Take Action to Superfund Gowanus

Fund Me I'm Sick!
The canal was having a really bad day on Saturday. After days of rains the surface was amok with visable contaminants. Do you trust that the city should be trusted to clean THIS properly? There are people out there- the Dredgers to name one party who think that the city should be trusted with the money from the federal government rather than the Environmental Protection Agency to clean it! Methinks that all those canoe trips on the toxin ridden waters of the Gowanus has effected their capacity for rational thought. This is RAW SEWAGE not algae!
This was at the other end of the canal on Saturday and all the while canoers were practically sitting on this muck. Yet another reason I think a thorough, comprehensive and scientific clean up should be done by the EPA and not the city!

If you haven't already, PLEASE go to Superfundgowanus.org to submit your comments to the E.P.A and also to sign a petition that is going to our elected officials to show that there are people in the who actually think this is a GOOD thing.


Anonymous said...

Give me a break. WHAT money from the EPA? There's no funding for the Superfund. They will sue the City for the money anyway because the City owns the land under the canal. That's how it works.(some stimulus package money to the Superfund is 100% allocated to old projects which have been stuck for a decade or more with no money)

The clean-up plan already scheduled would have the seen the canal dredged by 2013. What's happening here is that NY State is budget crunched by the bad economy and doesn't want to come up with the part of the cost they had agreed to, so they punted to the EPA so that the City will get stuck with the entire bill (after years of lawsuit delays).

This is upstate-downstate politics, and City residents will be the worse off for it from both a cost and results perspective.

As usual well-intentioned but uninformed people are being manipulated into supporting policies which are against their own best interests.

F.I.B said...

In the Obama administration there is a an additional 600 million in the current budget allocated for sites already listed on the EPA's Superfund National Priorities List. This canal has never been on any pressing priority list with the city until they found out that developments, many which which are waiting for the entire rezoning of the Gowanus corridor to go ahead will be slowed down. Toll Brothers got a special "spot zoning" before everyone else and the community is supposed to trust that cleaning their little piece of this entire body of water is perfectly OK. I am so thankful that the EPA stepped in at this moment to bring the severity of this issue to a federal level. It took well over a hundred years for this canal to get to this point, it was called a "blight" already in the 1800's, it can not be cleaned overnight. When it is done properly THEN we can talk about what to build and you can have your gondolos and riverwalks and sponge parks.

Anonymous said...

I'm hardly defending anyone's record on this. The point is that the flushing tunnel restart in 1999 has finally added enough value -- even in its half functioning state -- to attract private money to cover part of the remaining clean-up cost. More people now get that the canal has potential as something more than a neglected sewer.

Your lack of trust notwithstanding, any clean-ups are bid on and carried out by the same contractors regardless of who is paying for them. It's not like the City or developers get to decide how it gets done themselves. Either way the same standards have to be met. The idea is to get it done sooner than later. Right? Or are you just against anything that will result in new building, even if it also makes cleaned-up usages possible -- like canoeing and a water-side park?

I welcome the EPA's interest. Let's see it used as insurance that forces the City and Army Corps deliver on their existing plan, rather than scuttle that for some future one with no funding.

More than a few "principled" supporters of Superfund listing are knowingly colluding in a move that will delay the clean-up for many years and result in a much greater final cost to the City, because their real position is actually based on a selfish desire to keep new housing from being built in the neighborhood -- their protestations to the contrary notwithstanding.

I remember being sympathetic to this sort of thinking at one time, just never in a situation as obviously hypocritical as this one.

The self-justification is suspicion or outright hatred of money-making developers -- a sort of simple-minded "progressive" stance on class warfare. The real reason though is pure NIMBY-ism. I'm glad I finally woke up and got a conscience about the fact that cities are going to have to grow, casue climate change and peak oil means the suburbs are DEAD. The perfect is always the enemy of the good. People promoting some version of a perfect but impractical "solution" ALWAYS have another agenda they are not being honest about.

Last point in this rant -- as a rule I don't much like the values of the commercial class -- developers included. But the developers aren't going to move in and become my neighbors, they just want to do their thing and move on.

And I don't care a piss if they make some money for their trouble, so long as they deliver value to the final users of their buildings and the clean-up they pay for is properly regulated by the environmental regulators.

When it come to trust, I trust that if the developers are interested in building then they are ready to pay what it takes to clean the uplands and build stormwater mitigation for their run-off -- something many of the existing low-end usage property owners probably don't have the money for. I also trust that a developer putting $200M into a project has less incentive to try to find a $500K shortcut on their clean-up cost than a low-end usage owner.

I also trust that if the City is facilitating development with re-zoning then they understand that not cleaning up the canal for several more decades is not an option. No only because of the tax revenue it will ruin, but because of the lawsuits for damages it would result in. So my willingness to give the existing clean-up plan the benefit of the doubt is based on evidence that some things have finally changed. If the threat of a default into Superfund listing can be hung over the participants to make it even more likely they deliver, all the better.

What I absolutely do not trust is the motives of the listing supporters who would rather move the process into a program which experience implies would be at least 20 years. That completely contradicts their claim of wanting to see a clean-up actually take place. For those that support listing because you are not paying close attention and have missed out on what's really going on here, I forgive you but PLEASE WAKE UP. For the rest of you....well, there's just no point.

Margaret said...

4:12 - this is a blog - no one wants to read a tome. Please wake up must refer to the snooze from trying to get through your obviously slanted info. Nothing has changed in Gowanus, except that now, for ONCE, the people who live here (and I DO live here) are finally getting a break. ONLY the EPA has the EXPERIENCE, the TOOLS, and the TRANSPARENCY to do the comprehensive cleanup of one of the most toxic waterways in the country! Everything else being said has a different agenda. And you are right, there is no point in trying to say otherwise. HEALTH. By the way, my name is Margaret. What's yours?

kduffy said...


I don't believe your commentary is honest. This EPA action is a result of their concern regarding HEALTH and SAFETY of our community. How do you reconcile a developer's action to manage its CSO's as adequate remediation? The toxic hazard is at the bottom of the canal. Developers will not spend money to clean this portion of the canal. Private development dollars are not best utilized this way-ever. Translation: the canal does not get cleaned.

It's unfair to label good, caring people as "haters of money-making developers." I support the Superfund and the safety it brings to my family and community. I am also a businessman with an excellent track record. Your type of reasoning is selfish, short-sighted and inconsiderate to the protection of our community. If the EPA had not stepped in, your vision to put my children's safety behind any expedient effort to develop the waterway would probably have been realized. But not today, not tomorrow. Thank you EPA.

My name is KevinDuffy...what's yours?

Ajlouny said...

Bottom line is someone has to take responsibility and clean the muck up. It's disgusting and probably hazardous.

injurydoctornyc said...

Gross, im very upset that this would have even taken place, though it shows what we should start doing as a community and clean up after ourselves, and respect the street we walk on.