Barretto Point Park to expand

Leslie Caraballo

Barretto Point Park

Lawsuit wins funds for cleanup and plantings

Barretto Point Park will expand this summer to include the 1.2 acres of land next door to the park that the city has been using as a staging area for work on the Hunts Point sewer plant.

Local activists won the funds to clean up the land as part of the settlement of a lawsuit filed against the city Department of Environmental Protection over odors from the plant and NYOFCo, the New York Organic Fertilizer Company.

Under an agreement reached in court, the DEP will use money from a 1996 bond act to clean up the stretch of land between the sewer plant and the park, where construction equipment has been stored for years while the sewer plant was expanded.

In 2008, the Natural Resources Defense Council, a national environmental organization, sued the city and NYOFCo on behalf of Mothers on the Move and nine local residents, demanding that they change the way they operate their plants to eliminate the sickening smell that on bad days drifted over the entire peninsula.

To settle the lawsuit, the city agreed to stop trucking sewage to NYOFCo, to put a plan to build huge towers at the sewer plant on hold for at least 10 years and to spend $500,000 to clean up the land next to the park. The settlement forced NYOFCo out of business.

“Now that NYOFCo is closed and our community is odor free, we’re excited to work with the city to add recreational space to our beautiful waterfront in Hunts Point,” said Wanda Salaman, executive director of Mothers on the Move.

It will take four to six months to clean up the land, the DEP said. Two feet of clean soil will be laid down and planted with grass and 50 shrubs before it is turned over to the Department of Parks and Recreation.

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