It’s a Coney Creek call to action!
Local pols, officials, and environmentalists cheered the Department of Environmental Preservation for finally putting up signs around the beleaguered waters of Coney Island Creek prompting locals to call 311 to report any illicit discharges from sewer drains polluting the creek.
Councilman Mark Treyger (D–Coney Island) said the city still needs to invest more resources into cleaning up the poop-filled waters, but that the installation of the signs are a significant development.
“I commend DEP for hearing our community’s concerns and working collaboratively to improve the water quality of Coney Island Creek,” Treyger said. “While there is still much to be done to remediate the Creek, raising public awareness about outfalls and harmful discharges is an important step on the path toward the clean and healthy creek our community deserves.”
The city agency announced on March 14 that it put up the signage at the creek’s seven storm-sewer outfalls at West 12th, 15th, 21st, 28th and 33rd streets, plus two south on Shore Parkway. The signs show each outfall’s ID number and encourage locals to call 311 to report any discharges. The agency said the signage was developed with community input through a series of workshops with Community Board 13, the Coney Island Beautification Project, the Stormwater Infrastructure Matters Coalition, and other groups.
The president of the Coney Island Beautification Project said the group was glad the agency finally considered their suggestions, and she was glad the creek was one step closer to being cleaned up.
“They listened and acted upon our ideas — what a novel movement,” said Pamela Pettyjohn.
Locals began their calls for the signage nearly a year ago, after environmental whistleblowers discovered in October 2016 that a Gravesend apartment complex had been dumping up to 200,000 gallons of raw sewage into the creek every day through an illegal sewage hook-up to an emergency storm drain, possibly for years. But the district manager of CB13 — who previously too the agency to task for taking their sweet time to put up the signs — said it was better late than never.
“The more people know about their environment around them, the more informed they are about what’s happening in the neighborhood,” said Eddie Mark. “Things happen in time.”
But Sanoff blasted the agency for taking so long, adding that they would only be effective if agency personnel regularly monitored them to make sure they weren’t vandalized or missing.
“This is not rocket science, putting up a sign with a phone number,” she said. “What took so long?”
The agency did not respond by press time to inquiries about how it would specifically respond to the 311 complaints, whether or not staffers would monitor the signs for vandalism or theft, or why it took more than a year after the dumping was discovered to install them.