Northeast
Kevin Duggan / Brooklyn Paper

NY - What to Expect From the EPA's Gowanus Canal Cleanup

The federally-supervised cleanup of the Gowanus Canal kicked into high gear this week as the Environmental Protection Agency launched their full-scale dredging of the upper portion of the toxic waterway on Monday.

The agency has tasked six historic polluters of the Gowanus — National Grid, Con Edison, the Hess Corporation, Honeywell International, the Brooklyn Improvement Company, and the City of New York — with the more than $1.5 billion cleanup effort, which will cleanse the 1.8-mile canal in three phases, starting with the stretch north of the Third Street Bridge that will wrap up in mid-2023 and cost $125 million.

Barge-mounted excavators will scoop out 72,400 cubic yards of the putrid, poisonous sediment at the bottom of the canal known locally as “black mayonnaise” — a volume of gunk that could fill roughly 22 Olympic size swimming pools!

Dredging will start just south of the Carroll Street Bridge, before continuing up to the Union Street Bridge, and then further south to the Third Street Bridge.

Barges small enough to navigate the narrow canal will bring the piles of filth to a staging site at Huntington and Smith streets, where they will drain out excess water, before transferring it to larger barges for shipping out of the Gowanus and across New York Harbor to New Jersey to be processed.

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