EPA releases details of Gowanus Canal cleanup
by Andrew Pavia
Jan 09, 2013 | 617 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Environmental Protection Agency announced a plan to clean up the Gowanus Canal, which has been declared a Superfund site.

The public will have until March 28 to comment on the plan, and can learn more at two public meetings. The first will take place on January 23 at 7 p.m. at Public School 48, 330 Smith Street. The second will take place at 7 p.m. at Joseph Miccio Community Center, 110 West 9th Street.

The EPA has determined that the canal contains a dozen contaminants that includes heavy metals such as mercury, lead and copper, chemicals that are found during the incomplete burning of coal and gas, and coolants and lubricants that were banded in 1979.

“The proposed cleanup plan for the Gowanus Canal will make essential progress in removing toxic containments from this heavily polluted and battered waterway, said Judith A. Eneck, EPA Regional Administrator. “Our overall goal is to reduce pollution and protect the health of people who live and work in this community.”

The EPA has broken up the canal into three regions based on location and specific cleanup requirements. The first segment runs from the top of the canal to 3rd Street; the second from 3rd Street to just south of the Hamilton Avenue Bridge; and the third from the bridge to the mouth of the canal.

Of the three areas, the second segment has been determined to be the most heavily contaminated, while the third is the least contaminated.

At this time the EPA is proposing to dredge 307,000 cubic yards of contaminated sediment, which will be transported to an off-site disposal facility, where it will be treated.

Following the dredging process, the EPA plans to stabilize the area with multiple layers of clean material made of a specific type of clay to remove some of the harmful chemicals in the water. Once the water is cleaned, the EPA will place clean sand on top of the layer of clay to restore the canal bottom as a habitat.

The proposed cleanup will cost an estimated $467 to $504 million. The EPA did not state when it would begin this cleaning process.

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