By now, everyone in New York City knows that the Gowanus Canal, once a thriving industrial waterway, is one of the most toxic sites in the United States, so toxic in fact, that the United Sates Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) declared the canal a Superfund Site this past spring. The agency is currently studying how best to remove the coal tar and other poisons which have accumulated at the bottom of the canal.
However, toxic industrial waste is only one of the problems facing the Gowanus Canal. Local residents know all too well what happens to the waterway after every major rainfall. When our antiquated, overburdened sewer system reaches capacity, run-off and raw sewage is diverted into the canal.
The New York City Department Of Environmental Protection is currently upgrading the flushing tunnel and pumping station at 201 Douglass Street at a cost of approximately $140 million. It is hoped that the upgrade will reduce the Combined Sewer Overflow (C.S.O.) by 34%.
Though this is a worthy goal, it only solves 1/3 of the problem.
No plan has yet been presented to stop it completely.
We need to demand one now.
The video above illustrates the problems very graphically. It was filmed close to the Douglass Street flushing tunnel on September 16th, the day of the tornado here in Brooklyn. It was posted on You Tube by someone called keanhokeanho.