Thursday, October 4, 2007

NYC Closes Sprink Creek Composting Facility

It is hard for me to believe that NYC could close Brooklyn and Queens only compost facility - Spring Creek. Not only is composting an important waste reduction activity, it has been a great boon to gardeners across the boroughs of this city. I have been going to Spring Creek for a few years now to supply my garden with fresh and FREE compost. As much as I can cart away. Let me tell you this was a busy place on the giveaway weekends. The facility was well staffed with DSNY employees directing cars in and out of the facility and helpful with directions should drivers feel disoriented. To be sure, this is not an area many people go often. Spring Creek is on the north side of the Belt Parkway, NW of JFK airport. But its easy to get to (I take Linden Blvd., aka Route 27, the whole way) and no problem once there.  

Apparently the DSNY has not been able to renew their operating permit. I do not know why this is the case. They say they are searching for new facilities. Meanwhile, there are two other sites to pick up fresh compost this fall, at the Fresh Kills Facility on Staten Island and at the Sound View Facility in the Bronx.

Last year DSNY gave away at Spring Creek great brown paper leaf bags. They also have compost bins at discounted prices for sale. Check out the schedule for this years compost giveways. Also check out the schedule for leaf pick-up.


  1. When I went to the compost giveback in the Spring, they told me I couldn't take any pictures. The unofficial reason given was the sensitivity around this issue.

    I think two factors have contributed. One is complaints from residents, who have complained about smells arising from the site. This is, shall we say, garbage, since compost wouldn't smell. The complaints probably arise from other activities at the site, having nothing to do with the composting operation.

    The second factor is that the land has become too valuable. I don't know where else they could do it. Queens and Brooklyn have simply been cut out of the giveback program.

  2. Xris,

    Thanks for the input. I have been to large scale agricultural composting sites that have some odor, but Spring Creek has never had a scent that I was aware of while there.

    I don't know where they would do it, either. Yet it is such a shame, and to have to travel that much farther -and I would if I still had a car, to get the compost. I suppose we'll have to concentrate on small scale composting.

    I appreciate your blogging and your lengthy blogger list-I've visited almost all!

  3. I know it's no the same as scoring big buckets and bags of compost, but I have had a worm bin in my basement for four years. It has worked out wonderfully and I get easily 2 five gallon buckets of worm castings every six months. It is some work, and they are living creatures to be responsible for, but as pets go, they are pretty self sufficient. You need to be willing to touch worms, however. Lots and lots of them. It's pretty amazing. If you don't have a basement, it can still be done. There are good websites about it. The only suggestion I would add to the info on the web, is that especially when doing it inside, you place the plastic lidded container holding the worms and the food and newspaper scraps on four bricks inside a larger plastic container. Poke holes in both lids and in the bottom of the smaller container, placing some window screen over it so the worms don't fall out. The reason to do this is it's tidier and more contained and it is easier to make use of the liquid that drains out which can be diluted and sprayed on plants or watered into the ground. It also is a less soggy, more pleasant environment for the worms.

  4. Xris' (Flatbush Gardener) experience regarding picture taking is interesting. Since the site is public parkland, and nominally the event was open to all comers, there would be no reason not to allow pictures. However, the related experience is consistent with NYC DOS' secrecy about the entire operation.

    As for the other comments, they are mere speculation which if a modicum of research had been conducted would not have been opined. One cannot but wonder if the writer is either in the employ of, or an apologist for, the NYC DOS. The position expressed regarding odor has been examined by an independent third party and found to be lacking basic validity. The odors (and other nuisanace conditions)emanating from the facility were found to be caused by the solid waste processing activity and by no other activity in the area.

    As for the value of the land, it truly is valuable - it was land taken away from private property owners for the limited purpose of public parkland. The land has not recently become too valuable, save that individuals have come to recognize the value of parkland.

    As a party in the effort to close the illegal facility, we invite anyone truly interested in the matter to view the public record regarding the facility. The major decisions in the Matter are posted on the NYS DEC website.


If I do not respond to your comment right away, it is only because I am busy pulling out buckthorn, creeping charlie, and garlic mustard...