Work Begins On Gowanus Canal Cleanup

GOWANUS – Earlier this month, a pilot study kicked off at the Gowanus Canal’s Fourth Street Basin to test-dredge the floor of the Superfund site, clearing the way for workers to dig up approximately 11 feet of sediment, or “black mayonnaise,” sitting at the bottom of the canal, DNA Info reports.

4th Street Turning Basin
Fourth Street Turning Basin, Gowanus Canal (Photo: BKLYNER)

This past Tuesday, workers began installing steel beams to reinforce the crumbling bulkheads along the basin, according to the article. Some bulkheads along the perimeter of the canal collapsed into the water earlier this year due to old age and bad weather, Christos Tsiamis, an Environmental Protection Agency Project Manager, explained in a Brooklyn Paper article.

Dredging will begin in December when workers will dig up sediment from the floor of the Fourth Street Basin, located behind Whole Foods, and then cap the bottom to prevent other toxins from flowing in, according to Brooklyn Paper. The capping process will consist of laying down two feet of sand, clay, and other materials to prevent additional contaminants from entering the water, DNA Info adds.

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Some of the sediment will be used to cover landfills in Pennsylvania while portions containing too much liquid tar will be sent to New Jersey to be burned. The dredging process should take two months, followed by the capping process. The project is expected to be completed by April 2018, making the Fourth Street Basin “the first ‘clean’ stretch of the canal,” according to DNA Info.

Data collected from the pilot study will be used to finalize a cleanup plan for the northern section of the canal by February 2019, DNA Info says, with cleanup of that portion of the Gowanus Canal slated to be completed by 2022.

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Pamela Wong

Pam is a staff reporter at Bklyner, covering North-Western parts of Brooklyn. You can reach her at Pamela@bklyner.com. Tips are always welcome. She also writes about art at arthag.typepad.com.

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