Monday, October 02, 2006

Gowanus Crapgate Update: Riverkeeper Weighs In

On Friday, we related some of the testimony about the impact that Atlantic Yards would have on water quality in the long-suffering Gowanus Canal and on deep flaws in the Atlantic Yards Draft Environmental Impact Statement in this regard. Today, we're passing along another installment in Crapgate. Riverkeeper, the environmental group that keeps an eye on water-quality issues in New York State (and that is a prime mover in lawsuits to force action on the Greenpoint Oil Spill), filed a stinging critique as well that says Atlantic Yards will, in fact, have a serious impact on the Gowanus and on the East River, and by extension on New York Harbor and various ecosystems.

"If built as proposed and evalutated in the DEIS, Atlantic Yards will increase both the volume and frequency" of untreated sewage discharges into both the Gowanus and East River, Riverkeeper's comment on the DEIS says. The group compliments Forest City Ratner for proposing the use of holding tanks and water-free urinals, but says the project will still have a very significant impact on local water quality when rainfall overwhelms treatment capacity.

The group also accuses the Empire State Development Corporation of withholding the consultant's report on water quality issues for so long that it failed to make "full and proper public disclosure" and "thwarted public participation." Atlantic Yards Report summarizes this objection and has been covering ESDC's stonewalling of Freedom of Information Law requests.

The bottom line is that there are already about 50 incidents a year of untreated sewage going into the Gowanus and East River. Atlantc Yards, Riverkeeper says, could results in countless more such incidents and million more gallons of raw sewage going into our waterways.

The PDF of Riverkeeper's comments is available via Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn's website by clicking here. It is a must-read for anyone interested in this aspect of Atlantic Yard's impact.

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