Have you noticed that these days, the Gowanus Canal has an eery greenish color about it and that its distinctive foul smell has returned? This has to do with the fact that its flushing tunnel has been taken off-line by the New York City's Department Of Environmental Protection in order to upgrade the flushing tunnel system and wastewater pumping station at the head of the Gowanus Facilities station located at 201 Douglass Street.
In August, the NYC D.E.P. published a project update on the Gowanus Canal facilities upgrade. According to the agency "the Gowanus Facilities Upgrade is proposed to improve the capacity, function, efficiency, and reliability of the Gowanus Canal flushing tunnel system and wastewater pumping station with the aim of improving the water quality in the Gowanus Canal over the long term."
The work was started in September 2009 and will be completed by the summer of 2013. The cost is approximately $140 million.
The agency claims that the upgrade will reduce combined sewer overflows into the canal by 34%. (Why, you may ask, is raw sewage in any concentration still allowed to flow right into our neighborhood?)
According to The Friends And Residents of Greater Gowanus (F.R.O.G.G.), the DEP has scheduled a meeting with the community on October 25th. Details of the meeting will be posted on Community Board 6's web site and I will add more details here.
It is important for everyone to attend this meeting. It is a great opportunity to ask the City why it still allows sewer overflow to drain directly into the canal in the first place.
Please see the NYC DEP Gowanus Project Update below: