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.

At its June 22, 2021 general meeting, the Gowanus Canal Community Advisory Group passed the following resolution in support of EPA’s Administrative Order of March 29, 2021.

The resolution reads as follows:

Resolved:
In order for the Gowanus Canal Community Advisory Group (CAG) to consider any rezoning within the Gowanus canal watershed, the City of New York must be in full compliance of EPA’s Administrative Order dated March 29, 2021, and fully meet the requirements set forth in the remedy selected in EPA’s September 27, 2013, Record of Decision (“ROD”) for the Gowanus Canal Superfund Site. As stated in the ROD, “The Portion of the Remedial Action (“RA”) to be implemented pursuant to EPA’s Administrative Order includes the construction and operation of two Combined Sewer Overflow (“CSO”) retention tanks (“CSO Tanks”) to control contaminated solid discharges and requests to assure compliance with the Clean Water Act.” Without meeting these critical infrastructure requirements there will be an adverse impact on EPA’s Superfund remedy, as well as the health and safety of current and future residents of the Gowanus Canal and neighboring areas.

Background:
The Gowanus Canal CAG has been advocating for coordination between NYCDEP and NYCDCP as affirmed in the May 2019 resolution calling for greater coordination between the New York City Department of City Planning and the New York City Department of Environmental Protection by stating, “As the proposed Gowanus neighborhood rezoning could impact the Superfund process and remedy through increased loading of contaminated CSO solids in the Canal, the Gowanus CAG hereby requests that the Department of City Planning (NYCDCP) and Department of Environmental Protection (NYCDEP) work closely together to coordinate mitigation of negative impacts. To ensure agency compliance, we further request regular updates on coordination efforts by providing written answers to questions unaddressed at the March 26, 2019 general CAG meeting.”

In addition the November 2020 resolution, Support of EPA Letter Regarding Gowanus Superfund ROD and Gowanus Rezoning, states “The Gowanus Canal Community Advisory Group (CAG) strongly supports the position EPA states in its October 27th letter to the NYCDEP and NYCDCP regarding the proposed rezoning of the land surrounding the banks of Gowanus Canal, that any rezoning impacting the Canal must proceed in a manner that is protective of human health and the environment, as envisioned in EPA’s Canal remedy and affirmed in the 2013 Gowanus Canal Record of Decision (“ROD”).”

Since the City of New York has been in noncompliance with EPA’s Administrative Order, the Clean Water Act, and the agreed upon Gowanus Canal Record of Decision (“ROD”) and has not responded to the above mentioned CAG resolutions, the CAG cannot support any rezoning that would have an adverse impact on EPA’s Superfund work, as well as the health and safety of the area’s residents.

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

At its June 22, 2021 general meeting, the Gowanus Canal Community Advisory Group passed the following resolution regarding the process underlying and the design of the planned Gowanus Canal Owls Head CSO facility.

The resolution reads as follows:

Resolved:
In recognition of the current ULURP (Uniform Land Use Review Procedure) underway for the Site Selection and Acquisition of property by the City and change to the City Map to facilitate a new combined sewer overflow (CSO) facility (aka “Gowanus Canal CSO Facility – Owls Head”) that is being sought by the City adjacent to the Gowanus Canal west of 2nd Avenue and north of the 6th Street Turning Basin in Gowanus, Community District 6, Brooklyn, the CAG requests the following:

  • Conduct an in-person public input session with additional Zoom access in partnership with the Gowanus CAG as soon as possible to facilitate public input prior to finalization of site, tank, and headhouse design and an initial presentation of the project design to the community, supported by the CAG’s Resolution, “Requesting Public Engagement Regarding Mid-Canal CSO Tank Design” dated July 2020. Following this, and taking community feedback into account, additional presentations will be made at four key milestones: 100% schematic design, 100% design development, 100% bid documents, and documents issued for construction;

Background:
Each CSO retention tank facility offers the city and community a rare opportunity to leverage critical urban infrastructure to improve our environment while ensuring minimal disruption to local stakeholders. An integrated design approach with clear community input that improves canal access and egress, restores tidal estuarine ecology including habitat for key marine and bird species, and diverts harmful contaminants from the waterway is a benefit to the community and city.

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