Monday, May 07, 2018

It's Quite A Sight: The Dredging Of Toxic "Black Mayonnaise" At Gowanus Canal's 4th Street Turning Basin Now In Full Swing

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A big coal tar-covered object that was dredged out of the canal on Friday.
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Brian Carr, EPA Region 2 lawyer , and Christos Tsiamis EPA Senior Project Manager for the Gowanus Superfund at the 4th Street Basin checking out the work being performed this past Friday.

Something quite extraordinary is happening at the 4th Street Turning Basin of the Gowanus Canal. Currently, The Environmental Protection Agency's Dredging And Capping Pilot Study at the basin near Whole Foods is in full swing.
The work consists of dredging the contaminated sediment at the bottom of the basin and capping it to prevent recontamination. The results of this work will inform EPA and help fine-tune different techniques that will eventually be applied to the entire canal.

It is quite fascinating and satisfying to see the toxic 'black mayonnaise' being lifted out of the canal after so many decades.  The crew performing the work uses a G.P.S. system to map and to keep track of where dredging has been performed.  The material is placed into barges, then de-watered at a staging area at the Public Place site at Huntington Street,  before it is sent to a licensed disposal facility.

Though there were some initial delays due to problems associated with  the installation of bulkheads to provide structural support to the shore, the dredging and, subsequently, the capping work will now continue in full swing. The work is estimated to be completed by the end of the summer.  E.P.A.'s goal is still to begin the dredging of the main canal sometime in late 2020.

Christos Tsiamis, EPA Senior Project Manager for the Gowanus Superfund and  Brian Carr, EPA Region 2 lawyer, visited the worksite this past Friday and seemed pleased with the progress being made.


For Tsiamis and Carr, as well as for the community, the completion of the 4th Street Basin Pilot study in just a few months will represent a huge milestone. It means that for the first time in over a century, there will be a clean portion of the canal.  And that is something to celebrate.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

When does the EPA plan on fixing the Whole Foods esplanade that they wrecked?