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;

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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.

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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.

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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.

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The Gowanus Canal Community Advisory Group (CAG) has eight general meetings planned during the remainder of 2016. Join us for updates on the progress of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Superfund cleanup of the canal. Planned meeting dates are as follows:

-March 29
-April 26
-May 24
-June 28
-July 26
-September 27
-October 25
-November 29

There are no full CAG meetings planned for August or December.

CAG general meetings take place at the Mary Star of the Sea residences, at 41 1st Street in Carroll Gardens. All CAG meetings, including Committee meetings, are open to the public.

Gowanus Canal Community Advisory Group Meeting
Tuesday, September 22, 2015
41 1st Street, Brooklyn NY 11231, Mary Star of the Sea, Community Room

EPA UPDATE

Report from Christos Tsiamis, EPA Project Manager for the Gowanus Canal Cleanup

A meeting was held between the EPA, Congresswoman Velazquez, and concerned community members on Tuesday, September 15th to address the location of the retention tanks in the northern section of the canal. The ROD suggests that the Thomas Greene Park and Douglas and Degraw Pool site are potential locations for the storm water retention tanks.

The meeting was attended by Congresswoman Velazquez, Dan Wiley, other elected officials including Council Members Lander and Levin and staff, Assemblywoman Simon, State Senator Montgomery, Sabine Aronowsky from the Friends of Thomas Greene Park, Michelle De La Uz from FAC, John Brown from Warren Street Houses, Theresa Davis from FUREE, Ed Tyree from Gowanus Houses, Craig Hammerman from Community Board 6, attorneys from the New York Lawyers in the Public Interest, Friends of NY Parks, Maria Pagano from the Carroll Gardens Neighborhood Association, and Andrea Parker from the Gowanus Canal Conservancy. EPA administrators and the Gowanus EPA team were also present.

Representatives of Gowanus property owners also attended this meeting, distributing a letter communicating that if there was a discussion about their properties being involved in retention tank discussions, that they should have been included.

EPA reiterated its commitment to keeping all members of the community in mind when it comes to getting things done in the Gowanus neighborhood. The EPA has also made a commitment with regard to an accelerated timeline in getting the cleanup process done, and they intend to keep this promise and will make the decisions necessary. Balancing these considerations is an ongoing process. Read more »

Gowanus Canal Community Advisory Group Meeting
Tuesday, July 28, 2015
41 1st Street, Brooklyn NY 11231, Mary Star of the Sea, Community Room

EPA UPDATE

Bayside has entered into a bulkhead repair order. Harrison Fuel has entered into an “ability to pay” settlement. Natalie will be presenting on “Gowanus Canal: A Study In Community Involvement” at an upcoming conference, where CAG member Joseph Alexiou will also present.

In terms of the EPA decision regarding the location of the storm water retention tanks, the timeline remains general: late summer/early fall is the current projected timeframe for a decision.

National Grid also encourages the public to visit the website www.gowanussuperfund.com [note: the CAG makes no representation as to the accuracy of information contained on the linked website] which has up-to-date information regarding design work in the canal. Read more »

Gowanus Canal Community Advisory Group Meeting
Tuesday, June 30, 2015
41 1st Street, Brooklyn NY 11231, Mary Star of the Sea, Community Room

EPA UPDATE

Report from Christos Tsiamis, EPA Project Manager for the Gowanus Canal Cleanup

The EPA Pilot Study on the Canal ends on July 1, 2015.

EPA has met with National Grid and its contractors to advance the design for the remediation of the canal cleanup. The EPA has also met with NYC DEP’s Kevin Clark and his team. Both meetings were very productive. Design of the cap along the bottom of the canal and the in situ stabilization study for cleanup, which was applied at the 7th street basin and could be the basis for the rest of the remedy, is proceeding well.

In situ stabilization technology will keep the contaminants below the cap from de-stabilizing and overwhelming the cap that EPA will place along the bottom of the canal. The technology will help to prevent recontamination of canal waters from toxins leeching up from the sediment below. The technology must be studied before it is applied canal-wide, as it is not yet tested in these conditions and the correct concrete mixture must be identified. The in situ stabilization pilot effort has been very successful, and represents the first cleanup action for this part of the canal. The project is finishing on time.

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Gowanus Canal Community Advisory Group Meeting
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
41 1st Street, Brooklyn NY 11231, Mary Star of the Sea, Community Room

EPA UPDATE

Report from Christos Tsiamis, EPA Project Manager for the Gowanus Canal Cleanup

While there are no pressing updates regarding the progress of EPA work in the Canal, Christos does offer important points of clarification.

Recently, someone called the police regarding the equipment being used to monitor conditions on the Canal. NYPD cut the cable and disposed of the box. EPA is going to work more diligently to ensure that contact information is included with all data-collection equipment to prevent future incidents like this one.

Regarding Water Quality: citizen science in the canal reportedly showed that the canal was swimmable. The EPA does not endorse this data, and does not make decisions based on single points of data.

Regarding the Discussion of Stormwater Retention Tanks at the NYC Long Term Control Plan Presentation and Public Meeting: The City is obligated to prepare this plan under an order from New York State. It is important to note that it would cost much more money to acquire private property adjacent to the canal to construct the EPA-mandated tanks rather than the public property farther away from the canal. EPA has received an evaluation of sites from New York City and the EPA has disagreements with this work; their comments have been submitted and are part of the public record. At the public meeting discussing the LTCP, the City discussed work having to do with the Superfund cleanup, including the locations and sizes of CSO retention tanks. The City was moving forward without talking about EPA feedback offered on the retention tanks. What the City presented at that meeting will not be constructed in the neighborhood to manage CSO runoff.

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