As I mentioned in the last post I wrote about the how the Gowanus Canal floods over when it rains and also that raw sewage is mixed into that flood water. The technical term for that is C.S.O or Combined Sewage Outflow. Here is a photo of the canal area at high tide. The land in the background with the silo is part of the site where Toll Brothers want to build their huge condominium complex.. They plan on ignoring the flooding by building on a man made hill. Now, can you imagine a hill there with a 12-story luxury condo sitting on top? Is it me or is this a band aid solution completely ignorant of the terrain and the forces of nature? The ground gets soft down there by the banks of the canal, probrably because it's full of toxins and chemicals.This is a photo of Combined Sewage Outflow in action. When it rains raw sewage from the toilets in our homes flow into the canal through tunnels into the canal. I received these photos and commentary from a F.R.O.G.G member (Friends and Residents of the Greater Gowanus), a group that has been a watchdog on Gowanus Environmental Issues.
The following words from F.R.O.G.G will fill you in on the technical details of the issue and how the city is ignoring, oops I mean handling it.
The rehabilitated and improved Flushing Tunnel is expected to flush out this communal toilet with greater force, hopefully moving the crap out at a faster pace, but it will still need to be moved through this community. None of this will be tested until after the work has been completed. The idea of building housing along such a waterway is perverted, perverted!Note the brown current of discharge from the CSO which the city has named OH-005. The city is in denial over the fact that this CSO actually spews anything into the canal. The DEP data shows that OH-005 discharges into the canal but 5 times a year. Those who regularly cross this bridge have observed otherwise--sewage discharges here are more frequent than 5 times a month. Because this CSO serves the Owl's Head treatment plant; the city is clueless as what to do about the sewage overflow along the Owl's Head lines so they are pretending it's not happening.
The Gowanus Canal water quality improvement plans address the CSO flow at the head of the canal. The Gowanus Canal water quality plans are all about raising the dissolved oxygen levels in the water in order to meet the lowest level of water quality standard. While they hope pathogen levels will be at a level that will allow them to up grade the water quality classification to CLASS I, the DEP does not know that pathogen levels will be of a level that would be healthy for those living so close to this water.
There is real question about the control of pathogen levels in this water, even after substantial renovation of the Flushing Tunnel takes place.
In the Gowanus Water body/Watershed Plan (currently under Public Comment Period) section 9.2.4 Future Considerations Synopsis states:
"Although this Water body/Watershed Facility Plan is expected to result in significant improvements to the water quality in Gowanus Canal, it is not expected to completely attain all applicable water quality criteria. .....If either current or potential future “fishable/swimmable” water quality criteria are demonstrated to be unrealistic after a period of monitoring, NYCDEP would request reclassification of Gowanus Canal based on a Use Attainability Analysis (UAA). Until the recommended UAAs and required regulatory processes are completed, the current NYSDEC classification of Gowanus Canal (Class SD) should be temporarily retained. "
And they want people to live on top of this? Shame on our politicians for even considering this rezoning.
To find out even more about what is going on around the Gowanus (including Public Place) read this excellent article by Tom Angotti in the Gotham Gazette.