Thursday, December 09, 2010

Four Brooklyn Businesses Hit With Felony Charges For Dumping Raw Sewage

Manager/owners of four Sheepshead Bay Brooklyn businesses were arrested and face up to four years in prison and fines of $75,000 per day for dumping raw sewage into Shell Creek, which runs into Jamaica Bay. They had been warned since 2003 to repair sewer lines but had resisted such efforts for years despite their private sewer system regularly breaking down and leaking into neighboring streets.

Investigators used a green dye to trace the dumping of raw sewage, including toilet waste, into the creek:
Craig Novoa, manager of the United Artists Sheepshead Bay Stadium 14 movie theater; Simon Shin, manager of Knapp Street Bagel; Alex Spivak, landlord for the TGI Friday's, and David Matalon, manager of Deuville Marina, were arrested.

The criminal complaint accuses the shops - all in or near the same strip mall - of dumping human waste, restaurant grease and other refuse into the creek.

Neighbors of the shops had complained for years about noxious odors coming from the creek, which is home to bluefish, crab and striped bass.

"I've been living here for 12 years. That creek stinks," said Minnie Colon, 36, who had just bought a ticket to see "Burlesque" at the theater.

"It smells like a backed-up toilet. On a rainy day, forget about it. You have to carry Febreze," said Colin, who added that she was shocked to hear about the allegations.
Jamaica Bay is home to a segment of the Gateway National Recreation Area, and is home to one of the East Coast's most important migratory birding habitats. It is habitat that has been under tremendous strain and pressure - with researchers trying to figure out why marshland was disappearing at a frightening pace over the past decade.

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What makes this dumping all the more odious is that these businesses are located just blocks from the Coney Island Wastewater Treatment Plant and that it took so long to trace the source of the problem. The movie theater denies the charges, and points to the fact that it repaired a section of the sewer line in 2009.

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