Brooklyn's 1.8-mile-long Gowanus Canal is at once one of New York's most toxic environments and the centerpiece of what could one day become one of the city's most sought after neighborhoods. Klayko reviews the $500 million plan outlined by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in collaboration with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), that will facilitate this transformation. The "dual approach", would "dredge and cap the canal bottom and improve the city’s combined sewer overflow (CSO) problem that dumps raw sewage and other contaminants into the canal during heavy rainfall."
"To remove existing contaminants deposited by 150 years of industrial use from factories, tanneries, and refineries, ten feet of sediment from two heavily contaminated portions of the canal will be removed and capped with a mix of concrete, clay, and sand," explains Klayko. "A less-contaminated segment will also be dredged and capped with sand."
"Two underground retention basins costing $78 million are proposed at two of the worst CSO sites, to store sewage until nearby water treatment facilities can handle it. Smaller-scale improvements, including green storm-water management, to capture and hold rainwater on surrounding streets, and an environmental restoration project, the Gowanus Canal Sponge Park, designed by Brooklyn-based dlandstudio and funded by city and federal grants, will also help reduce storm-water discharges."