Gowanus Canal

Given SuperFund status by the EPA, the Gowanus Canal can finally begin its clean up after its famously filthy history.  While the Bloomberg Administration and the EPA disagree on the effectiveness of Superfund Status, the canal has gotten new attention as a result and will have to be addressed.

MIREYA NAVARRO of .The New York Times reports that the federal Environmental Protection Agency announced Tuesday that it was designating the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn a contaminated Superfund site, paving the way for a cleanup of the decades of pollution there.

Built in the 19th century, the Gowanus evolved into a busy industrial waterway for oil refineries, chemical plants, tanneries, manufactured gas plants and other heavy industry operating along its banks. It was a repository for raw sewage and runoff for over a century.

Most of that flow has been halted, and the 100-foot-wide canal is now used for both commercial and recreational purposes by the neighborhoods bordering it, including Park Slope, Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens and Red Hook. The canal empties into New York Harbor.

The city envisioned new residential and commercial uses along the canal and had already committed funds to upgrades of its sewage system to prevent further contamination. It proposed an alternative cleanup approach that the E.P.A. has sometimes used that would allow the responsible parties to voluntarily pay for the cleanup

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