The Newtown Creek waterbody and watershed includes Newtown Creek, Dutch Kills, Maspeth Creek, East Branch and English Kills waterbodies and defines the border between Brooklyn and Queens. Newtown Creek is tributary to the East River, and was originally a stream draining the uplands of western Long Island. Urbanization and heavy shipping traffic significantly modified the course and channel of Newtown Creek over the years, most notably filling the inland streams, and widening and deepening the downstream end. Between the 1930s–1960, raw sewage and industrial wastes were discharging directly to the Creek without treatment and natural marshlands and freshwater streams were replaced with combined sewers and storm drains. The water quality deteriorated to such an extent that Newtown Creek was notorious as a polluted waterways.
Efforts to address water quality in Newtown Creek date back to the 1960s, when New York City was constructing Waste Water Treatment Plants to treat sewage and industrial wastes during dry weather and to capture a portion of the combined sewage generated during wet weather. DEP is currently working on a Long Term Control Plan (LTCP) to better understand CSO impacts on water quality in Newtown Creek. Check back often for materials and resources as the LTCP develops.