The EPA has released plans for its proposed Gowanus Canal cleanup and are now asking for public feedback. From the December 27 press release:
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced a proposed cleanup plan for the Gowanus Canal that includes removing some of the contaminated sediment and capping dredged areas. The proposed plan also includes controls to prevent raw sewage overflows and other land-based sources of contamination from compromising the cleanup. The cost of the cleanup plan is expected to be between $467 and $504 million.
The cleanup project was spurred by the EPA’s addition of the Gowanus Canal to the Superfund National Priorities list in March of 2010. Testings on the canal waters have revealed high levels of over a dozen contaminants, including heavy metals like mercury, lead and copper. Years of discharges, stormwater runoff, and raw sewage overflows have also made it “one of the nation’s most extensively contaminated bodies of water.”
The plan (which you can download in full here) treats the canal in three segments. The first and second segments, running from the top of the canal to just south of the Hamilton Avenue Bridge, contain the most heavily-contaminated sediment. For these sections, the EPA proposes dredging 307,000 cubic yards of sediment, stabilizing the sediment where needed by mixing it with concrete, and then covering it with multiple layers of clean material to “restore the canal bottom as a habitat.” For the third segment, the EPA plans to dredge 281,000 cubic yards of contaminated sediment and then cap the area with clean sand.
The plan also calls for methods of significantly reducing sewer overflows into the canal, specifically the construction of more efficient waste-pumping systems. This will help to maintain the results of the cleanup.
The EPA will hold two public meetings to discuss the plan and answer questions:
• January 23, 2013 at 7:00 pm at PS 58 (330 Smith Street)
• January 24, 2013 at 7:00 pm at the NYCHA Miccio Community Center (110 West 9th Street)
The EPA will accept public comments on its proposed plan until March 28, 2013, which can be emailed to Christos Tsiamis at GowanusCanalComments.Region2@epa.gov.
Photo via Tom Giebel