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Simple Answers to Common Questions about the Gowanus Canal Cleanup

It took nearly 150 years of neglect for the Gowanus Canal to earn the distinction as one of the nation’s most extensively polluted waterways. It will take years of complicated effort to clean it.

Now, the public has a simple 3-page roadmap for understanding how the canal’s cleanup will proceed, thanks to an effort by the Gowanus Canal Superfund Community Advisory Group, with help from Riverkeeper.

In 2010, at the urging of Riverkeeper and others, the Environmental Protection Agency designated the Gowanus as a Superfund site, and began the process of planning a cleanup.

At this point, the EPA has conducted a study of the contamination, proposed a variety of potential cleanup options, and is deciding between two similar approaches that would involve dredging contaminated sediments and capping what remains to prevent the future spread of pollutants. The EPA is expected to choose its preferred cleanup option by the end of the year, and the public will have an opportunity to comment before the decision is final.

For more detail, read the Gowanus Superfund Site Community Guide, or its 3-page summary. Get up to speed on the cleanup plans to date and be prepared to comment when the EPA releases its proposal later this year.

To get involved in Riverkeeper’s work on the Gowanus Canal and other clean water initiatives, join the Brooklyn Riverkeeper Action Group by contacting Dana Gulley, Outreach Coordinator, at [email protected] or 914-478-4501 x222.

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