The city Parks Department was seemingly caught red-handed on Thursday dumping waste in a dormant corner of Forest Park, but the agency claims the smelly sludge was not hazardous.
The location is the same section of Forest Park where the agency plans to create a new entrance where parkgoers from nearby Glendale can enter from Myrtle Avenue to other sections that will also soon be revamped.
To witnesses, the scene reeked of a potentially hazardous sewage dump. However, a Parks Department spokeswoman confirmed to QNS it was in fact sediment and other matter pulled from catch basins after a reader provided footage of trucks doing the dumping.
“This is not hazardous waste. These trucks were used to clear soil and sediment from our clogged catch basins and spray shower drains to prevent puddling. Fresh water from the holding tanks is used to flush the sediment,” spokeswoman Meghan Lalor said. “Any large debris will be addressed this evening and then we will follow up by raking the sediment with machinery to address anything remaining.”
The dumping occurred near the northeast corner of the park where people are able to enter from Myrtle Avenue. The Parks Department has been looking to revamp the area, which mostly serves as a route for motorists get on the Jackie Robinson Parkway.
But the scene was alarming for multiple people in videos captured as the smell was bad, according to those in the video, and garbage such as water bottles and wrappers could be seen.
“The smell of the discharge was abhorrent. There were gallons and gallons of muck, mud, debris and heavens know what else,” said Frank Schorn, who captured the videos. “The liquid flowed into a sewer entrance some dozens of yards away. The sewer grate is nearly completely blocked with debris from prior discharges of waste.”
Meanwhile, Councilman Robert Holden turned to Twitter to deem the practice of dumping what he called “sewage” as “irresponsible,” and something he would work to prevent in the future.