Brit Liggett

Brooklyn's Gowanus Canal Gets Superfund Status

by , 03/04/10

gowanus canal, superfund site, superfund, EPA, environmental protection agency, toxic waste, toxic, pollution, industrial pollution, national grid, new york, new york city, brooklyn, canal

The EPA announced this week the addition of 10 hazardous waste sites to the National Priorities List (NPL) of Superfund sites. One of the sites added to the NPL is the super-famous and now Superfunded Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn, New York. The inner-city canal, once home to booming industry is now classified as one of the most toxic waterways in the country. Amidst a scuffle between Mayor Bloomberg’s plan to clean-up the waterway without the Superfund stamp, developers’ desire for it to be left alone, and activists who want to return it to its natural state, the national government swept in to save it.

gowanus canal, superfund site, superfund, EPA, environmental protection agency, toxic waste, toxic, pollution, industrial pollution, national grid, new york, new york city, brooklyn, canal

The Gowanus Canal was built in the 19th century to link industry along its banks to New York Harbor. For years factories along its banks dumped raw sewage, chemicals and garbage into the water without reprimand. The canal is home to no known wildlife — it’s oxygen levels actually can’t support life, although it does boast such residents as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, heavy metals, pesticides, PCBs, and volatile organic contaminants. The canal is known to most New Yorkers as a smelly toxic mess, though in recent years activists have been trying to give it a better name.

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5 Comments

  1. NYC Mayor Bloomberg Ann... October 1, 2010 at 3:31 pm

    [...] their fair share of brownfields, and currently there’s two superfund sites in Brooklyn, the Gowanus Canal and Newton Creek. One of the problems the city must get around is its antiquated water system, [...]

  2. Gowanus Canal Mud To Be... September 10, 2010 at 10:44 am

    [...] vitrification process is as environmentally friendly as possible. Due to the toxic content of the canal mud, a filter is even used to catch emissions that would be created from heating the [...]

  3. Gowanus Canal in New Yo... July 20, 2010 at 3:31 pm

    [...] long used as an industrial dumping ground for the factories that line its sides. Now the canal is a Superfund site — a site designated by the EPA as being harmful to the people and environment it borders [...]

  4. Green-Roofed Eco City R... July 1, 2010 at 12:25 pm

    [...] the design of the water-centered development, which would create an artificial channel off the main canal. This new channel is the main axis around which the development sits and leads directly into the [...]

  5. Kristi Bernick March 5, 2010 at 11:00 am

    I hope they start cleaning soon! Gowanus is a wonderful area and there are such great advantages to a canal…if only we could use it. Assuming the canal gets clean I know there are plenty of proposals for renovation in the area that allows landscape to be a driving force. Industrial architecture neighborhood meets green architecture renovation…can you imagine the wonderland?!

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