Graduation Date

Fall 12-15-2017

Grading Professor

Robert Lewis

Subject Concentration

Urban Reporting

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


According to data science and policy blog I Quant NY, the Coney Island Creek is one of the dirtiest waterways in the city. It’s filthier than the Newtown Creek or the Gowanus Canal, which are both designated as federal superfund sites. The creek is a sanctuary for residents who want it to be cleaner and want to be in the know when it comes to dangerous levels of bacteria in the water.

What my reporting partner and I, Kyle Mackie, found was that the community has largely been kept in the dark. The DEP has been investigating both small and large instances of illegal hook ups and dumping to storm water drains for years and it wasn’t until January of this year that they informed the public. And that was only after advocates demanded more information.

Last year, the Beach Haven apartment complex was caught dumping 200,000 gallons of raw, untreated sewage into the creek every single day for an undetermined amount of time. Needless to say, the levels of fecal coliform in the creek are high – so high, in fact, that the water has been deemed “not suitable for swimming” on most days. Yet fishermen continue to eat the fish they catch there.

According to a spokeswoman from the DEP, it’s really hard to track down the places – usually homes of businesses – that have illegal hookups draining sewage into the creek. For example, one Coney Island Creek outfall has been under investigation since 2014 and only ten addresses were found to have illegal hookups.

Illegal sewage dumping has been a problem that has plagued Coney Island Creek for decades. Back when President Trump’s father owned Beach Haven, he was fined $2000 for dumping into the creek and ordered to put up a fence between his property and the street to prevent further dumping into the creek.

creek_feature_1.mp3 (14950 kB)
creek_feature_2.mp3 (18642 kB)
creek_drone.mp4 (22184 kB)
fisherman.mp4 (101584 kB)
beach_clean_up1.JPG (714 kB)
beach_clean_up2.JPG (929 kB)

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