Gowanus Canal CAG Meeting
Tuesday, January 22, 2019
Mary Star of the Sea Senior Apartments, 41 1st Street
Doug Sarno opened the meeting at 6:35 p.m.
October meeting summary was approved. September summary still awaiting revisions from Marlene.
Christos Tsiamis, EPA Gowanus Canal Project Manager, presented the updates.
Happy to be here with you – there will be good tidings in terms of progress.
We have completed the 4th Street Basin pilot study, drawn the conclusions on how to proceed – which methods will be used to clean up the canal. Second, 95% design of the Fulton IRM Barrier – the barrier wall from the top of the canal to Union Street to prevent coal tar from coming into the canal and harming it. Completed the design and anticipate receiving 95% design by year end for 1st Street Turning Basin excavation. Right now from technical point of view by spring, we will be able to start the countdown of the clean up in months, not years.
The 4th Street Basin pilot project is complete and it is the first time in 150 years a portion of the canal has a clean bottom.
Two more things:
- The New York City Department of Design and Construction is about to grant approval to proceed with two larger-than-present storm water basins at 9th Street within days or weeks, and those would alleviate flooding, and at point of discharge, the water into the canal there would be treated.
- Happy to say all these objects that we fished out of the 4th Street Basin will be brought to Public Place – if they’re not already there – and from archaeologist reports, most of the materials are not of archaeological importance on a national level and not preservable for Superfund, but in conversing with the CAG, there is an interest in preserving it as an interest of the community. Tentatively, week of December 10 there will be a viewing by interested members of the CAG for those objects. Arrangements will have to be made by groups interested in obtaining or possessing those objects. Somewhere until the middle or end of January, they will be stored there and then have to be taken.
Brian Carr, EPA Site Attorney, noted that within the last month, the city has acquired the properties at the head of canal for the CSO storage tank. The design of a tank for the park is no longer required. The design for the clean up of the park is going to proceed. There should be schedules in the coming six months detailing how long the process will take, including the process and design of the temporary pool or pools. One of the benefits of the fact that the tank will not be in the park is that park clean up will happen faster, and happen in sections, so in the long run, the park will be out of commission for a shorter period of time, and the clean up of the park is a slightly secondary part to getting the Fulton Barrier wall constructed.
EPA Regional Administrator Pete Lopez
Pete Lopez is the Regional Administrator for EPA Region II, which includes New York, New Jersey, and Puerto Rico, and eight federally recognized Indian reservations. There is a team of dedicated folks to try to find the best response to legacy contamination as well as clean up CSOs.
[Full video of Administrator Lopez’s discussion with the CAG is available here.]
Administrator Lopez thanked the EPA Gowanus staff present: Natalie, Christos, Brian, Doug in Superfund, Elias, Chris Lyons, and Walter Mugdan, who has spent much of his life on sites like this in Region II. I forget the other location of where I have been here with Congresswoman Velázquez [that location was Wyckoff Gardens 11/16/2017]. Gratitude for the community, not an isolated group here. Acknowledges the city and groups – DCP and DEP – thanks to the PRP National Grid, with the New York State partners DEC and DOH. We are not just dealing with toxic remediation, but also the combined sewer overflows.