Final cleanup plan for the Gowanus Canal

Final cleanup plan for the Gowanus Canal

It’s a big moment for Gowanus. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has released its final Superfund cleanup plan for the Gowanus Canal

I long believed that Superfund designation was the right move for the Gowanus – to ensure that it got the time and focus it needed. And with this plan, we have taken a major step forward toward a safe, vibrant, and sustainable Gowanus Canal.

Here are some of the highlights from the EPA’s plan:

  • Removal of contaminated sediment and capping of dredged areas
  • Reduction of sewage overflows that pollute the canal by 54 to 78% (through the installation of retention tanks) and reduction of other land-based sources of contamination that would compromise the canal
  • Removal of contaminated material from the 1st Street turning basin and restoration of approximately 475’ of the former basin
  • Disposal of the least contaminated sediment at a facility outside the area rather than building a disposal facility in the water near Red Hook
  • The estimated cost of the current plan is $506 million and cleanup is expected to take 8 to 10 years

We got this far thanks to the tireless efforts of the EPA team, their partners in government – including Congresswoman Velázquez – and many local advocates. There are important decisions that will need to be made during the upcoming design phase, and I look forward to continuing to work closely together to plan for the best possible cleanup.

Building on the Superfund plan, we must move forward with a developing a comprehensive plan for the blocks around the Gowanus Canal. Following Superstorm Sandy, when the canal flooded surrounding homes and businesses, it is clear that we cannot approach the future of this neighborhood site by site. I’ll be in touch in the coming weeks about how we can work together to create a model for comprehensive planning in low-laying areas – one that prepares us for climate change and works for our community.