Man arrested for dumping crap in the Newtown Creek

Toxic summer! Contamination studies to begin at Newtown Creek
Newtown Creek
File photo by Tom Callan

A Greenpoint property owner was collared on Wednesday for allegedly taking a huge dump in Newtown Creek.

Jose Torres — owner of three commercial buildings on N. Henry Street near the creek — was charged with allowing toilets and sinks to drain directly into the already filthy waterway.

“Isn’t that disgusting?” said Jerry Schmetterer, a spokesman for District Attorney Charles Hynes, who announced the 81-count indictment against Torres. “Toilets are supposed to go into municipal sewer lines.”

But they weren’t, Hynes charged. And it’s not as though Torres wasn’t warned; both the city and state environmental agencies investigated the plumbing and ordered Torres to fix the problem Oct. 1, 2009, according to Hynes’s press release.

Torres fixed the problem by Oct. 9 — but by then, Hynes’s investigators had logged 81 pollution-related felonies. He was arraigned in Brooklyn Supreme Court on Wednesday and was release after making the $10,000 bail.

His lawyer, Andrea Zellan, was unavailable to comment, according to her office.

Torres owns the buildings at 251, 257 and 259 N. Henry St. — between Meserole and Norman avenues — but his tenants apparently had no idea that they were using Newtown Creek as a Honey Bucket, Schmetterer said.

But the mess didn’t get past state environmental officers, who started an investigation after noticing a liquid discharge coming from storm drains on a sunny, dry day.

To isolate the cause of the effluvia, the investigators used dye, Schmetterer said.

The stink is nothing new for Newtown Creek, which is currently undergoing a federal effort to list it as a toxic Superfund site.

Late last month, the city quietly backed that proposal, putting it one step closer to a federally funded cleanup process.

A man was arrested on Wednesday for allowing three buildings that he owns on N. Henry Street in Greenpoint to dump raw sewage into the Newtown Creek.
The Brooklyn Paper / Tom Callan