2009 CPEO Brownfields List Archive

From: Lenny Siegel <lsiegel@cpeo.org>
Date: Sun, 31 May 2009 10:51:39 -0700 (PDT)
Reply: cpeo-brownfields
Subject: [CPEO-BIF] Gowanus Canal (Brooklyn) op-ed in NY Times
From Gowanus to Venice

New York Times Editorial Notebook
May 31, 2009

The Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn is notoriously toxic. Since 1869, the mile-long waterway has been a dumping ground for sewage, industrial sludge, guns and body parts — its waters once too vile to search. Today you can still stand on a bridge over the canal and see unmentionables floating on an iridescent film.

The odor, once almost unbearable, has softened into an occasional summer stink, thanks to a flushing tunnel installed 10 years ago. A growing number of artists and young people have moved into the industrial lofts and row houses nearby. Some of the most oblivious have been spotted on the canal in kayaks, their paddles stirring 140 years worth of detritus from tanneries, chemical plants and more.

Now, these Gowanus pioneers want somebody to finally detoxify their hazardous neighborhood. They imagine it as Brooklyn’s little Venice, although a bit cleaner. The Environmental Protection Agency is considering naming the Gowanus an official Superfund site. That would bring in a slow but steady federal cleanup with money and the legal clout to force polluters to help pay.


For the entire column, see


Lenny Siegel
Executive Director, Center for Public Environmental Oversight
a project of the Pacific Studies Center
278-A Hope St., Mountain View, CA 94041
Voice: 650/961-8918 or 650/969-1545
Fax: 650/961-8918

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