Anti-waste task force brings transfer station site issues to light in letter to EPA

After years of fighting to prevent the opening of the Southwest Brooklyn waste transfer station at 400 Bay 41st Street, local pols are trying to get the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on board.

To that end, the new Anti-Waste Task Force co-chaired by District Leaders Charles Ragusa and Nancy Tong recently detailed numerous violations they say are happening at the site in a letter to the EPA.

According to Assemblymember William Colton, who has spearheaded the fight against the station alongside Councilmember Mark Treyger, the multiple complaints brought before the task force are occurring in violation of the Clean Water Act.

“We have been asking people in the neighborhood to send us photos and videos of what they’re seeing on the construction site,” explained Colton. “The task force put together that information and we realized that there is a real problem here. Our worst fears are coming to fruition.”

Colton – who had previously sued the state to prevent a license from being granted to the city to operate the waste transfer station — said the “smoking gun” within was an oil slick that formed by the water’s edge near the site of the station.

“The [community member’s] video showed what was going on,” said Colton. “You see, as the video pans to the waste site, that there is dirt that has fallen into the water and there is no netting or barrier.”

The lack of netting or barrier, according to the task force, allows soil and debris from the old incinerator—a site chock-full of contaminants—to discharge into the surrounding water.

“The EPA is the agency that it is in charge of keeping these waters clean, and these waters lead to the Atlantic Ocean,” Colton said. “We’re saying that this is a violation [of] the procedures for keeping our waters clean. We may consider the possibly of some legal action if they don’t intervene.

“Clearly, I think we’re getting evidence that there is a violation of the Clean Water Act,” he continued. “Certainly, we want to ask the EPA to come in here and take a look at these work conditions which we believe are a threat to the surrounding waters in Southwest Brooklyn. I will keep fighting this until they close it down.”

The Task Force was able to receive these submissions from community members via an e-mail set up by Colton. The Neighborhood Watch initiative asked that neighbors take pictures and/or videos of any dangerous activity happening at the construction site.

Proposed by the Department of Sanitation (DOS) as part of the city’s Solid Waste Management Plan (or SWMP), the station – which would be built on the site of the reviled Bensonhurst incinerator which operated without a permit from the 1950s through the 1980s – has aroused a myriad of concerns.

Among these is the impact of truck traffic on nearby residents, a potential increase in traffic congestion (all trucks would have to access the facility through the eastbound Belt Parkway service road) and the possibility that necessary dredging (to allow garbage barges to travel to and from the station) would bring up toxins from the old incinerator and potentially disturb unexploded munitions dating back to World War II now at the floor of Gravesend Bay.

Anyone with concerns or questions about the transfer station can call 718-236-1598. To send any photos or videos of potential violations happening at the construction site, email

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