State officials say oil spill cleanup efforts under Greenpoint are seriously picking up speed. “In terms of oil recovery, we’re more than a third of the way there,” state Department of Environmental Conservation project manager Ed Hampston told the Brooklyn Paper. With the help of new sludge-sucking pumps (and at the urging of subway artists), workers removed 880,000 gallons of oil last year, more than twice as much as in 2008. Since 2000, the year the cleanup began, 10.8 million gallons of petroleum product have been extracted.

Problem is, no one really knows how much oil is left under the 120 acre swath in Greenpoint. In 1979 the size of the spill, one of the worst in U.S. history, was thought to be 17 million gallons, but the estimate has since ballooned to 30 million gallons. Riverkeeper’s Philip Musegaas questions Hampston's optimistic assertion. “If we don’t know how much oil is there, it is difficult to tell how long it will take to remove all of it.” Hampston wouldn't venture how much longer the cleanup will take, but the EPA estimates 10-25 years.