Thursday, January 18, 2007

The Ground Beneath Gowanus, General Neighborhood Edition

Gowanus Brownfield Map

What's under Gowanus? A little bit of everything, apparently, given the neighborhood's industrial lineage dating to the 19th Century. Among the many things contained in the 161-page Gowanus Comprehensive Plan is a sobering look at the environmental challenges in and around the Big G. The map above shows possible brownfield sites in the neighborhood based on their former industrial uses. (In other words, virtually every bit of land around the canal, and the historical survey used to create the map only covered land within a block or so of the canal.)

The neighborhood, for instance, had three Manufactured Gas Plants, which introduced a toxic soup of byproducts into the environment, including cyanide. The Thomas Greene Playground is part of one of the former Manufactured Gas Plant sites. The plan says, "the consultant does not have any information regarding potential community exposure" and recommends working with Parks Department "to determine if any community health risks do exist at this playground."

Of the former Brooklyn Rapid Transit Authority Power Plant that is part of the "Gowanus Village" site, the report says:
The former power station may still contain asbestos-containing material within its insulation and PCB oil within the remaining electrical equipment. The station was powered with coal, which may have resulted in coal tar impacts in the soil and groundwater. The property to the south contained several coal yards and a sulfur works, which are additional potential sources of contamination. To the north lies the filled-in First Street Turning Basin and stretch of bulkhead that has completely failed. Nothing for certain is known about when or with what the turning basin was filled in. In short, there are enough potential sources of concern at this site that the GCCDC should work closely with the site developer to ensure that any environmental impacts that are found are adequately addressed.
The table below shows some of the substances beneath Gowanus and their sources.

Gowanus Contaminants


Anonymous Anonymous said...

am I the only person curious if gowanus ending in anus was intentional?

3:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

most certainly

3:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Come on now! There is no listing for the contiminants comming into the area from the CSO's.
Street runoff carries all kinds of heavy metals and even SVOC (not even concidering what comes in from the sewage overflow) all of which makes it way back into the soil as the tides swish everything around.

5:56 PM  

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