Please scroll below to view the Project Team’s environmental monitoring updates. Also available on this page are past updates.
Public and worker safety during construction is the number one priority. The Gowanus Canal Superfund Project Team (GCSPT) has established a rigorous environmental monitoring program to ensure the safety of the site workers and the surrounding Gowanus community during remedial construction activities. During construction, we can expect some odors, temporary resuspension of sediment in the waterway, construction noise, and vibrations. Environmental monitoring includes air quality, water quality, and noise. Below, the GCSPT will post monitoring data recorded during work activities.
AIR AND ODOR MONITORING
To protect public health and the safety of workers onsite and the community where people live, work, and shop, the Gowanus Canal Superfund Project Team, under the supervision and at the direction of the EPA, conducts an extensive air monitoring program designed and implemented by a third party, independent of the construction contractor. Fourteen (14) automated air monitoring stations have been placed along the canal to detect the presence of volatile compounds and particulate matter (dust). Urban settings like the areas surrounding the Gowanus Canal contain background levels of volatile compounds and particulate matter in the air regardless of the occurrence of remedial construction activities, and the monitoring takes into account these background levels. Volatile compounds and particulate matter include both man-made and natural occurring sources such as smog, paint, asphalt paving, vehicular emissions (diesel exhaust), and even vegetation (plants). The 14 air monitoring stations measure concentrations of volatile organic compounds and particulate matter, both during cleanup activities and outside of cleanup work. In the event that remedial activities result in levels of volatile compounds and particulate matter above pre-set levels, our construction team is alerted immediately so that we can investigate and address the elevated concentrations through a variety of established protocols. This process of investigating and addressing these issues serves to protect workers and surrounding communities. In addition to the automated air monitors, the Project Team actively surveys the canal for odors during construction to identify and address nuisance odors that may be caused by the construction activities. The air monitoring program is described in more detail in the draft plan.
Significant noise during dredging activities is not anticipated. During bridge and bulkhead support work, noise monitors will be stationed along the canal to ensure that noise levels during construction comply with local noise ordinances. Noise is measured using the decibel scale. For example, normal conversation is typically around 60 decibels, and electric saw is around 100 decibels, and amplified rock music is around 120 decibels.