The history of industrial New York is deeply etched along the banks of this waterway separating the boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens. Today it is among the most polluted creeks in the nation owing to a legacy of industry dating long before the environmental movement. With 4 miles of protected shore line, extensive rail connections and proximity to Manhattan, Newtown Creek was a natural place for industry to thrive in the mid-19th century. The former salt marsh transformed into an industrial canal and soon was home to some of the dirtiest businesses in the city. Oil refineries, glue factories, tanneries and copper refineries sprouted up along the creek into the 20th leaving a toxic legacy that lingers underneath the ground. The most well-known environmental disaster along the creek is the Greenpoint Oil Plume, an estimated 17-30 million gallons of oil that slowly leaked into the creek and under the neighborhood over the span of decades. The creek also suffers from a combined sewer system that gets overwhelmed when it rains, discharging millions of gallons of raw sewage into the water. With the overhaul of the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant, Exxon's remediation efforts and the recent Superfund designation for the entire creek there is a hope for a cleaner future. Today the creek is not the economic engine it once was but serves vital functions for the city by keeping scrap metal recycling, sewage treatment, oil storage, and distribution facilities out of sight and out of mind for the New Yorkers passing high above it on its bridges and elevated expressways.