Update on Gowanus Canal flooding issues

Update on Gowanus Canal flooding issues

A number of constituents have reached out to my office regarding flooding of the Gowanus Canal. The Canal breached its banks in many places at high tide this morning. In all likelihood, it will flood significantly higher at high tide tonight (around 8:30 PM, as the storm is reaching its worst) and possibly tomorrow morning (around 9:00 AM).

I have communicated with EPA Region 2 Administrator Judith Enck and NYC Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Carter Strickland. Thanks to both of them for making the time, and communicating quickly (with each other, and with me) about our concerns at the canal.

During the storm, stay out of Zone A near the canal. It will very likely flood again, with a high tide anticipated of 6 – 11 feet above normal. Everyone in Zone A should already have evacuated. In general, everyone who is not an emergency worker should stay inside tonight.

As the floodwaters recede – this should be obvious – do not touch standing water in the area near the Gowanus Canal, or any sediment or debris left by Gowanus flood-waters.

After the storm, the EPA and DEP are committed to work together conduct any sampling needed to address potential issues of toxicity created by the flooding.

My office (and other elected officials) will also be available after the storm to help assist in coordination around post-storm cleanup issues. You can report any hurricane related problems to my office on my website. Of course, call 911 for any emergencies.

This storm is a stark reminder -- among many other things (like our many blessings, the importance of preparedness, and the need to take climate change seriously) -- of why the Gowanus Canal cleanup, as well as long-term infrastructure and planning decisions there, are so important.

But for the duration of the storm, the best thing you can do is stay in your home. After it passes, we will of course -- as New Yorkers do -- rise to the challenge of working together so that our community emerges stronger than ever.