Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Chinese Delegation Visited The Gowanus Canal Superfund Site This Past Friday

Natalie Loney, EPA Region 2 Community Involvement CoordinatorIMG_3252
Christos Tsiamis, EPA Remedial Project Manager for the Gowanus CanalIMG_3260
Brian Carr, EPA Region 2 Legal CouncilIMG_3262
This past Friday, March 20, 2015, a delegation of scientists from the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) of the People's Republic of China toured the heavily polluted Gowanus Canal, which has been nominated as a Federal Superfund site by the US Environmental Protection Agency in 2010. 
The delegation had visited EPA's 's headquarter in Washington the day before, and had learned about the Superfund program. The visit to Gowanus gave them an opportunity to gain understanding of how the program is applied.

The Chinese scientists were greeted by representatives of EPA Region 2 at the Old American Can Factory on Third Street, where Christos Tsiamis, the Remedial Project Manager for the Gowanus Canal, gave them an overview of the waterway's industrial history, the resulting pollution,  and the complexities involved in cleaning up the waterway.

He explained that the remedy will include removal of the contaminants, capping in sections of the canal where contaminants have sunk deep into the native sediment, and the construction of two retention tanks to manage and capture Combined Sewer Overflow from New York City's sewer system during rain events. The cost of the clean-up is estimated at over $500 million, which will be paid by the polluters.

Tsiamis also explained that community involvement is an important part of the Superfund program, and spoke of the Gowanus Canal Superfund Community Advisory Group.

Our humble canal obviously continues to garner international interest. Over the past few years, scientists from Russia and delegates from India have toured the polluted waterway.

I would like to thank Christos Tsiamis, Brian Carr, Natalie Loney and Cecilia Echols for inviting me to join Friday's walking tour and for letting me document it for the community.


Agnes said...

I imagine that other countries are learning from the technology being used in Gowanus. The kind of pollution we have here is hopefully also a deterrent, hopefully helping to bring more mindfulness to environment.

Anonymous said...

I find it incredibly ironic that "environmental" people from China would tour the canal. It is surprising that they even have an environmental agency considering what they are doing to their own environment. They are currently making the same stupid mistakes we made 150 years ago. I would imagine that if they went back and told their bosses and said that China must stop polluting now, they would probably be thrown in jail. What a joke.

Timothy Reed said...

Whoa, where is that boat!?

Katia said...

Timothy, it is right at the 5th Street Basin, along the Whole Foods promenade.