As we continue to adjust to the evolving COVID-19 situation, EPA and the Gowanus Canal Superfund Project Team are taking the necessary steps to ensure that decisions about cleanup activities at the Gowanus Canal Superfund site are made with the health and safety of the communities and site workers as the priority.  Our contractors are implementing health and safety plans specific to preventing the spread of the COVID-19 virus during cleanup activities. These plans require best practices for site safety, including face covering, gloves, and other appropriate personal protective equipment for employees and visitors, random temperature checks of employees, tracking employees who might be ill, and social distancing. EPA will continue to monitor site operations and The Gowanus Canal’s Superfund Project Team’s health and safety practices.

Update: November 2020

The Gowanus Canal Superfund Project Team (GCSPT) began mobilization for in-water work on the Gowanus Canal in September 2020.  The in-water work commenced on November 16, 2020.  The current work involves debris and sediment removal between the head of the Canal at Butler Street to Third Street, Remediation Target Area 1 (RTA-1).  The RTA-1 work is expected to be completed in approximately three years.

The remedial design for RTA1 was approved by United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) in July 2020.  This document incorporates results and lessons learned from two phases of a Pilot Study performed in the 4th Street Turning Basin (TB4), completed in December 2018, and EPA’s Pilot Study for in-situ stabilization (ISS) in the 7th Street Turning Basin (TB7).  This is a complex project that will generally consist of the following components:

  • Equipment, material, and personnel staging at the Support Site currently located on the corner of Smith and Huntington Street
  • Mechanical dredging along the entirety of RTA-1
  • Installation of bulkhead and bridge supports
  • In-situ stabilization in designated areas
  • Capping along the entirety of RTA-1

GCSPT continues to meet with USEPA regularly to coordinate construction activities with the other ongoing bulkhead installation work being performed by private property owners along the canal. This coordination requires a great deal of effort and attention to detail to sequence the movement of in-canal construction vessels in close proximity to one another. For the safety of workers and the public, the USEPA has required that the public refrain from using the canal during the in-water work.   If needed, all vessel movement should be coordinated through the U.S. Coast Guard and the USEPA.

Currently, GCSPT, including the Contractor, is using the property at the corner of Huntington and Smith Streets for support of the in-canal work. The Contractor is utilizing the Support Site for staging of various equipment and materials required for the remedy as well as a central staging location for project personnel. Necessary support facilities, like the canal water treatment plant, required to safely process and discharge canal waters collected during dredging are also located within the Support Site.

Coming soon!

Links to sign up for e-mail updates and more about the Gowanus Canal activities and monitoring data in the latest update.  Until the links are active, below is a summary of activities and monitoring data from November 16 – 20:

  • Began removing debris and sediment dredging adjacent to Former 1st Street Turning Basin (TB-1) and along the western side of the canal between Carroll and Third Street.
  • Completed relocation of a private dock between 3rd Street and Carroll Street and removal of timber piles south of Union Street bridge.
  • Continued constructing the transloading area by installing fall protection measures, gangways, and timber crane mats.
  • Conducted dewatering and transloading sediment from small barges (mini hopper) into the larger barges.

GCSPT has collected baseline monitoring data and will continue collecting monitoring data throughout the duration of the project. Monitoring data was collected for turbidity monitoring, water quality assurance and control, community air monitoring, vibration, and noise.  Data collected for each of these monitoring elements had no exceedances and were below set action limits.

Photo 1 – Began removing debris and sediment at TB-1 vicinity working from south to north.

Photo 2 – Began dredging activities with the CAT 390 and community air monitoring equipment near activities.

Photo 3 – Dewatering and transloading mini hopper materials into the large hopper barge.

For more information, please leave a message on our hotline at (718) 403-2451 and check back for an email update sign up form.

The USEPA Remedial Project Manager for the Site is Christos Tsiamis.  He can be reached by e-mail at tsiamis.christos@epa.gov or by phone at (212) 637-4257.

The USEPA Community Involvement Coordinator is Natalie Loney.  She can be reached by e-mail at loney.natalie@epa.gov or (212) 637-3639.

 

Gowanus RTA1 Dredging Fact Sheet November 2020

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For more information, please visit the USEPA’s Gowanus Superfund site.

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HISTORY

The Gowanus Canal was built in the mid-1800s and for many years served as as a major industrial transportation route. Decades of industrial use along the Canal contributed to the Gowanus Canal’s environmental impacts. In addition, contamination flows into the canal from overflows from sewer systems that carry sanitary waste from homes and rainwater from storm drains and industrial pollutants. As a result, on March 4, 2010, USEPA added the Gowanus Canal to the National Priorities List of sites.

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