a bathtub-like fixture made of reinforced steel that would be buried in the Gowanus Bay and connected to his industrial complex.

Once the project is over, Quadrozzi can do what he wants with the land as long as he complies with certain federal guidelines.

Neighbors have blasted the plan due to reports the concrete titan owes hefty fees for illegally dumping into the Gowanus Bay — but Quadrozzi claims he does not face any fines and has paid off a settlement of $60,000 to the state several years ago after a dock collapsed and released sand, or what the state calls “plumage,” into the bay.

Quadrozzi alleges community activists are trying to undermine a safe and cost-effective clean-up proposal by pushing a petition that is laden with lies and wrongly refers to the “confined disposal facility” as a “contaminated disposal facility.”

“It’s intentionally misleading to scare the community into thinking that there would be no logical or beneficial reason to support this other than to create some land for some guy to do what he wants,” he said. “Anybody would read it and say of course I’m against this.”

The feds still have the option of shipping all of the sludge off-site to a licensed treatment facility if there is large community opposition to the construction of the concrete landfill by the end of the public commentary period, Tsiamis said at numerous public meetings. The state also has a say in the matter, according to agency officials.

The finalized plan for the cleanup of the canal will be released by the summer.

As of press time, the petition has 336 signatures.

The agency will accept written and public comments on the proposal until April 27. E-mail gowanuscanalcomments.region2@epa.gov or write to:

Christos Tsiamis, project manager

Central New York Remediation Section

US Environmental Protection Agency

290 Broadway, 20th floor

New York, NY 10007-1866

Reach reporter Natalie Musumeci at nmusumeci@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505. Follow her at twitter.com/souleddout.

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Reasonable discourse

Gloria from the Hook says:
The rising ocean level is what will drive people from Red Hook. The land fill option of the EPA is just moving Red Hooks own toxic canal sludge into a clean, neutral, environmental facility. In doing so, the EPA will be able to reduce carbon foot print which is the only thing that might make Red Hook habitable for a bit longer.

Just who is speaking for Red Hook on this?
April 9, 2013, 6:13 pm
Local from Red Hook says:
You are out of touch. John Quadrozzi's is instituting a landgrab and does not care about Red Hook - just as he has shown by never doing anything for the community over the past two decades. He is a liar, a criminal and a polluter and should not be trusted. 336 people with computer access have spoken. Hundreds of residents have spoken at the minimally informative smokescreened community meetings that the EPA has organized. How will this make Red Hook more habitable? Reduce the carbon footprint without giving 450,000 square feet of land for a private developer to capitalize on.
April 9, 2013, 6:58 pm
K. from ArKady says:
If Quadrozzi was smart, he'd can the dirt in quart mason jars and sell it as Authentic Artisinal BrookLand to overmoneyed hipsters looking for an identity.
April 9, 2013, 11 pm
Louise Lucchese from louiselu@yahoo.com says:
How the eff does a mafia stooge like Quadrozzi still get work like this, or even the proposals for same?

Is it the same way convicted felon (and suspected of worse) Alex Figliola, also of Gowanus, keeps his hand in the till?

Unbelievable.
April 10, 2013, 1:42 am
yea from Red Hook says:
"Local"; Do your home work. The terminal already owns the land under water and has filling rights. Mr. Q's letting the EPA use the land for FREE which would otherwise go to a pay facility and cost $37mill!

A deal whereby the public saves $37 mill in exchange for filling in some of the terminals own land seems to be weighted in the EPA's favor. This could be the most monumental gift of our time, but it's Mr.Q that's doing the giving!

And you say he hasn't done anything for the community in the past? you better check the GBX website for a bit of enlightenment. They've got news print to support their contributions over the years.

www.GowanusBayTerminal.com

Some newby/nimby kooks yell fire, and you all go running. Take a breath, read the facts.

No Toxic prints blatent lies, this news story points it out (they've lost credibility), and you want to believe them over the EPA and a local business man that's done nothing but good for the community over the years, including cleaning up the whore/drug den that place was before he took it over - you couldn't even go down there - i remember!

If you want to butch about who hasn't been doing anything to help the community over the years, direct your anger at the city as it's their job to help and they haven't been doing it, in fact, their the biggest polluter of the canal still to the present day.

The EPA and GBX are the solution. Wake up Red Hook!!!!!!
April 10, 2013, 3:02 am
A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H , I and J from the first half of the alphabet says:
It's a stretch K, but you get an A for effort.
April 10, 2013, 9:58 am
NO! from Red Hook says:
So does "yea from Red Hook" work for Quadrozzi or what? How laughably obvious is that! You'd think he could afford a better shill!
April 10, 2013, 1:29 pm
yea from Red Hook says:
NO!; No i don't work for them but do know them well for many years, apparently better than you, which is perhaps why your so off, because you didn't put the effort in. Sounds like your a shill yourself, for No Toxic RH that is. I'd ask you to admit it but I know liars have difficulty telling the truth, and even more trouble getting out of their lies. So Mr. NTRH, what about the false statements, is it a Contaminited or Confined Disposal Facility, huh scary man? Get off it.
April 10, 2013, 7:46 pm
Civil says:
Musumeci's done a good job here of pointing out the incorrect description the No Toxic folks are pushing. While I think everyone's opinion is of the utmost importance, their opinion must be based on correct incormation, otherwise it is valueless. The incorect information cheepens the process and those participating.

Unfortunately the Red Hook Star Revue has cheepened themselves by pushing only one agenda based upon the incorrect information. They even put out an editorial to ensure their local merchant advertisers were clear that they were on the side of the "posters" which are hanging along side many retailers doors. Hopefully they got an uptick in sales for that week. Now there's a sell out.

Let's put our energy in figuring out what to do with the schit, rather than with the bull schit.
April 10, 2013, 8:37 pm
your from Red Hook? says:
No Toxic Red Hook is a mean group of people. Look at how they attempt to slander and disgrace their opponent instead of defending their opinions on the merits. I think the salt water in the back is corrosive to peoples character. Disgusting!
April 11, 2013, 1:01 am
your from Red Hook? says:
No Toxic Red Hook is a mean group of people. Look at how they attempt to slander and disgrace their opponent rather defend their opinion on the merits. I think the salt air in the back is corrosive on peoples character. Given the choice, I'd rather have a dirty canal and nice people rather than the other way around.

They should be ashamed of themselves!
April 11, 2013, 1:17 am
Flood Zone from Red Hook says:
Fact is most folks in Red Hook don't want a CDF in there backyard. They don't want large parts of waterfront filled in . Putting a CDF in a flood zone is a bad idea. Putting a CDF next to ball fields and parks is a bad idea. Filling in waterfront with processed sludge for a private business owner is a bad idea. 2/3 of the sludge is already headed to an offsite location. Processing the toxic sludge off site seems like the preferred option for most people in our community,and this is one option in the EPA 's plan as well. It's not an all or nothing situation.
April 11, 2013, 10:16 am
Flood Zone from Red Hook says:
Fact is most folks in Red Hook don't want a CDF in there backyard. They don't want large parts of waterfront filled in . Putting a CDF in a flood zone is a bad idea. Putting a CDF next to ball fields and parks is a bad idea. Filling in waterfront with processed sludge for a private business owner is a bad idea. 2/3 of the sludge is already headed to an offsite location. Processing the toxic sludge off site seems like the preferred option for most people in our community,and this is one option in the EPA 's plan as well. It's not an all or nothing situation.
April 11, 2013, 10:16 am
Andrea from Red Hook says:
Regarding confusing CDF for "contaminant" - easy mistake to make. CDF'S ARE DESIGNED TO CONTAIN CONTAMINANTS:
"Contaminated dredged material is often placed in CDFs designed and operated to control environmental impacts of the disposed sediment. A CDF is a diked enclosure having
structures that retain dredged material solids. When contaminated dredged material is placed in a CDF, contaminants may be mobilized in leachate that may be transported to the site boundaries by
seepage. Subsurface drainage and seepage through dikes may reach adjacent surface water and
groundwater and act as a source of contamination."

Please leave off with pot stirring, read the EPA's own words about possible leaching from the CDF. Research the stench from de-watering. Do your homework.

The EPA placed the burden of understanding the science upon the community of Red Hook, a community recovering from a natural disaster which delivered oily, iridescent flood water into their homes. If there is even a remote chance that more toxins could be introduced to an already environmentally abused corner of South Brooklyn through leaching, air-born particulates from dessicated sludge, odors, etc., it should be avoided at all costs. The cost and option of safely embedding the material as a cap for landfill, one of the remedies the EPA lists in their proposal, should be borne by those entities responsible for the Superfund Site.

The EPA has viable and beneficial options which don't include putting other communities in harm's way. Please cease with the insults and consider the health, future and environmental betterment of all of South Brooklyn. Red Hook is not so far away and water and air travel. Folks from all over NYC use the ball fields, go to Ikea, swim in the Red Hook pool. This option isn't a necessary one and benefits few.
http://www.clu-in.org/download/contaminantfocus/sediments/effect-confined-vadosedoerc31.pdf
April 14, 2013, 10:16 am
eme from Red Hook says:
Besides chosing to place this project on land belonging to a company that has twice been caught polluting coastal waters in our community (Newtown Creek, and Erie Basin), there are many problems with this proposal. The proponents have been unwilling or unable to provide any risk vs reward equation for this project. The EPA says it is "zero" risk? The face is these containments leak. Even the greasy site-owner know that - he has written that he now wants to build a second encasement around the already encased waste, "just to be sure." And,EPA, how's that "safe" neonicotinoid pesticide thing working out for you? As usual, corporate interests ahead of safety.
April 15, 2013, 10 am

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