Filthy Newtown Creek is about to get a lot cleaner.
The 3.8 mile waterway that separates Queens and Brooklyn was named a federal superfund site Monday, giving people on both sides reason to smile.
"This part is already developing gradually but slowly," Ray, a Greenpoint resident told PIX 11 News. "I think there's lots of room for development. It's a great neighborhood and I think having clean water is going to help."
Paul Pullo, of the Newton Creek Monitoring Committee, said people treated the creek as a toxic dump.
"Newtown Creek became the sewer for the city everything was dumped into the creek.," he said.
Raw sewage is no longer being discarded into the water, however the underwater soil is teeming with toxic waste including PCP's, heavy metals, and pesticides. Don't break out your swim trunks just yet, the clean up is expected to take around 15 years, and could cost more than $500 million.
The Environmental Protection Agency is looking to get the oil refineries and factories that polluted the canal decades ago to foot the bill. Those companies include, : BP, Sun Mobil, Texaco, Brooklyn Union Gas and the City of New York.
For years people have been fighting to get this waterway cleaned up, however now that it's going to happen, there is some hesitation and fear of what may be dredged up here.
"The fact that it's going to take 20 years to clean it, and the fact it's going to effect the communities projects and the businesses is scary," said Christine Holowatz , also of the Newtown Creek monitoring committee. In addition, she said there needs to be coordination between the EPA to make sure progress, like construction of affordable housing on the banks of the canal, goes forward during the clean up.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times