Monday, December 03, 2012

Gowanus Canal Superfund Clean-Up Update: During Next Few Days, EPA Collecting Coring Samples For Stabilization Study

Screen Shot 2012-11-30 at 11.54.19 AM
photo credit: Brian Carr

In just a few weeks, the US Environmental Protection Agency will be releasing its Superfund Proposed Clean-Up Plan for the Gowanus Canal. The plan, drafted by Christos Tsiamis,  the EPA Project Manager for the Gowanus, and his EPA Region 2 team has been submitted to the Agency's headquarters in Washington for review.  A copy has also been sent to New York State's Department Of Environmental Conservation (DEC).  Region 2 has already received comments on the plan from Headquarters, but is still waiting to hear from DEC.
EPA is planning on holding a public meeting in January or February to explain the plan to the general public.  The meeting will be followed by a public comment period.

In the meantime, more testing is taking place in the canal.  Late last week, Brian Carr, EPA Region 2 Legal Council, shared with me the photo above, showing a crew collecting coring samples in the Canal at Public Place near 5th Street. The coring is being done at EPA's request and under EPA's supervision by a National Grid sub-contractor.
Carr explained: "EPA will use the samples for preliminary laboratory tests to determine the proper mix for "In-situ Stabilization" or ISS. ISS is essentially mixing the sand beneath the canal with concrete which will chemically bind with the NAPL contamination. This is being considered as an additional capping layer at the bottom of the canal after dredging removes the accumulated sediments."

The work will take approximately two weeks.  However, it may take longer since New York City has informed the EPA that the 3 upper canal bridges (at Union Street, Carroll Street and Third Street) have been damaged during Hurricane Sandy.
This would mean that the crew can not take its boat further up the canal for more sampling.

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