Sunday, March 21, 2010

New Monitoring At Newtown Creek by Kaitlyn Kilmetis - Queens Tribune

Queens Tribune

Last week, the Department of Environmental Protection declared it will open a new microbiology laboratory on the shores of infamously polluted Newtown Creek.

On March 9, DEP Commissioner Cas Holloway announced the creation of a new $2.3 million facility that will serve to improve operational efficiency and enhance monitoring of local waterways.

The 2,000 square-foot lab, located at Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant in Brooklyn, will feature state-of-the-art equipment including modern incubators, sterilizers and purification systems.

Prior to the lab’s creation, water testing was performed at 14 different wastewater treatment plants; with the new lab, bacteriological analyses will be consolidated at one center so the staff will have the ability to analyze an increased number of samples on a daily basis and compare samples more efficiently.

“One of our core responsibilities is to make sure that wastewater is effectively treated, so that it has as little impact on our receiving waterways as possible,” Holloway said. “This new microbiology lab will substantially increase our monitoring and testing capacity, giving us the vital information we need to meet and exceed treatment standards, and continue the resurgence of New York City’s waterways that is central to Mayor Bloomberg’s PlaNYC vision.”

According to Holloway, DEP will begin to take additional bacteriological samples within Jamaica Bay beginning this summer to assess water quality and also monitor several tributaries to evaluate ambient improvements resulting from combined sewer overflow retention investments.

Newtown Creek, a highly-contaminated urban waterway that traverses Queens and Brooklyn, is currently in a Superfund designation public comment review period.