Sample Environmental Studies and Forestry Essay Paper on Water Pollution in New York

Water Pollution in New York

Question 1

A Superfund site is an area in the United States of America polluted by hazardous materials and poses a danger to human health and the environment. These sites are recognized by the American Environment Protection Agency (EPA) as candidates for cleanup due to their potential risk to the surrounding communities. Additionally, the regions are placed on the National Priority List (NPL) primarily to guide the EPA on the type of locations that requires further exploration (Hamilton, 2018). As such, both the Gowanus Canal and Newton Creek are Superfund sites since they are among the most polluted water bodies in the country with an impending danger to humanity.

Question 2

Both the Newton Creek and Gowanus Canal are polluted by the raw sewage that originates from the nearby treatment plant, which is one of the largest companies in New York. Equally, other forms of contaminants such as pesticides, heavy metals, and volatile organic compounds are found in the two water bodies (Krisel, 2015). Recreational activities like kayaking and fishing, effluents from over 250 pipes, polluted runoffs, and combined sewer outfalls are the primary sources of hazardous materials to the Creek and Gowanus Canal.

Question 3

EPA’s cleanup activities for Newton Creek and Gowanus Canal involved dredging to eliminate the polluted materials beneath the canal that has accumulated due to the industrial and sewer overflow (Rodriguez, 2018). However, the alternative cleaning techniques include the use of aquatic plants and oysters. An oyster shell can remove the eutrophicated particles like phosphorus and nitrogen (Huh, Choi, Lee, Choi, Ramakrishna, Lee & Ahn, 2016). Additionally, aquatic plants are also efficient in water treatment. The methods have no impact on the environment and surrounding communities compared to the dredging process employed by the EPA which causes noise pollution.


Hamilton, B. (2018). What are the Superfund site “NPL” statuses? – TOXMAP FAQ. Retrieved from

Huh, J. H., Choi, Y. H., Lee, H. J., Choi, W. J., Ramakrishna, C., Lee, H. W, & Ahn, J. W. (2016). The use of oyster shell powders for water quality improvement of lakes by algal blooms removal. Journal of the Korean Ceramic Society, 53(1), 1-6.

Krisel, R. S. (2015). Gentrifying a Superfund site: Why Gowanus, Brooklyn is becoming a real estate hot spot. Consilience, (14), 214-224.

Rodriguez, E. (2018). Pilot project advances EPA’s cleanup of Gowanus Canal Superfund site in Brooklyn, NY | US EPA. Retrieved from