The Gowanus CAG Outreach Committee met on Thursday, April 14, 2016, with discussion focused on continuing development of the CAG’s Communications Plan.

CAG members present: Stefan Doerring, Katia Kelly, Eric McClure, Maryann Young.

Guests: Terri Thomson, National Grid

Review of Outstanding Action Items

The group reviewed the action items from the March meeting.  Eric McClure reported that he wasn’t able to reach a solution for including a Google Alert-based RSS feed on the CAG home page, but that Josh Skaller, who created the  website, believes it would be relatively easy to do and is willing to help with that.  Josh also is willing to update the “Join the CAG” form that’s linked from the home page, and Eric will send him the full form so that he can revise the form on the site.

Eric reported that he had posted the Land Use Committee resolution on CSO tank siting approved at the March CAG meeting to the website, but had not received the Water Quality/Technical Committee resolution requesting that the EPA establish a comment period once a decision is made on the location of the tanks.  Maryann responded that she had sent the resolution to Doug Sarno, and shared it via email with Eric (it has subsequently been posted to the website).

The Outreach Committee identified several items to bring to the full CAG for approval at the April general meeting. Read more »

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the City of New York have reached a proposed agreement on the siting of two sewer and storm water retention tanks intended to reduce combined sewer overflows into the Gowanus Canal.

In addition, the EPA announced that it will hold a public meeting about the agreement on April 25 at 6:30 p.m. at P.S. 32, at 317 Hoyt Street in Gowanus, and will accept public comments on the proposed tank siting until May 31, 2016. Comments can be made in person at the public meeting or mailed or emailed to:

Walter Mugdan, U.S. EPA Superfund Director
290 Broadway, Floor 19
New York, N.Y., 10007
mugdan.walter@epa.gov

The full press release issued today by the EPA is below. You can read the full draft Settlement Agreement between the EPA and New York City here.


EPA Proposes Locations for Two Sewage Retention Tanks as Part of Gowanus Canal Cleanup
Public Encouraged to Provide Comments

Contact: Elias Rodriguez, (212) 637-3664, rodriguez.elias@epa.gov

(New York, N.Y. – April 14, 2016) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced a proposed agreement with the City of New York that establishes the location for two sewage and storm water retention tanks, included as part of the cleanup for the Gowanus Canal Superfund Site. The agreement sets out a schedule for the design of the larger of the two tanks. It also requires New York City to undertake activities to prepare that location for the tank installation, and to pay EPA oversight costs. Prior to finalizing the agreement with New York City, the EPA is accepting public comments. The proposed administrative settlement agreement and order released today allows New York City to locate an eight million gallon retention tank in New York City’s preferred location, known as the “Head-of-Canal” location, but it also holds the city to a strict schedule. The EPA can require New York City to place the tank in the Thomas Greene Park location instead, if certain activities do not occur on schedule, including if New York City is not able to acquire the land at the Head-of-Canal location within approximately four years. The EPA is accepting public input on the work contained in the proposed agreement for the next 30 days and will have a public meeting on April 25 to discuss the work being secured under the agreement.

Read more »

At its March, 2016 general meeting, the Gowanus Canal Community Advisory Group passed the following resolution, originally proposed by the CAG’s Water Quality/Technical Committee, requesting a 30-day public comment period once the EPA and New York City on the siting of a CSO retention tank and related facilities at the north end of the Gowanus Canal:

The CAG believes that pending EPA decisions may effectively change the Record of Decision. Such a potential deviation warrants the establishment of an official Public Comment Period.

The CAG hereby resolves and requests that the EPA include a Public Comment Period as part of any CSO tank agreements made with New York City, and for any impending actions affecting remediation plans for the upland Fulton MGP site.

In response to the CAG’s resolution, the EPA has agreed to establish a 30-day comment period, as outlined in the agreement on siting of CSO retention tanks that it announced on April 14, 2016, and communicated to the CAG in a letter from EPA Region 2 Emergency & Remedial Response Division Director Walter Mugdan dated April 13, 2016. You can read that correspondence in its entirety here.

To see past resolutions passed by the Gowanus Canal Community Advisory Group, click here.

The Gowanus Canal Community Advisory Group’s Land Use Committee met on Tuesday, March 1, 2016, in the offices of the Gowanus Canal Conservancy at 543 Union Street.

CAG Members present: David Briggs, Marlene Donnelly, Rafael Gomez de Luna, Katia Kelly, Andrea Parker, Debra Scotto, Mark Shames, Maryann Young

Guests: April Dubison, National Grid

Item 1

There was a brief discussion about the history of the Committee and its purpose. Originally, it was intended to focus on water quality and on whether real estate prices would drop due to the Superfund clean up.

Action

None required.

Item 2

Andrea Parker expressed concern that a Department of Sanitation project is scheduled to begin on the Salt Lot on May 1 and may directly impact the installation of the retention tank project that has been presented by the Environmental Protection Agency [EPA] at community meetings.

Action

The Gowanus Canal Conservancy [GCC] is reaching out to Councilmember Brad Lander for information. Additionally, the Committee could request that the EPA issue a statement that demands the New York City Department of Environmental Protection [DEP] start the retention tank project on the Salt Lot. Read more »

Join the Gowanus Canal Community Advisory Group’s Outreach Committee for its monthly meeting on Thursday, April 14, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., at the Fifth Avenue Committee, 621 Degraw Street, in Gowanus.

The Committee will be continuing its work on the formulation of an overall communications plan for the CAG. All Gowanus CAG meetings are open to the public.

At its March, 2016 general meeting, the Gowanus Canal Community Advisory Group passed the following resolution, originally proposed by the CAG’s Land Use Committee, on the proposed siting of the retention tank, head house, and related facilities at the north end of the Gowanus Canal.

Whereas the United States Environmental Protection Agency [EPA] and the New York City Department of Environmental Protection [DEP] are currently discussing the siting of a retention tank, head house, and related facilities [the Facilities] at one or more of the following properties: 234 Butler Street, 242 Nevins Street, the Thomas Greene Park, or other directly adjacent properties;

Read more »

Gowanus Canal Community Advisory Group Meeting
Tuesday, February 23, 2016
Mary Star of the Sea Senior Apartments, 41 1st Street, Carroll Gardens

EPA Update

The EPA was not present at the meeting. No decision yet as to siting of the CSO retention tanks.

CAG Status and Decisions to Date

Doug Sarno reviewed the CAG strategic decisions made to date.

Facilitation Team

The Facilitation Committee will meet once a month for half an hour before the start of the general meeting. The main job is to help set the agenda by making sure all committees’ issues are brought to the table. The Facilitation Committee will review the draft agenda and make decisions about shifting meetings and canceling as necessary. When posting on the website is not clear cut, they will make decisions about how that will work. Each committee will have a liaison to the Facilitation Committee.

Committees

The charter says that all members must belong to at least one committee; attendance rules for committees are the same as full meeting rules but committees have more flexibility in enforcing them. We need to get all meetings on a regular schedule for 2016.

The Real Estate committee has been renamed the Land Use committee, so we now have four operating committees, along with the Admin committee.

CAG Member: You want as much participation on a committee as you can get so if you pick one day, you’re excluding people.

CAG Member: Why do some people feel they have to be on multiple committees? It’s a sign of distrust. Committees should keep the same date for meetings for consistency.

CAG Member: We need to have a calendar of all committee meetings for 2016 so that meetings don’t get moved around all the time.

Doug pointed out that a shared night could potentially serve two committees. We can reserve one room for one night to accommodate multiple committees to be more efficient.

Read more »

Gowanus Canal Community Advisory Group Meeting
Tuesday, January 19, 2016
P.S. 58 Auditorium, 330 Smith Street, Brooklyn, NY 11231

EPA Update

Report from Walter Mugdan, Director, Emergency and Remedial Response Division, EPA Region 2

  • EPA expects to have a decision on the tanks location in the February/March timeframe
  • Two CSO retention tanks are required by the ROD. The city was under obligation to come up with a siting study and submit to EPA by June 30, 2015.
    • The two top-rated sites are Thomas Greene Park (swimming pool) and the head of canal location, which consists of the two parcels on the east side of the canal, each assigned a roman numeral by the ROD: VI, VII
    • The city proposed the canal-side site, but the ROD selected the park site due to easier site acquisition, permitting, and construction costs
    • The park site is a major source of coal tar contamination. The pool will have to be dismantled (and an interim pool provided) to allow cleanup.
    • NYS DEC issued ROD for the Fulton MGP site, directly under the swimming pool.

Read more »

The Gowanus CAG Outreach Committee met on, Wednesday, March 16, 2016, with discussion focused on development of the CAG’s Communications Plan.

CAG Members present: Sabine Aronowsky, Michelle de la Uz, Rafael Gomez de Luna, Katia Kelly, Eric McClure, Maria Pagano, Maryann Young

Guests: April Dubison, National Grid

Website

All third-party articles have been removed from the CAG homepage.  In order to keep the site fresh, however, it’s important for the CAG to generate as much original content as possible.

All minutes through September have been posted to the site.  Still awaiting October, December and January minutes, and February minutes will be reviewed and approved at the March CAG meeting.

There are two or three resolutions in the works at the Committee level, and once approved, they will be posted to the website.  All future posts of resolutions should include a link to previously passed CAG resolutions for easy reference.

The Committee discussed some Facilitation Team exchanges about posting relevant news articles to the website, but doing so would likely necessitate a burdensome site redesign.  If someone would like to take on that responsibility, that would be great, but it would be simpler to explore alternatives to a full redesign, at least in the near term.

Read more »