Thursday, January 3, 2013

New Gowanus EPA Cleanup Plan Calls for Armor, Tanks

Photo: Dept. of City Planning
The Environmental Protection Agency released last Thursday a new half-billion dollar plan to clean up the Gowanus Canal, lay down cement and "armor" layers to cap contaminated sections, and install 3 - 8 million gallon retention tanks to prevent raw sewage from overflowing during storms.

The EPA will accept public comments on its proposed plan until March 28, 2013. Public meetings will take place on January 23 at 7 p.m. at Public School 58 (the Carroll School), 330 Smith Street, Brooklyn and on January 24 at 7 p.m. at the Joseph Miccio Community Center, 110 West 9th Street, to discuss the proposed plan and answer questions.

Judith A. Enck, EPA Regional Administrator, encouraged residents to attend one of the meetings.

The EPA is proposing to dredge approximately almost 600,000 cubic yards of highly contaminated sediment. In some areas where the sediment is contaminated with liquid coal tar, the agency is proposing to mix the sediment with concrete, then cover it with multiple layers of other material.

In other sections, the canal will be capped with an "armor" layer and topped with a layer of sand to help restore habitat.

In 2010, the Gowanus Canal was added to the Superfund list of the nation’s most contaminated hazardous waste sites.

More than a dozen contaminants, including PAHs, PCBs and heavy metals were found at high levels in the sediment in the Gowanus Canal -- but consumption of fish from the canal continues to this day, according to EPA.

For information on how to comment, visit the EPA website.

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