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Gowanus Canal will be partially clean for the first time in over 100 years

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By spring 2018, the Fourth Street Basin will be cleared of toxic waste

Max Touhey.

Come next spring, a portion of the Gowanus Canal be will clean for the first time in over 100 years. The Environmental Protection Agency is already in the process of removing 10 feet of black mayonnaise that has settled on the canal’s floor as part of a pilot study taking place at the canal’s Fourth Street Basin. Once that process is complete, phase two of the pilot, which involves dredging work following by a capping procedure, will begin in December, to prevent recontamination from occurring.

At a Community Advisory Group meeting held in the Gowanus neighborhood earlier this week, EPA Senior Project Manager for the Gowanus Superfund, Christos Tsiamis, explained that by the end of the pilot study, a portion of the canal will actually be clean, reports Brooklyn blog Pardon Me for Asking.

“I don't know if you have realized it, folks, but this is the real deal,” said Tsiamis at the meeting. “You dreamt about a clean Gowanus, we dreamt of a clean Gowanus. We would like for the community to pass around the news.”

Phase one of the pilot kicked off back in December 2016 and involved removing large debris from the murky canal that were identified through sonar scanning. During the second phase, waste from the dredging will be removed and then screened, stabilized, and barged to an off-site facility. A multi-layer protective cover will keep new debris from settling at the bottom of the canal.

All of this is expected to wrap up in May 2018 and though the Gowanus Canal will be far from sanitary, it’s a major step forward.