Since the waterway, an Environmental Protection Agency's Superfund site, is highly toxic and laced with sewage, the job is made ever so much harder.
Since Wednesday last week, Lavender Lake's staff has been in recovery mode. They pulled everything out onto the sidewalk, cleaning and bleaching everything in the restaurant in rubber boots, rubber gloves and masks, hoping that the protection is enough.
In a short video interview made by Creative Creatures Productions to highlight the plight of Gowanus business owners after the storm, Sam Wheeler, one of the owners of Lavender Lake, expresses his frustration: "Since the Hurricane we have had no contact or response from the city."
He continues: "What we were hoping was that somebody at some point would maybe do rounds and come around to just tell us is it safe for us to be in there, cleaning, should we be on hold. How do we know when its clean? Is there some test that we can do? We are going to be serving food and drinks in this place and our customers can't be getting sick. That's our priority."
These are all well-foinded concerns. It also raises the question of what to do moving forward in the future. "I don't know what people in flood plains do, but whatever they do, we will have to do no," Wheeler adds.