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Sounding the alarm over violations during Waste Transfer Station construction

Just one week after they hand-delivered a batch of signed petitions against the proposed Southwest Brooklyn waste transfer station to City Hall, a trio of local leaders unveiled a bevy of new photos taken by local residents that, they say, paint a pretty ugly picture.

“This is an outrageous environmental injustice that must be taken down,” said Assemblymember William Colton, who has spearheaded the fight against the waste transfer station for quite some time and started a Neighborhood Watch initiative that urges community members to look for and report any violations happening at the construction site.

He, alongside fellow advocates District Leader Nancy Tong, Councilmember Mark Treyger and newly elected Congressmember Daniel Donovan, presented the photos at a press conference, held on Wednesday, September 2 in Colton’s Kings Highway office.

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 several concerns since its proposal by the Department of Sanitation (DOS) as part of the city’s Solid Waste Management Plan (or SWMP).

Photos courtesy of Assemblymember William Colton
Photos courtesy of Assemblymember William Colton

Among the most pressing concerns, as indicated in newly collected photographs, include a lack of protective netting around the worksite, the seeping of oil into the water of Gravesend Bay and unclean water left at a work site with a generator left lying in it.

Other, long-standing concerns about the facility include the impact of truck traffic on nearby residents, a potential increase in traffic congestion, and the possibility that necessary dredging 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.

“We have long known that this site is home to some of the worst toxins known to mankind and are very concerned with the impact this will have on communities across southern Brooklyn for years to come,” said Treyger, stressing that the city has disregarded the site’s violations for far too long. “The photos taken by concerned residents of blatant violations during the ongoing construction process are indisputable proof that the city is callously disregarding the health and safety of local residents.”

“I was taken aback by the decades of negligence that caused this mess,” said Donovan in a statement. “Together with [Assemblymember] Colton and Councilmember Treyger, I sent a letter to the [Environmental Protection Agency] requesting they investigate the contamination and consider a Superfund declaration. I stand with my colleagues in government in fighting for a cleaner, safer South Brooklyn.”

Those interested in participating in the Neighborhood Watch initiative – headed by Tong and co-Democratic District Leader Charles Ragusa – can contact 718-236-1598 or simply e-mail photos or information to neighborhoodwatch47@gmail.com.

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