Saturday, July 21, 2012

Is an OPEN SEWER good enough for you in Carroll Gardens/Gowanus?

Is an open sewer good enough for you in Carroll Gardens/Gowanus?

This picture, taken on 4/21/2012 tells the story:  Here we can see the PERSISTENT CSO's (Combined Sewer Overflows) problem in the Gowanus Canal.  This picture was taken after several DRY day, i.e. after several days of NO rainfall.

Is an open sewer good enough for you in Carroll Gardens/Gowanus?


*For PART ONE please see our recent post: A “good enough” neighborhood just isn’t good enough in Carroll Gardens/Gowanus!

The Water Quality/Technical Committee invited two high ranking officials from EPA Headquarters in Washington D.C. to come and meet with us.

Deputy Commissioner, Bob Perciasepe and Assistant Deputy Commissioner Mathy Stanislaus, have met with NYC Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner, Carter Strickland, and in the interest of equal time and fairness they were asked to extend themselves to a meeting with us as well.

As of today, no meeting has been set up.....

The CAG also unanimously supported a Water Quality/Technical Committee proposal which called for reaching out to our elected officials in order to garner public support from them regarding two of our recently passed regarding water reclassification and another on the most important call for a complete elimination of the CSO's and therefore protection of the EPA remedy in the Gowanus Canal. (SEE RESOLUTIONS BELOW)

That is particularly important right now since both the NYS Department of Conservation and the NYC Department of Environmental Protection are apparently ignoring or should we say, "challenging", the EPA findings that toxic compounds are continually contaminating the canal through the CSO's and "must be addressed". 

The City and State seem to be in perfect agreement that a city wide plan which is designed to reduce to varying and ever changing percentages, the CSO emissions and storm water run off, THROUGHOUT THE CITY, is good enough for us......The fact that the major part of this plan, which is called, THE LONG TERM CONTROL PLAN, is not slated to be finished for at least thirty years and does not address the particular problems of the Gowanus Canal does not seem to make a difference to either the City or State of New York.

The Gowanus Canal is most certainly part of New York City and should be included in any city wide plan. The city wide plan is an admirable start on the clean up of our city waterways.
But it is simply an inadequate remedy for the environmental and health issues the contamination of the Gowanus Canal presents to our community. That is why the Gowanus is a Superfund site in the first place...And that is why our community must steadfastly support EPA's Region 2 forthcoming plan.

This "good enough" theme seems to permeate the attitude toward our neighborhood from everyone except our friends at the EPA  and frankly, good enough just isn't.... After all of the years we have had to put up with this canal and its disgusting and  apparently quite dangerous conditions--it is time we demand some justice.

It will certainly be very interesting to see which of our elected officials will support the CAG's resolutions since so many of them live in the surrounding communities....and should therefore be particularly aware of and sensitive to the health and environmental hazards that this highly polluted/contaminated waterway presents.

It is the obligation, no, the duty of every resident of our community to make sure that they let our public officials know that we are not only tired of the open sewer that runs through the heart of our neighborhoods, we are now fully aware of and justifiably concerned that the toxic compounds have been and continue to present an additional health and environmental hazard to each of us and we absolutely support the EPA and their commitment that this problem must be corrected. (SEE OUR CAG LETTER BELOW)

We all also know that that the one and only opportunity to get this done is right here and right now.

On the financial front, the State of New York and the City of New York have no problem talking about the high prohibitive cost of doing the right thing here----yet they do not seem to have any objection to the fact that the hundreds of millions of dollars that the cleanup will cost will be wasted if the toxic contamination is allowed to continue to flow into the canal after the EPA has completed their work.

All of these monies are OURS.....don't be shy about telling our electeds how you feel about how and where they are spending our money!

Do you want the Canal clean? Do you want our environment safe and ours and our childrens' health protected? Then it WILL cost money. Let's be realistic. National Grid will have to raise their rates in order to compensate for the enormous amount of money this clean up will cost. They are required to do it but that does not mean that somewhere down the line rates will not be raised in order to keep them in business. The City of New York will have to spend money to pay for what they are responsible for as well. We all understand this.

Let those people that we put in office to serve us know that you expect all of our monies to be well spent...not literally flushed down the toilet!

We would like to see the city return something real to us for our hard earned cash.....instead of the litany of financial boondoggles, stalled, cost- ballooning projects and overpaid consultants that we seem to read about every day.

Interestingly, three employees of the NYC Law Department attended the meeting.  No one from DEP, just some lawyers.

One of the young ladies introduced herself and then introduced the other two young ladies as "interns" who were there to observe. The spokeswoman of the group also made it abundantly clear that she would not be speaking, commenting or answering any questions and if any of us objected to their presence--they would leave.

It was a rather strange introduction but being the open hearted community that we are---we of course allowed the young ladies to stay. As an observer of the observers, I wondered exactly what the interns took from our meeting----

As always, if you have any questions or comments or would like to know what YOU could do to help, please write to us at CGCORD@GMAIL.COM



With the "Protect Our Homes" petition, CORD was formed in May, 2007. This petition arose as an overwhelmingly negative response to the coming of the over-sized 360 Smith Street Development at the corner of Smith Street and Second Place (Aka Oliver House; aka 131 Second Place). This petition, which had well over three thousand signatures, led to a new zoning text amendment in summer of 2008.

To: Our Elected Officials, Community Leaders, The MTA:
(MAY, 2007)

We the undersigned Carroll Gardens homeowners and residents, are appalled by the "as of right" ruling which allows owners and developers to erect buildings in our neighborhood with no regard to the impact they will present to our quality of life and the value of our homes........