New Public Park 'Sponges' Up Contaminants

<p>Landscape architecture firm dlandstudio is taking the stench out of the Gowanus Canal by building a new public park that is beautiful as well as functional.</p>
July 7, 2008, 8am PDT | Tim Halbur
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"Brooklyn's Gowanus Canal has long been known as a stinky body of liquid contaminants, but a landscape architecture design firm and community advocates are aiming to transform its shores into a "sponge" park between the Third Street and Carroll Street bridges.

The eco-friendly public park would reduce contaminants flowing into the canal by putting the water through a sponge system. Rainwater would be absorbed by the plants, reducing the amount of storm water entering the sewer system.

The use of different plants, some of which can filter heavy metals out of contaminated water, and other aquatic organisms that absorb or break down heavy metals and toxins would create a natural filtering system for the canal and make it an aesthetically pleasing public park.

'The Gowanus Canal is a nearly forgotten piece of New York that is gradually becoming part of people's mental maps and is famous for having been an environmentally awful place,' the vice chairman of the Gowanus Canal Conservancy, John Muir, said. 'Now it is being slowly but progressively renewed and cleaned up, and there's great interest in redevelopment of the neighborhood as a place for people to live.'"

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Published on Thursday, July 3, 2008 in The New York Sun
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