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April 2013   Administrative Committee’s comment to the EPA on the Proposed Plan

The Gowanus Canal Community Advisory Group, comprised of fifty plus (50+) members representing over thirty organizations and 20 non organizational members, wishes to thank our EPA Region 2 Team for their transparency, dedication and true to their word timeliness during these first phases of the Superfund process. You came to us faced with a Herculean task and we knew it. We are appreciative of your continued commitment to community and in particular to CAG involvement. We know that it was precisely this respectful collaborative spirit -the constant exchange of information, sharing of concerns, ideas, hopes and possibilities, which led us to the Proposed Plan before us today. 

We are in support of the Proposed Plan’s which: 
—cleans and caps the bottom of the Canal

—prevents recontamination from the uplands and

—effectively addresses the known toxic compounds contributed by the CSO’s at their source while simultaneously helping us get closer to our goal of CSO elimination in the Canal
 We move forward with confidence
In the knowledge that we have been heard.


April 2013 Outreach & Engagement Committee Resolution

Given the CAG’s charter to be inclusive of diverse stakeholders that make up the communities surrounding the Gowanus Canal, the CAG should be mindful of having broad and diverse CAG representation reflective of the socio-economic diversity in the communities immediately surrounding the Gowanus Canal and that the CAG meeting and committee meeting locations, and overall CAG communications be thoughtful and sensitive to this diversity.


April 2013  Water Quality & Technical Committee’s comment to the EPA on the Proposed Plan

As the Proposed Plan establishes methods for removal of contaminated sediments for the entire width and length of the canal, to the depth of native sediment, and has identified ways to prevent re-contamination and halt future toxic inputs; the Gowanus CAG supports the EPA Proposed Plan to clean the Gowanus Superfund site. The CAG looks forward to continued open discussions with the EPA as project design details are developed, and thanks the EPA for reaching out to the various communities and being responsive to their concerns.


April 2013   Historic Preservation & Commemoration Resolution to EPA

The Gowanus has a unique and complex history: as part of the New York harbor estuary, as a pre-industrial tidal mill pond site, as a Revolutionary War battlefield and burial grounds, and as an important transportation route in our nation’s early industrial history. It is a cultural landscape of local and national significance.

The CAG urges the consideration of the neighborhood’s entire history in making decisions concerning the Gowanus cleanup process and that steps be taken to actively commemorate the past. Specifically, attention should be given to the historic bridges, bulkheads, and buildings that remain. The CAG asks that the historic design width of the canal, 100 feet, be maintained as the minimum width, and that the historic design height of bulkheads be held as a maximum height for bulkhead or shoreline changes.


May 2012   Ecological Restoration Resolution to EPA

The Superfund cleanup should be consistent with and advance current and future plans for ecological restoration, shoreline softening, riparian buffers, expanded wetlands, habitat restoration, and increased public access pursuant to the goals of the Hudson-Raritan Estuary Restoration Plan and the community’s emerging vision for the waterway.  Specifically, contiguous steel or wooden bulkheads would not be compatible with the above -stated goals.


April 2012, CAG Resolution #2  Sediment Resolution to EPA:

The Gowanus Superfund Community Advisory Group fully supports the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in its finding that New York City’s Combined Sewer Overflows are a significant contributor of harmful sediment and Superfund regulated PAHs and metals to the canal. The CAG takes the position that the total elimination of CSOs into the Gowanus Canal is the only acceptable solution to the problem.

The CAG asks that the EPA, under their Superfund authority, take the necessary measures that will insure protection of the proposed remedy from ongoing CSO sediment solids deposits and the release of PAHs and other toxins.


March 2012, CAG Resolution #1 Water Quality Resolution to NYSDEC (Department of Environmental Conservation):

The Gowanus Superfund Community Advisory Group hereby resolves that the water of the Gowanus Canal be reclassified from its current industrial standard, which is designated Class-SD. Class-SD only mandates a minimal level of dissolved oxygen be maintained in the waters, but places no limit to levels of pathogens present in the waterway.

The CAG requests that the Gowanus Canal be given a water classification that is protective of its current recreational uses which includes contact recreation for families and children. A reclassification that imposes limits on pathogen levels, both coliform and enterococci bacteria, is necessary to insure that children and others are not exposed to unacceptable health risks, including dangerous diseases, due to a simple act of coming into contact with the water while recreating in, on, or at the canal.

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