Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Gowanus Parcel Detox Strategy Released

Public Place Site

The New York Department of Environmental Conservation has released a proposal for "remedial action" on the notorious parcel in Gowanus known as Public Place. The site--which is shaded in Valentine's Day Red on the image above--was once the home of a Manufactured Gas Plant created gas from coal and petroleum products. The facilities are notorious for leaving behind a toxic soup of residue, particularly coal tar. Other byproducts are sulfur and cyanide. (While the Gowanus site is partly empty, another former Manufactured Gas Plant site in the neighborhood contains a playground, among other things.)

In any case, the Public Place site is heavily contaminated with coal tar at depths ranging from 7 feet to 150 feet. Some contaminants have traveled underground and some have seeped into the Gowanus Canal. The canal issue is "still under investigation," according to a DEC fact sheet. The "prefered remedy" for the underground problem is removal of the contaminated soil to a depth of 8 feet. Coal tar deeper than that (and there is much) would be surrounded by "a subsurface barrier." Within the barrier, "mobile tar" will be removed through "recovery wells."

There is likely to be a battle over both the cleanup plan and whether to allow housing on the parcel. A PDF of the Fact Sheet can be opened by clicking here.

There is a public meeting about the problem and the cleanup on February 22 at 6:00PM. It will take place at PS 32, which is located at 317 Hoyt Street. The public comment period runs through March 14.

Related Posts:
More About the Mess Underneath Public Place
Will Gowanus' Public Place Be Sent to Detox?

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