The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) will hold informational briefings about the forthcoming Unified Stormwater Rule (USWR) on Monday, December 20th, at 4 p.m., and again on Tuesday, January 4th, at 10 a.m.

The proposed Unified Stormwater Rule amendments are now available for public review and comment. This rule includes amendments to Chapter 31 and Chapter 19 of the Admin Code, changing requirements for how stormwater is managed on all new and redevelopment sites that discharge to City sewers.  The rule includes a new Stormwater Manual to provide guidance for permit applicants.

The NYC Stormwater Manual is also available for review and comment. Comments and questions on the draft rules and the NYC Stormwater Manual can be submitted to nycrules@dep.nyc.gov.

If you’re interested in participating in the briefings, click on one of the dates below to be taken to the corresponding Eventbrite registration page.

Monday, December 20th at 4:00 p.m.

Tuesday, January 4th at 10:00 a.m.

At its November 30, 2021 general meeting, the Gowanus Canal Community Advisory Group passed the following resolution requesting that the EPA and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation take immediate action to prevent new pathogen loading in the waters of the Gowanus Canal by placing a moratorium on all new sewer hookups in the Gowanus sewer-shed.

The resolution reads as follows:

RE: Current regulatory limbo between EPA and DEC Water Quality Standards (WQS) for pathogen levels permitted in class “SD” waters of New York State, and the multi-party legal actions on this matter pending before the courts, as it affects the current regulation of Gowanus Canal water.

Background: EPA noted in the November 8th Water Quality/Technical Committee special meeting with EPA Clean Water Division members that the USEPA water standard for the Gowanus Canal and all class SD waters of the State of New York, has been a contact recreation water standard adopted by the EPA in 2015. We further learned:

  • USEPA was sued by Riverkeeper/Pace in 2017 under the APA for failure to act on reviewing and approving the new WQS.
  • USEPA completed WQS review in March of 2018 and disapproved NYS WQS for pathogens as not protective of a primary contact designated use EPA applied in 2015.
  • NYSDEC did not resolve the USEPA disapproval in promulgating new WQS, so USEPA is now in the process of doing so; results expected in July of 2022.
  • Given the USEPA disapproval of the state pathogen WQS, the NYS criterion used prior to the EPA 2015 rule is being allowed to stand even as the EPA affirms standing by the 2015 standards and is expected to release EPA pathogen standards in 2022.
  • This means the Upper Gowanus remains designated SD which has no pathogen standard applied, and that all current planning under the City’s rezoning EIS is based upon WQS which are currently under dispute and which the EPA has stated they do not uphold.
  • And given the pathogen loads in Gowanus routinely run beyond contact-recreation-use standards as seen in this year of weekly citizen science data documented in Gowanus water by Riverkeeper.

The Members of the Gowanus CAG here Resolve:

Given the current regulatory limbo, the Gowanus CAG requests that USEPA and NYSDEC take immediate action to prevent new pathogen loading in the waters of the Gowanus by placing a moratorium on all new sewer-hookup in the Gowanus sewer-shed.

The moratorium should stay in place until:

–all disputes before the courts are resolved,
–the EPA releases their Clean Water Standards for pathogens for 2022
–and enforcement policies are in place to ensure the Federal Clean Water Law is properly applied in waters of the Gowanus Canal.

Click here to see a PDF version of the complete resolution.

The Gowanus Canal Community Advisory Group’s Admin Committee met via Zoom conference on Tuesday, November 23rd, at 10:00 a.m.

Committee members attending:
Jerry Armer
Katia Kelly
Louis Kleinman
Margaret Maugenest
Rita Miller

Discussed survey results which show no representation for the NYCHA houses nor representation for the wider Red Hook Community. Suggesting that Outreach make attempts to seek more participation; also suggesting that perhaps CAG member George Fiala could help get the word out in the community as well.

Some members did not list a committee affiliation. These include:

Joseph Alexiou
Nathan Elbogen/Ariel Krasnow – The Old American Can Factory
Ashley Privett

These members should choose a committee and attend two meetings in a row to establish membership.

Two members have not responded to repeated requests to complete the survey:

Jennifer Jones
Mike Song

Diane Buxbaum (At-Large) indicated verbally that she still wishes to serve and lists her committees as Archaeology and Water Quality.

Admin suggests removal of Ms. Jones and Mr. Song and will seek general CAG approval.

Admin also suggests that Doug clean up the CAG MEMBERS email list to include only active members.

Former members can be left on the wider contact list.

For next year, perhaps Doug could send out a notice to CAG members that a survey will be coming to them and to look out for it and respond. 

On November 3, 2021, US EPA Region 2 Superfund and Emergency Management Division Director Pat Evangelista responded to the Gowanus Canal Community Advisory Group’s resolution requesting a new site assessment of the former Citizens Manufactured Gas Plant site for a Hazard Ranking System evaluation and its potential inclusion on the National Priorities List.

The full letter is posted below, and can be downloaded here.

The Gowanus CAG’s Outreach Committee held a Zoom meeting on Monday, October 25th, at 12:30 p.m.

Outreach Committee members present:
Louis Kleinman
Eric McClure
Christine Petro

Other CAG members present: Michelle de la Uz
George Fiala
Linda LaViolette
Hildegaard Link
Susan Yung

EPA: Natalie Loney

Guest: Dan Wiley (District Director for Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez)

Agenda

• Review past Superfund Town Hall scopes and purpose (Nov 2017, May 2019)
• What are the questions Land Use has? What is within CAG scope?
• Discuss CAG capacity for planning and executing an event
• Considerations for event timing/scheduling
• Next Steps & Meeting Schedule

Read more »

At its September 28, 2021 general meeting, the Gowanus Canal Community Advisory Group passed the following resolution requesting that EPA conduct a new assessment of chemical contamination at the Citizens MGP site bordering the Gowanus Canal.

The resolution reads as follows:

Resolved:
In accordance with Section 105(d) of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, the Gowanus Canal Community Advisory Group (the CAG) requests USEPA Region 2 to undertake a revised assessment of chemical contamination present at and potentially being released from the entire former Citizens Manufactured Gas Plant (MGP) Site for a Hazard Ranking Score and potential inclusion on the National Priorities List (NPL) as a Federal Superfund site.

Be it further Resolved:
Although preliminary assessment has been conducted and various plans have been presented at different times to the Community regarding the cleanup, the CAG is dissatisfied with NYSDEC’s latest version of the Public Place property cleanup.

We believe that the current plan represents a significant downgrade in cleanup from the previous plan, and neither properly addresses nor satisfactorily remedies the contamination and toxicity at the former Citizens MGP Site for not only to the Gowanus Canal, but also to the community at large.

Since there are plans to develop the Public Place property into a densely populated housing complex and a school, the CAG considers the EPA the sole, appropriate agency to assess, score and truly rank the hazards this site presents. Our wish is that this site be added to the National Priorities List and remediated under the EPA Superfund Program.

Click here to see a PDF version of the complete resolution.

The Gowanus Canal Community Advisory Group’s Admin Committee met via Zoom conference on Tuesday, September 21st, at 10:30 a.m.

Committee members attending:
Jerry Armer
Katia Kelly
Louis Kleinman
Margaret Maugenest
Rita Miller

Other CAG members attending:
MaryAnn Young (CORD Alternate)

EPA:
Natalie Loney

Committee agreed to notify CAG members who never responded to last several surveys that their membership has been terminated but of course, they may reapply at any time. Will also remind organizational reps that they may provide another representative and an alternate. Emails to go out immediately.

Those members are: Karen Blondel (Red Hook Houses), Beverly Corbin (FUREE), Rafael Gomez (At Large), Betty Lester (Gowanus 4 Life).

The following members remain on the active list:
Joseph Alexiou, Paul Basile, Eymund Diegel, George Fiala, Triada Samaras

Committee acknowledges the resignations of:
Ben Jones and David Briggs,
and sadly, the passing of founding members Buddy Scotto and Linda Mariano.

Committee agreed to issue a new survey immediately with an RSVP date of October 22, 2021. Results will be announced at October General CAG meeting along with an updated membership list.

Post new survey results, and in the absence of representation of the three organizations above in mind, Admin will be suggesting that Outreach endeavor to remind organizations that their seats are always available, and to widen the CAG membership to include all of the community.

Read more »

In accordance with the Level 1 Archaeological Monitoring protocol outlined in the Cultural Resource Monitoring Plan for the Gowanus Canal Superfund cleanup, materials dredged from the canal are examined for possible archaeological and cultural significance. These include not only larger objects, but also dredged soft sediments that are placed directly into scows, floated by barge to the Clean Earth Claremont Facility in Jersey City, and screened over four-inch bars on a vibrating platform.

Items removed during the screening process are sorted by the Clean Earth operator, and anything of potential interest (possible artifacts or objects of local interest) is separated and photographed daily for specialists employed by Archaeology & Historic Resource Services (AHRS) to review. These items are then placed in a holding area for AHRS to inspect weekly.

The AHRS archaeologists provide reports of the items they analyze on an ongoing basis to the Gowanus Canal Environmental Remediation Trust (the group of parties responsible for the Superfund cleanup) and the EPA.

While most of what is dredged from the Gowanus Canal falls firmly in the junk category – think old tires, wooden pilings and chunks of concrete – some of the items are interesting. Please click on the links below to see the detailed reports, which contain photographs of noteworthy items, and which we update as new reports are received.

Gowanus Cultural Review Memo #1
Gowanus Cultural Review Memo #2
Gowanus Cultural Review Memo #3
Gowanus Cultural Review Memo #4 Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5
Gowanus Cultural Review Memo #5
Gowanus Cultural Review Memo #6
Gowanus Cultural Review Memo #7
Gowanus Cultural Review Memo #8 Part 1 | Part 2
Gowanus Cultural Review Memo #9
Gowanus Cultural Review Memo #10
Gowanus Cultural Review Memo #11
Gowanus Cultural Review Memo #12
Gowanus Cultural Review Memo #13
Gowanus Cultural Review Memo #15

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has completed the initial phase of dredging in the main channel of the Gowanus Canal north of the 3rd Street Bridge, removing about 35,000 cubic yards of contaminated material from the bed of the canal. Beginning in the fall, in situ stabilization will begin the process of capping the canal bed.

Read all about it in the EPA’s Community Update #2, embedded below, or click here to download a PDF.

Para obtener una versión en español, haga clic aquí.