Aging Sewer Systems Will Contaminate Gowanus Canal Even After Clean-Up, Says EPA

The expensive federal dredging of the canal might be pointless without a sewer system upgrade.

The Environmental Protection Agency says that the is pointless if the sewer system is not upgraded, according to The Brooklyn Paper.

Elias Rodriguez, spokesman for the EPA, told The Paper that "there's no real point of dredging if you don't get at the sources of contamination."

The EPA revealed their draft proposal to clean the canal on Tuesday, January 3rd. The plan includes dredging five to ten feet deep into the bottom of the canal in order to remove all of the coal tar sludge and then adding three protective layers to prevent any further contamination bubbling up from the bed of hard sediment. The proposal would cost the agency somewhere between $351 to $456 million. 

While the EPA has asked the city to assist with sewer overhaul, city officials say that all environmental obligations have been met.

Farrel Sklerov, a spokesman for the Department of Environmental Protection said in a statement, “The evidence clearly indicates that the primary sources are the former industrial plants on the canal, and not ongoing sewer overflows."

According to a recent study by the EPA, this is not the case. The study revealed that the combined sewer overflow contains toxic chemicals, metals, and pesticides which are polluting the canal.

Eric McClure January 13, 2012 at 03:40 PM
Right, 'cause nobody minds the occasional tidal wave of human excrement: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HzWOOqPAEgs


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