Well, the last month was a frenzy of meetings about the Gowanus Canal cleanup...There were meetings held by each CAG committee, a general CAG meeting and several public meetings held by the EPA both in Carroll Gardens and Red Hook.
The topic? The proposed clean up plan (referred to as the PRAP) of course!
-the Gowanus Canal Superfund Designation (the Canal being placed on the National Priorities List/named a Superfund site)
The meat of the PRAP:
The plan also addresses, Hallelujah!, the CSO's, (you remember those..the combined sewer overflows that during rain become so overwhelmed that we here in Brooklyn are transported to a country which we would all be taking up a collection for because their raw sewage was running right through the heart of their community) which contribute, separate from the dangerous and disgusting pathogens, toxic compounds that contaminate the Canal. Apparently, the chemical contamination actually attaches itself to the solid human waste--some of which winds up sticking to the bottom of the canal---and there we have the beginning of dangerous recontamination.
So, the EPA has determined that a good solution would be to implement retention tanks which could, during rain heavy enough to overwhelm the CSO's, collect and hold onto the sewage for a brief time until it could be released into the water and head on over to the treatment plant where it belongs.
One place is an area off Second Avenue, known as the salt lots. The other, would be under the Thomas Greene Park--which also happens to sit upon one of the three old manufacturing gas plants (MGP) which are the greatest cause of the Canal's contamination in the first place.
The Park, by the way, will need a great deal of remediation because of its former use---it will need to be, for the most part, ripped up and cleaned so that it is safe for use and will not contribute to the recontamination of the Canal any longer. Kind of seems fitting that something that caused so much trouble to our community could be used for something that now benefits everyone....
CORD suggests that we take the love and passion for what is now standing there and use it to press National Grid and the City of New York, the two biggest polluters, to restore the area, after the cleanup to a true, safe playground with a new swimming pool that is not sitting in a vat of contaminated muck, as it does now....
There was one additional possible part of the PRAP--which the EPA carefully and repeatedly explained as an idea, not something that was a definitive part of the plan. It had to do with the potential location for the processing of some of the least contaminated material.
In addition to the two meetings held here in Carroll Gardens where the PRAP and the possible CDF facility were discussed, there were two meetings held by the EPA in Red Hook.
So here we are....
At this juncture, the DEC, the polluters, the public and just anybody else with something to say has the opportunity to submit their comments. It is called a public comment period and usually lasts for thirty (30) days.
The PRAP was presented with a ninety (90) day public comment period and for some reason has been further extended to one hundred and twenty (120) days. You now have until April 27, 2013.
See you there! CORD