GOWANUS – The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced last week that the Gowanus Canal cleanup has been stalled due to issues with the dredging and capping pilot project that was scheduled to begin at the end of 2017.
At a Gowanus Canal Community Advisory Group meeting, EPA Project Manager Christos Tsiamis explained that the pilot program had to be put on hold after workers operating “giant hammers” to install bulkheads along the canal’s banks inadvertently created “fissures in nearby land and buildings,” Brooklyn Paper reported.
One of the buildings affected was 386-398 Third Avenue, located across the Fourth Street Turning Basin from Whole Foods, Tsiamis told Brownstoner. Cracks were also found in the soil of the bank alongside Whole Foods, he added.
Steel sheets need to be installed to reinforce the crumbling bulkheads along the perimeter of the canal before workers can start work digging up approximately 11 feet of sediment, or “black mayonnaise,” at the bottom of the water and capping it off with two feet of sand, clay, and other materials.
The pilot project was scheduled to begin late last year at the Fourth Street Turning Basin and wrap up by April 2018, but according to Brooklyn Paper, Tsiamis said he was unable to provide “another date as to when we are going to start.”
Data collected from the pilot study will be used to finalize a cleanup plan for the northern part of the Gowanus Canal, with cleanup of that portion of the canal previously scheduled to be completed by 2022.
Whenever work does begin again, crews will use “smaller, less-powerful tools” and install “one steel sheet pile at a time in order to prevent more ruptures,” according to the article, which will slow down the process and likely push back the project’s completion date.