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Info dump! Locals demand answers from silent DEP on Coney creek sewage spill

Raising a stink: Activist Pamela Pettyjohn and Councilman Mark Treyger demand the city alert locals when it discovers unsanctioned dumping in Coney Island Creek.
Brooklyn Daily
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They’ve had enough of this s---.

People who fish, swim in, and care for Coney Island Creek are demanding that the city explain why it did not alert them after discovering that an apartment complex was dumping 200,000 gallons of sewage per day into the water.

“Why were we kept in the dark?” said Councilman Mark Treyger (D–Coney Island). “They need to explain to this community what is going on and what they’re doing to keep people safe, because if it was not for ordinary residents that helped expose this, we would not have found out, and we have major problems with that.”

The city’s Department of Environmental Protection learned on Sept. 7 that workers from nearby Beach Haven Apartments diverted sewage from clogged pipes into a storm drain that spills into the creek, according to e-mails between regulators and harbor-quality advocates at NYC Water Trail Association. The city told the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation, but neither agency publicly announced the news to people who actually use the tributary. State officials said it is the city’s job to sound the alarm. Reps from the city did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Treyger and members of clean-water group Making Waves held a rally at creek-adjacent Kaiser Park on Oct. 7, entreating the city to come clean about how long the vile flow lasted, why it did not tell locals, and how it is punishing those responsible.

Volunteers were planning a blowout clean-up that day — aiming to haul trash from the stream, hold marine-education seminars, and even explore its depths with aquatic robots as they have in the past — but they moved the event off the water after news of the dumping broke last week.

The whole thing was crappy news — and a setback for people who have worked to improve the water, according to one do-gooder who came from East New York.

“I feel very mad, because people in the company are just being selfish,” 12-year-old Elijah Ducasse said of the apartment complex that regulators are blaming. “There are a lot of people who are dedicating their life and their time to cleaning Coney Island Creek — now they have to start from the bottom.”

Reach reporter Caroline Spivack at mspivack@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2517. Follow him on Twitter @carolinespivack.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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