At its February 22, 2022 general meeting, the Gowanus Canal Community Advisory Group passed the following resolution initiated by the Water Quality/Technical Committee requesting that the New York City Department of Environmental Protection cooperate with US Environmental Protection Agency mandates regarding sewer-separation projects.
The resolution reads as follows:
Re: Requesting NYC Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) cooperation with US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) mandates regarding proposed sewer separation projects that are protective of the Superfund remedy, allowing direct discharge of stormwater flows where feasible for further reduction of combined sewer overflow impacts (CSO) as a result of new development in the Gowanus neighborhood.
The Gowanus Canal Community Advisory Group (CAG) supports the EPA mandates outlined in paragraphs 73c (Stormwater Controls) and 73d (Separated Outfall Treatment Units) of the Executive Administrative Order (EAO) dated March 29, 2021, as affirmed in the June 2021 CAG resolution in support of EPA’s Administrative Order. The community sees benefits to allowing the direct discharge of stormwater flows where source-control measures for pollution control are in place, particularly at street-end sites along the Canal. Currently, most street ends drain downhill over land and flow directly into the Canal. If this stormwater is re-directed uphill into the already overburdened sewer infrastructure, it will lead to increased Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO). From a water quality standpoint, with appropriate source controls that pre-treat stormwater before entering the waterway, direct discharge of stormwater is far less polluting than CSO.
With regards to a recent proposal submitted for the Huntington Street End site on the Gowanus Canal, the developer proposes to separate stormwater and sanitary flows at the developer-owned site and adjacent street end with EPA approved source-control pollution prevention, a Vortex Separator, installed and maintained by the developer. DEP has denied the permit application and directed the developer to instead construct a combined system, which adds both new sanitary and street-end stormwater volumes to the constrained combined sewer main capacity.
The CAG requests that DEP cooperate with EPA and work with them to implement the recent separated street stormwater plans submitted by the developer at the Huntington Street End site as well as implementing solutions for direct discharge on similar sites along the Canal. The CAG further requests acknowledgement of receipt with regards to this correspondence. If DEP objects to the CAG request, we kindly ask that the Department provide clear justification or reason within a timely manner.
Click here to view a PDF version of the full resolution.