2010-12-17 / Top Stories

Sheepshead Bay Businesses Busted

DA: Knowingly Pollute Jamaica Bay
By Howard Schwach

The businesses that are charged with polluting Jamaica Bay are directly across the bay from Breezy Point. The businesses that are charged with polluting Jamaica Bay are directly across the bay from Breezy Point. Officials at the Sheepshead Bay Multiplex, several stores and restaurants at a Brooklyn shopping center heavily used by Rockaway residents, who have allegedly been dumping raw sewage and restaurant grease into a small creek that empties into Jamaica Bay directly across the bay from Breezy Point, were arrested and arraigned on several environmental charges in a Brooklyn court, authorities say.

The businesses, which include the Regal Entertainment multiplex theater, a bagel shop, a TGI Friday’s restaurant and a marina, were charged with environmental violations for allegedly using busted sewer pipes that leaked human waste into the water. Residents complained starting last year, but prosecutors say some of the businesses were first cited for polluting the bay in 2003.

Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes said it’s not clear whether the sewage would cause permanent environmental damage. The leaks did not affect the city’s water supply, the largest unfiltered supply system in the world.

The waste has been seeping from septic pipes that run along the banks of the Shell Bank Creek, which weaves through Sheepshead Bay and Marine Park neighborhoods in the southeastern tip of Brooklyn, prosecutors charged.

The Department of Environmental Protection served a notice to the manager of the Regal Entertainment Group that the lines needed repairing after 2003.

Officials charged that the repairs were never made and the polluting continued unabated.

But after complaints in 2009, an investigation using green dye traced discharges of fecal matter and toilet paper to the creek from the movie theater, according to Brooklyn prosecutors.

The other businesses charged, which include Knapp Street Bagels and the Deauville Marina, also used the pipes.

The bagel shop and TGI Friday’s and its landlord were also charged with dumping untreated grease and oil into the creek. The establishment is a franchise; a restaurant manager couldn’t comment, and a corporate TGI Friday’s spokesperson did not return an after-hours call seeking comment.

Lawyers for the businesses, managers and landlords were unavailable for comment.

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