Cleaning Up the Gowanus Canal

compost-419261_640Many have been working tirelessly to find solutions for the long-polluted waterway along the Gowanus Canal. One organization, the Gowanus Canal Conservancy, is now working with the Department of Sanitation to build a facility on Second Avenue near the canal. The intention is that food scraps and other organic waste will be turned into garden compost.

The location for this plan is owned by the Department of Sanitation and is currently an empty lot that is used to store salt and sand to spread on city streets in the winter. While some compositing has already been occurring on this plot, the new plans will quadruple the size of the operation and make it more efficient, as reported by conservancy executive director Andrea Parker. As she said, “It will mean that we can process a whole lot more food scraps and provide a lot more compost for street trees in the neighborhood.”

The new facility will bring the many volunteers in from the cold with an open-air shelter design and it will use solar panels to power light the location. They will also have something called “bioswales” which are small plots with plants that absorb rainwater during storms.

The funding for the project includes a $1.5 million in grants from the state Department of Environmental Conservation and $105,000 from City Councilman Brad Lander’s participatory budgeting program.


James Allenby is the editor of Gowanus Lounge, bringing to his position a vast background on New York, and especially Brooklyn history, culture and lifestyle. Born and bred in the heart of "the County of Kings" James Allenby knows what it means to be a Brooklynite, and imparts this meaning at all times to his readers. Contact James at info(at)gowanuslounge.com.