Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Important Issues Discussed And Voted On At Last Night's Gowanus Superfund CAG Meeting

EPA's Christos Tsiamis, seated, and Gowanus CAG facilitator Jeff Edelstein, standing
Christos Tsiamis, EPA Region 2 project manager for the Gowanus Canal 
Brian Carr, EPA Region 2 lawyer
Still from " Perfume vs. Miasma" on the Gowanus Canal by Rebecca Volinsky
Still from 'Gouwane' by Susannah Sayler and Edward Morris
The EPA Community Advisory Committee (CAG) for the Gowanus Canal Superfund gathered at the Brooklyn Historical Society for its monthly meeting last night.  Christos Tsiamis, EPA Region Two project manager and Brian Carr, a lawyer for Region 2, were both in attendance for a question and answer session.
Tsiamis  had brought along two short movies about the canal,  which had been screened at the "Canary Project"* art exhibit at Parsons School of Design, to which he had been invited. The movies offered visions for the Gowanus Canal post clean-up by various artists.  "It was a case of art informing science" Christos told the CAG.
Indeed, both 'Perfume vs. Miasma" by Rebecca Volinsky and 'Gouwani' by Suzanne Sailors and Ed Morris were well worth watching.
-Tsiamis also informed the CAG that the Feasibility Study (FS), which outlines the different options for a clean-up, will be released at the end of the year.  There will be a public meeting to discuss the FS in January 2012.
The discussion between members of the CAG and Tsiamis was broad and included such topics as bulkheads,  additional grants for technical assistance and plans for the First Street and Fourth Street canal basins, which were filled in decades ago.
-The CAG also voted on a resolution first discussed at a Water Quality/Technical Committees meeting on November 29th. It reads:
The Community Advisory Group requests that NYC DEP install real-time flow meters as soon as possible, but no later than February 15, 2012 on the Combined Sewer Overflows Identified as RH35, OH37, RH34 and OH05.
The goal is to collect data ahead of the re-activation of the Flushing Tunnel in the fall of 2012 and to determine whether the flow figures cited by the DEP are reasonable.  Local officials will be cc'd  on the request.  The resolution passed easily.
-Another important topic of the night was the Whole Foods site, located at the corner of Third Avenue and Third Street in Gowanus.  Whole Foods is scheduled to appear in front of  the Board Of Standards And Appeals (BSA) on December 13th, concerning their request for a variance to permit a food store contrary to use regulations in an M2-1 zoning district. Since the proposed 56,000 s.f. store will be built on a site that has the largest frontage of any property along the Gowanus Canal, some members of the CAG felt that the scale of the project, the proposed 12 foot grade change and bulkhead plan for the site could adversely affect the Superfund clean-up.
The following resolution was put forth buy the CAG:
1) The Gowanus CAG Requests that the NYC BSA postpone its decision on Whole Food's Variance Application until the EPA releases its Record of Decision for the clean-up plan.
2)The CAG requests that Whole Foods Market present to the CAG their general site work and bulkhead plan.
The resolution passed easily.
*The Canary Project at Parsons will run until December 15th.


Anonymous said...

Glad to read the CAG resolutions re: Whole Foods.

Anonymous said...

How do you know the Whole Foods proerty is in EPA's superfund? When will EPA release the list of properties located within the designation?