New York

Gowanus Canal Cleanup Proposals Announced

The toxic waste that is Gowanus Canal has been brewing for over a century, becoming one of the most hazardous bodies of water in Brooklyn, and possibly, New York. New federal plans intend to transform it within the next ten years, with hopes of it becoming a healthy urban waterway.

This past week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced a number of proposals to clean up the 1.8 mile canal. The top options for doing so would cost between $351 million to $456 million.

The E.P.A.’s most feasible plans were met with the hesitant enthusiasm of community leaders and real estate developers, though New York officials do not share the neighborhood’s excitement. The E.P.A.’s report was honest, and effectively assessed the options available, though City Hall is now fighting the claim that New York is responsible for the costs of fixing the sewage systems that run into the waterway.

“We don’t want to require hundreds of millions of dollars to be spent when you still have these other contaminations” explained Judith A. Enck, regional administrator for E.P.A. “We are marching forward and fully expect the city’s cooperation on the sewage issue.”

The city’s Department of Environmental Protection, however, claims that the main source of pollutants in the canal are former industrial plants, not sewage. Spokesman Farrell Sklerov said New York is already spending $180 million to clean up the water in the waterway.
A public meeting discussion the cleanup solutions will be held on Jan 24th at the Carroll Garden.


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)