Friday, July 1, 2022

Town Hall Meeting at PS 32 sponsored by Gowanus Canal Advisory Group (the CAG)

Last night, the Gowanus Canal Community Advisory Group (the CAG) sponsored a Town Hall Meeting at PS 32. Our EPA Region 2 Team, Project Manager Christos Tsiamis, Community Coordinator Natalie Loney and Virtually, Attorney Brian Carr were, as usual, there for us. But last night also included Region 2 Administrator, Lisa Garcia and Deputy Administrator Walter Mugdan to update the community and take questions and address neighbors' concerns from the real and virtually attending audience members about the ongoing Gowanus Canal Superfund progress. In person CAG attendees reported approximately 70 persons in the auditorium while zoom figures listed the participant number at 56.

Our Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez addressed the group pointing out that in addition to the EPA employees on hand, DEP Commissioner Rohit Aggarwala was there to speak and take a question or two- as well.


Above: Congresswoman Velazquez speaking

Rep Velazquez praised the community and the CAG for its dedication and reminded all of us of the now decade plus long Superfund process - how far we have come and how far we still have to go. Congresswoman Velazquez herself deserves much praise and gratitude for her commitment to not only bringing the much needed Superfund status to the Gowanus Canal but for her support in having the cleanup include and address the CSO's as part of the remediation.

She then announced that she wished to bestow special recognition to our loyal and wonderful Region 2 EPA Team. She officially acknowledged the tireless contribution to not only the Gowanus Canal Superfund project, but to our community of Natalie Loney, Brian Carr and especially, Engineer and Project Manager, Christos Tsiamis. (See Congressional Honor Award below)*


CORD has written about our Team many many times over the years. We love these three dearly. But we would be remiss if we did not express a special affection for Christos, whom we have often referred to in our posts as "Hercules Tsiamis". Christos has not only consistently and outstandingly fulfilled the requirements of his position.  He took an interest in our community. He made it his business to get to know the people here. He took the time to listen to our concerns and he did his best to address the health and safety of our people in a thorough, effective, cost conscious and timely manner. He has been steadfast and outspoken about all matters concerning the Cleanup - always putting It and our community's best interests first. 

In this world of politics, business deals and money money money which we all must somehow survive, Christos has been a champion for the many when it would have been so much easier to lay down for the few. In our eyes, our Hercules has neither lost an inch in stature nor an ounce in strength - to the contrary, he is taller and greater than ever.

We salute and thank you, Christos, Brian and Natalie for all that you have done and continue to do. Congratulations on your much deserved Congressional recognition!

Deputy Region 2 Administrator Walter Mugdan took over most of the discussion. It was a different Walter Mugdan than the one we met twelve or so years ago. He seemed so eager to begin the Canal cleanup back then. He spoke of how it would take "longer than you think but shorter than you fear", with an enthusiasm and forcefulness of purpose to be admired. He had a wonderfully community focused attitude that shone through each statement and made us feel like we were finally working with the right people and this job would get done the right way.


Above: Walter Mundan speaking

That was not the Walter who spoke last night. Last night's Walter spoke of working hand in hand with the DEP and extending the tank construction into 2030 or so. He referred to National Grid and the DEP (the two biggest Canal polluters) as "partners." Granted, they must work together, but we thought the EPA was our partner and they were the Responsible Parties. It was Christos who reminded the group that recent negotiations with the City have yielded a slightly shorter timeline - one that Christos appears to expect the City to stick to...and it is Christos who consistently provides the answers we need to our questions about what is going on at the MGP/DEC supervised sites. (Thomas Greene Park, the Lowe's site and Public Place).

Questions from the audience were thoughtful. Many regarding those CSO tanks and their proposed effectiveness in lieu of the now approved Gowanus rezoning. The development of the newly rezoned area is now expected to bring 20-30,000 new residents. The concerns about greater CSO events and flooding in the area with all of these new residents is pressing. (When the rain falls, even just a little, our CSO's- the Combined Sewer system here in this part of Brooklyn, becomes overwhelmed and the result is the disgusting, bacteria laden raw sewage is pushed out into the Gowanus Canal - check out the now famous 'POONAMI" that happened to be caught on camera after less than 1/8" of rain) — VIDEO LINK.

This happens on a regular basis. Some of the sludge floats by and out but most of it accumulates on the bottom of the canal allowing the bacteria levels to dangerously rise. In addition to that, the toxins in the canal tend to regard the solid waste matter as a magnet--drawing itself to those solids presenting not only a bacterial danger but a deadly chemical one as well. The CSO retention tanks that the city has been dragging its feet to build- even though they are mandated to do so, will help alleviate this problem by capturing the solids and holding them until the runoff volume subsides and the sewage can be perhaps treated before it is slowly released. But there will be no tanks until almost the end of the decade and the newly cleaned and capped Canal will accumulate all that waste on its newly cleaned bottom. What a colossal shame! Our tax dollars used to put the cart before the horse when it was completely unnecessary to do so!

DEP Commissioner Aggarwala gave the attendees the now familiar version of DEP math and cockeyed reasoning. Some of the new developments (the important word there is "some") will have separated sewer systems so that the rainwater and other runoff will not go into the same sewer as the waste. By doing this, since the rainwater/runoff chiefly causes the CSO events (think poonami + 30,000 ), the "system" will actually have its volume REDUCED thereby reducing (I don't think even the DEP has the nerve to say "eliminating") CSO events and overall flooding.

If this does NOT make sense to you....you are an intelligent thinking human being.

So, the developments not directly on the banks of the Canal, but within the 80 block length and breadth of the rezoning, will probably NOT have separated sewer systems so they get added to the existing system which already has terrible problems and results in street and basement floods all over the neighborhood. 

We won't need a major storm to happen TO us to have flooding and sewage backups, we are creating one of our very own.

When an audience member questioned if the size of the retention tanks would be enough with the population boom expected, Walter Mugdan was very quick to point out that the tanks were calculated to handle the growth expected.

Thank the Heavens that Christos, once again spoke truth to power. He told all of us that he himself had calculated the values for those tanks and that at the time it was done, only the Lightstone development was put into the equation. The size and scope of the rezoning was 

NOT known nor WAS IT CALCULATED into the tanks' capacities. Christos pointed out that that disparity would need to be addressed in order to accommodate the change in population.

Above: Christos Tsiamis speaking

Rep Velazquez quickly looked toward the DEP Commissioner to express her view that the infrastructure must be able to accommodate the community. 

There were many other questions from both in person and virtual attendees that time did not allow to be asked and answered. Clearly, as more and more details on the expected timeline and the State and City's plans moving forward come to light, there will be a need for more of these community Q&A sessions.

*Congressional Honor Award:


Other elected reps there:

+ Melissa del Valle Ortiz, Community and Housing Coordinator Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez

+ Liznel Aybar-Ventura, Deputy Chief of Staff, Senator Jabari Brisport (while they still rep Gowanus)

+ Susannah Pasquantonio, Chief of Staff, Assemblywoman Jo Anne Simon

+ Arvind Sindhwani, Director of Land Use & Community Advocate, Council Member Lincoln Restler

+ Mia Perez, Education and Land Use Director, Council Member Shahana Hanif


As always, please feel free to email us at (cgcord@gmail.com) and we will bring them up at the upcoming CAG  meeting.


Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Gowanus Superfund Town Hall!



 

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Town Hall re: Gowanus Canal Clean-Up! Open and Free to the Public!

Learn about the ongoing cleanup of the Gowanus Canal from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency representatives and elected officials.

Date and time

About this event

The Gowanus Canal is famously one of the most polluted bodies of water in the United States — but did you know that there is work being done to clean it up

In 2013, the U.S. Environmental Agency approved a plan to remove polluted material from the Canal and address other sources of pollution along its banks, including three former industrial sites and changes to the city's sewerage system. The cleanup work, which began in November 2020, is expected to cost more than $1.5 billion dollars.

On June 30, the Gowanus Canal Community Advisory Group (CAG) invites members of the greater Gowanus community to attend a Town Hall meeting and learn more about the cleanup of the Canal under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Superfund Program. 

Representatives from the EPA's cleanup team and the CAG will be there to talk about:

  • Why the canal got so polluted in the first place 
  • What the cleanup will change about the Canal 
  • What's happening today, as the clean up activities are currently underway
  • What the canal might look like when the cleanup is complete
  • How the community can get involved in the cleanup
  • And more!

The biggest part of the Town Hall will be about answering your questions, though! RSVP for this event and share your questions in advance at gowanuscag@gmail.com

The Gowanus Canal Community Advisory Group (CAG) was formed in 2010 soon after the Gowanus Canal was designated a Superfund site and is the largest U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Superfund Community Advisory Group in the nation. We are made up of over 50 representatives from civic, environmental, business and community organizations, as well as individual members, from around the Gowanus Canal such as Red Hook, Gowanus, Carroll Gardens, Boerum Hill and Park Slope. The Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club is a member of the CAG and is helping organize this event. 

El canal Gowanus Canal lamentablemente es conocido por ser una de las masas de agua má contaminadas de Estados Unidos, pero, ¿sabía que se está llevando a cabo el trabajo para limpiarlo?

En 2013, la Agencia de Protección Ambiental de EE. UU. aprobó un plan para extraer el material contaminado del canal y abordar otras fuentes de contaminación en sus bancos, incluidos tres antiguos sitios industriales y cambios en el sistema de cloacas de la ciudad. Se espera que el trabajo de limpieza, que comenzará en noviembre de 2020, cueste más de USD 1,5 mil millones.

El 30 de junio, el Grupo Asesor de la Comunidad (CAG) del canal Gowanus invita a los miembros de la comunidad mayor de Gowanus a asistir a una reunión en la municipalidad y obtener más información sobre la limpieza del canal bajo el programa Superfund de la Agencia de Protección Ambiental de EE. UU.

Los representantes del equipo de limpieza de la EPA y el CAG estarán allí para analizar los siguientes temas:

  • Por qué el canal se contaminó tanto
  • Qué cambiará en el canal con la limpieza
  • Qué sucede hoy a medida que las actividades de limpieza están en curso
  • Cómo se verá el canal cuando se complete la limpieza
  • Cómo puede participar la comunidad en la limpieza
  • ¡Y mucho más!

La parte más importante de la municipalidad también responderá sus preguntas.

Confirme su asistencia a este evento y envíe sus preguntas por anticipado a gowanuscag@gmail.com.

- - -

El Grupo Asesor de la Comunidad (CAG) del Canal Gowanus se formó en 2010 poco después de que el canal Gowanus se designara como sitio Superfund y es el Grupo Asesor de la Comunidad de Superfund de la Agencia de Protección Ambiental (EPA) de EE. UU. más grande de todo el país. Estamos conformados por más de 50 representantes de organizaciones civiles, ambientales, comerciales y comunitarias, y por miembros individuales del canal Gowanus como Red Hook, Gowanus, Carroll Gardens, Boerum Hill y Park Slope


For more please see: 


Monday, June 27, 2022

Gowanus Canal Superfund Town Hall! A Free Community Information Event!



Gowanus Canal Clean-Up: A Town Hall Meeting!

Dear neighbor,

The Gowanus Canal is infamously one of the most polluted bodies of water in the United States — but did you know that there is work being done to clean it up?

In 2013, the U.S. Environmental Agency approved a plan to remove polluted material from the Canal and address other sources of pollution along its banks, including three former industrial sites and changes to the city's sewerage system. The cleanup work, which began in November 2020, is expected to cost more than $1.5 billion dollars.

On June 30, the Gowanus Canal Community Advisory Group (CAG) invites members of the greater Gowanus community to attend a Town Hall meeting and learn more about the cleanup of the Canal under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Superfund Program.

The Gowanus Canal Cleanup:

A Community Town Hall


June 30 

6-8pm


P.S. 32

317 Hoyt St. 

Brooklyn, NY 11231

Representatives from the EPA's cleanup team and the CAG will be there to talk about:

  • Why the canal got so polluted in the first place

  • What the cleanup will change about the Canal

  • What's happening today, as the clean up activities are currently underway

  • What the canal might look like when the cleanup is complete

  • How the community can get involved in the cleanup

  • And more!

The biggest part of the Town Hall will be about answering your questions, though! RSVP for this event and share your questions in advance at gowanuscag@gmail.com

---

The Gowanus Canal Community Advisory Group (CAG) was formed in 2010 soon after the Gowanus Canal was designated a Superfund site and is the largest U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Superfund Community Advisory Group in the nation. We are made up of over 50 representatives from civic, environmental, business and community organizations, as well as individual members, from around the Gowanus Canal such as Red Hook, Gowanus, Carroll Gardens, Boerum Hill and Park Slope. 




Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Gather for Gowanus: A reception supporting the Gowanus Legal Defense Fund



Above:  My photo taken during Hurricane sandy in Flooded Gowanus. 

Please help support the legal case for Environmental Justice in Gowanus! This ecological justice issue concerns thousands of us here and now! You can simply purchase a ticket or make a (tax deductible) holiday contribution even if you do not attend the live event.
TY. Happy Holidays. Triada


Gather for Gowanus: A reception supporting the Gowanus Legal Defense Fund

You are invited to join us Wednesday, December 1st at Red Hook Winery with invited speaker Victoria Cambranes to support the Gowanus Legal Defense Fund and our fight
 for a just and sustainable Gowanus neighborhood.

Tickets include refreshments and appetizers.

HOST COMMITTEE
(in formation)
Katia & Glenn Kelly
Lucy Koteen
Barbara Woods & Steve Marcus
Joachim & Eunice Auer
Joseph Alexiou
Linda LaViolette


Tickets/Donations are as follows:
$500 = Listing and recognition at the event as part of the Host Committee
$250 = Listing and recognition at the event as a Supporter 
$60 = standard ticket 

Can't make it? Please consider donating. 

Tickets/sponsorships are tax-deductible in full as donations to Friends and Residents of Greater Gowanus (FROGGs), with the exception of $20 non-deductible food & beverage costs. 

WHEN
December 01, 2021 at 5:00pm - 7pm
WHERE
Red Hook Winery
175 Van Dyke St
Brooklyn, NY 11231
United States
Google map and directions
CONTACT
Voice of Gowanus · info@voiceofgowanus.org


Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Gowanus Community Groups to Take Legal Action Against NYC for the City's Illegal Actions Regarding Rezoning

This video below is a full VOG / Voice of Gowanus and FROGG / Friends of Greater Gowanus Statement:


CORD HISTORY:

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........

http://www.petitiononline.com/mod_perl/signed.cgi?crlgrdns