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.