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Trash takes over - Last stand for waste station foes

It’s all said and done. Brooklynites used their final opportunity to weigh in on the proposed Southwest Brooklyn Converted Marine Transfer Station to warn of potential health and environmental hazards if the facility is sited in Gravesend at 1824 Shore Parkway. Leading a task force against the waste transfer station, which would not be a landfill but rather a facility connecting trucks carrying garbage and barges transporting the refuse, Assemblyman Bill Colton said dredging of Gravesend Bay in preparation of the station would release toxins into the air. It could also detonate ammunition that’s been at the bottom of the bay since a barge carrying about 15,000 anti-aircraft shells capsized in 1954, he charged. In addition, Colton said, “We are aware that there has been a longtime practice of ships dry docking at the former Brooklyn Navy Yard that would unload their ammunition to be transported through the waters of the lower bay and Gravesend Bay to New Jersey. We need to ensure how this might impact on dredging.” Colton and Rep. Vito Fossella are calling on the U.S. Department of Defense to conduct a formal investigation into whether or not live anti-aircraft shells are in the bay. The city Department of Sanitation insists that no explosions would occur during the dredging process. A spokesperson released a statement noting, “The Department of Sanitation sees no relationship between [Assemblyman] Colton’s allegations and the proposed Southwest Brooklyn Marine Transfer Station. Based on a New York Times article of January 7, 1955, the Navy located and recovered the lost shells. This was confirmed by the Navy. The site where the shells were recovered is two miles away from the Southwest Brooklyn Marine Transfer Station and does not impact this project.” Ida Sanoff, chair of the Natural Resources Protective Association, which is dedicated to preserving marine and shoreline habitats, said toxins are sure to emanate from the waste transfer station, especially when dredging occurs, and have devastating health effects for area residents, as well as marine life. “The southwest site is an important location for both recreational and commercial fishing,” Sanoff said. When dredging, “DSNY [Department of Sanitation] cannot guarantee that toxic silt will not be resuspended and distributed to a larger area, increasing the opportunity for bioaccumulation. This will have ecological, economic and health impacts.” Sanoff continued, “The operations of the MTS [marine transfer station] will require regular applications of pesticides both within the facility and outside of it.” “The pesticides,” explained local resident Mitchel Cohen, “are extremely dangerous, especially for young people and the elderly.”

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