One year later, The EPA STILL HASN'T RECEIVED a response from the DEC regarding this letter.
VOG is Pleased to Share Great News About Our Campaign to Protect Public Health in the Gowanus Canal Community
Voice of Gowanus is happy to alert you that the U.S. EPA's Gowanus Canal Remedial Project Manager, Christos Tsiamis, has publicly confirmed our assertion that the New York Department of Environmental Conservation's proposed cleanup of the Public Place Manufactured Gas Plant site is fundamentally inadequate to protect public health and must be revised to control to massive contamination that threatens proposed low-income public housing, a school and the surrounding environment.
This is precisely what we requested in our: Coalition Letter Which Requests That Governor Hochul Comprehensively Remediate All Toxic Sites in the Gowanus Canal Community to "Pre-Disposal Conditions."
Mr. Tsiamis spoke at a 1/24/23 Gowanus Canal Community Advisory Group (CAG) meeting. He disclosed that he expressed his concerns in a letter sent to DEC last February, 2022. DEC shockingly never replied to EPA's letter.
Our respectful coalition letter now has more than 1,100 signatories. It requests that Governor Hochul strictly enforce New York's legal mandate to clean up Public Place and more than three dozen other toxic sites in the Gowanus Canal community to "pre-disposal conditions."
Send Governor Hochul a Personalized Request
Pleas use our web form to send Governor Hochul a personalized letter that echoes our coalition letter request.
Be your eloquent best. Please identify who you are, any groups you are associated with and every professional credential you can reference. Speak your mind. Explain your direct personal interest as a property owner, long-time resident or survivor of a potential environmentally induced ailment.
Echo our specific request for action. Avoid generalities. DO NOT SEND A PERSONALIZED REQUEST WITHOUT FILLING IN THE BLANKS.
VOG looks forward to working with U. S. EPA to require Governor Hochul to remediate all legacy toxic hazards in the Gowanus Canal community on a comprehensive basis. EPA has declared that the success of its $1.5 billion Gowanus Canal cleanup depends on achieving this goal:
"The remedy relies on the control of upland sources of contamination to the Canal, including the remediation of three former MGP [Manufactured Gas Plants, not in the original] sites adjacent to the Canal & Carroll Gardens: Public Place (formerly known as "Citizens Gas Works"); former Metropolitan MGP, and former Fulton Municipal Works MGP (Fulton MGP) (emphasis added)."
Our new campaign is off to a great start. Please contribute generously to keep our fight growing. All contributions are tax-deductible.
We will share more important news very shortly.
CBS New York coverage
Full press conference
Please become a signatory
Please become a signatory to a new: Coalition Letter which Requests That Governor Hochul Comprehensively Remediate All Toxic Sites in the Gowanus Canal Community to "Pre-Disposal Conditions."
Voice of Gowanus Cleanup Campaign
Voice of Gowanus is launching a new campaign to safeguard public health and the environment throughout the Gowanus Canal community.
Please join our effort today by becoming a signatory to a self-explanatory coalition letter which requests that Governor Hochul remediate dozens of highly toxic sites to "pre-disposal conditions" in order to safeguard public health and the environment around the Gowanus Canal:
New York's Shocking Failure to Comprehensively Remediate Toxic Sites Throughout the Gowanus Canal Community
The Gowanus Canal is arguably the most toxic contaminated waterway in America. The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is in the process of removing nearly 600,000 cubic yards of cancer-causing "black mayonnaise" coal tar from the canal at a cost of $1.5 billion.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, however, is responsible for remediating more than three dozen major toxic contamination sources near the shores of the Gowanus Canal. These sites release chlorinated solvents, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), heavy metals and cancer-causing polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).
Regarding its cleanup, EPA has declared that:
"The remedy relies on the control of upland sources of contamination to the Canal, including the remediation of three former MGP [Manufactured Gas Plants, not in the original] sites adjacent to the Canal−−Carroll Gardens/Public Place (formerly known as "Citizens Gas Works"); former Metropolitan MGP, and former Fulton Municipal Works MGP (Fulton MGP) (emphasis added)."
Citizens will be stunned by the array of toxic sites that New York State has failed to cleanup around the Gowanus Canal, including the three Manufactured Gas Plants referenced by EPA.
Take Urgent Action Today
Governor Hochul has no plans to remove staggering amounts of cancer-causing and otherwise toxic contamination up to 150-feet deep at dozens of sites that are documented to threaten public health in the Gowanus Canal community. Our goal is to require the Governor to enforce a critical provision of state law to remediate toxic sites on a comprehensive basis in order to restore them to "pre-disposal conditions."
Unless concerned citizens require the Governor to fulfill our request, many toxic sites will continue to release toxic fumes that can intrude into homes, schools and buildings. Increased flooding caused by climate change could spread highly toxic underground pollution throughout the Gowanus Canal community as Light-Non-Aqueous Liquids float out of the ground during high-water events. Finally, the areas cleaned up by EPA will become recontaminated in years to come in an epic exercise in futility.
Join the Voice of Gowanus Toxic Cleanup Campaign
Citizen activists needed. Take action today before it is too late.
To learn more about becoming an activist please join the group.
A larger map of the Gowanus brownfields is at bottom of the page.
Please print, share and send feedback to [email protected]!
Coal Tar is the bi-product of coal gas. Coal was brought on boats and heated to produce gas used for cooking, heating, and lighting. After the gas was captured, the tar was cooled in storage tanks. As seen in the picture above, the tanks were not well sealed structures and often times, the tar escaped into the ground. And not just the surface, but deep into the ground. The marshland, acting like a sponge, absorbed the toxic, volatile, chemicals. And since they are volatile (meaning that they are constantly evaporating) they release their gasses back into the air that we breath. Emitting toxic plumes that can be dangerous to our health and the health of the environment.
But isn’t it a Superfund site, aren't they cleaning it up?
Only the canal is actually listed on the EPA's list of most polluted sites in the United States. It will be dredged and then capped to prevent coal tar deep in the native sediment from bubbling back up. The land surrounding the canal, which includes the MGP and Brownfield sites, are being remediated by the PRPs (potentially responsible parties) under the direction of NYS DEC. In most cases, our State agency is only asking the PRPs to scrape the top layer of soil off and to install a plastic vapor barrier, leaving deep pockets of coal tar in the ground. This is grossly inadequate and is not a long term solution.
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
The VOC chemicals found in the ground, Benzene among others are known carcinogens. There is no safe level of exposure. There are State laws in place to protect us. But nobody is holding them accountable. We demand a more responsible clean up.
- To protect the Superfund from continued contamination.
- To protect current residents from breathing volatile air.
- To ensure that future residents don’t have to live on top of it.
The Big 3 Offenders of toxic pollution
- Citizens Gas
- Fulton Gas
- Metropolitan Gas
Citizens Manufacturing Gas Site
- One of most polluted brownfields in the state if not the country.
- Toxic Tar depth: 150’ below ground.
- Current Owner: City of New York
- Responsible Party: National Grid
- Location: Smith btwn 5th Street & Huntington
Fulton Manufacturing Gas Site
- underneath Thomas Greene Park & the Double D Pool
- Coal tar depth: 0’-150’ below ground and migrating to other side of the canal.
- Current Owner: City of New York, Parks Department
- Responsible party: National Grid
- Location: Nevins btwn Douglas & DeGraw (Double D).
Metropolitan Manufactured Gas Site
- Current location of Lowe's and Big Reuse
- Current Owner: Two Trees
- Responsible Party: National Grid
- Location: 2nd Ave between 10th and 12th St
Larger map of all Brownfields and Superfund sites around Gowanus
NEXT STEPS, TAKE ACTION
Heads up, Starting today, Monday October 17th, work will begin near the former Citizens Manufactured Gas Plant site to drill and collect soil and water samples and to further delineate potential MGP-related impacts that have migrated offsite.Read more
Students Report Noxious Fumes at city park to NYS Assembly Member Jo Anne Simon’s office. DEC retroactively confirms monitors exceeded toxic levels.
GOWANUS, BROOKLYN - On September 6th, staffers to NYS Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon and NYC Council Member Shahana Hanif revealed publicly for the first time that DEC confirmed the release of toxic vapors at levels that triggered an emergency alarm and work stoppage on July 27th at a worksite adjacent to EPA’s massive Gowanus Canal Superfund zone. The worksite is part of the former Citizens Manufactured Gas Plant (MGP), which is currently undergoing partial remediation and toxic containment under the supervision of DEC, an effort that has been widely criticized by the EPA and the community for its inadequacy.
Children who had been playing at St. Mary’s Playground—which is situated directly across from the heavily contaminated site—were the first to report to Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon’s office that they had smelled strong, prominent odors over several days, including July 27th. They were part of a camp run by the nearby International School of Brooklyn in Carroll Gardens and the smells, they said, seemed to be emanating from the former Citizens MGP site.Read more