EPA Announces Plan to Clean Up Gowanus Canal

Public comment period open until March 28, 2013

By Kristen Meriwether
Epoch Times Staff
Created: December 29, 2012 Last Updated: January 1, 2013
Related articles: United States » New York City
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Trash and sludge is visible in the heavily polluted Gowanus Canal on Jan. 24, 2012. (Amal Chen/Epoch Times)

Trash and sludge is visible in the heavily polluted Gowanus Canal on Jan. 24, 2012. (Amal Chen/Epoch Times)

NEW YORK—The Gowanus Canal, one of the nation’s most contaminated bodies of water, is one step closer to being cleaned up.

On Thursday the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a cleanup plan, which is expected to cost between $467 and $504 million.

The plan for the canal will make “essential progress in removing toxic contaminants from this heavily polluted and battered waterway,” said Judith A. Enck, EPA regional administrator in a statement. “Our overall goal is to reduce pollution and protect the health of people who live and work in this community,” Enck added.

On March 2, 2010, the EPA designated the site a Superfund site, paving the way for federal spending to clean it up, after dozens of highly toxic contaminants were found in the water following years of dumping by the industrial facilities on its shores.

The EPA plan suggests dredging contaminated sediment from the heavily polluted bottom and capping the area with clean sand, which should aid in the restoration of the water’s natural ecosystem.

The proposed plan will also address raw sewage overflows into the canal, which occur during periods of heavy rain when the city’s overflow system cannot handle the large amounts of water. The proposal will not stop the overflows, but it should decrease the discharge by 58 to 74 percent.

The EPA will not be addressing the contaminated land alongside the canal. They have deferred action on it to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. 

The proposal will be open for public comment until March 28, 2013. The EPA will also hold public meetings to discuss the proposed plan—the first of which is on Jan. 23, 2013, at 7:00 p.m. at Public School 58 (the Carroll School), 330 Smith Street, Brooklyn. The second will be on Jan. 24, 2013, at 7:00 p.m. at the Joseph Miccio Community Center, 110 W. Ninth St., Brooklyn.

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