Dec 9, 2010

NY shops charged with dumping sewage into Jamaica Bay

The dye map of the creek, left; and the four men hit with environmental crime charges

NEW YORK — Several stores at Brooklyn shopping center have been dumping raw sewage and restaurant grease into a small creek that empties into Jamaica Bay, a wildlife jewel next to John F. Kennedy International Airport, authorities said Wednesday.

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

Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes said it's unclear 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 was 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.

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

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