1999-08-21 / Letters

No To Dumping!

Dear Editor,

(Letter to Mr. Roth, U.S. Army Corp. of Engineers)

I hope this letter is not too late, but we of the Bayswater Civic Association have only just been made aware of the proposal for dredging 90,000 cubic yards of toxic dredge spoil from Steinway Creek in Astoria, Queens with the possibility of DUMPING it in the Norton Basin area of Jamaca Bay in Bayswater, Far Rockaway, Queens, NY. As president of Bayswater Civic Association, I am most disturbed that you made no effort to contact my organization. Our name and address were certainly obtainable through the District 14 Community Board.

We are certainly distressed that the U.S. Army Corps. of Engineers is even considering such a proposal when there is so much effort that has been made and is being made to clean up the bay. Why bother with "restoration" when what you propose to do diametrically opposite to this stated goal? You are aware, I am sure, that the dredged material proposed for this area is as toxic or worse than nearly 30% of the current toxic area in the ocean dumping site and is Class II as in bioaccumulatable toxic chemicals.

There are a serious number of questions that we have to ask here when we consider that people use the bay for such things as boating, fishing, and, in certain areas, wading and swimming; that we already have a capped garbage dump called by the local people as Mt. Edgemere; that there are an overwhelming number of people living very close to the bay in both private and low income dwellings (Are they aware of this?); and new homes are springing up all over the Rockaway Peninsula with close proximity to the bay.

The questions are as follows:

1) Have the exact amounts of toxicity for these materials to be dredged been reported publicly? If so, Bayswater Civic Association would like a copy. If not, why not?

2) Why are you considering such an experiment when there is a National Park in the midst of Jamaica Bay?

3) Have our standards been so lowered as to allow for this kind of dumping into a bay that is not only home and recreation to so many humans, but is home to a wildlife sanctuary as well?

4) Is this restoration when such polluted materials are brought into Jamaica Bay?

5) What will happen to the flooding situation when the designated areas are reduced in size as a result of this general shallowing of the bay?

These are my concerns as well as the concerns of the Bayswater community and, I would hope, of the Rockaway Peninsula as well.

GLORIA WARSHOFSKY

(Bayswater Civic Association)

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