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For Release: Friday, April 3, 2015

NYS Department of Environmental Conservation Seeks Public Comment on Proposed Remediation Plan for Site Adjacent to Gowanus Canal

Proposed Plan Would Clean Up Contamination at Fulton Municipal Works Site in Brooklyn

Public Meeting Scheduled for April 16; Comments Accepted through May 3

The public is invited to submit comments on a Proposed Remedial Action Plan (PRAP) to clean up contamination at the former Fulton Municipal Works site, adjacent to the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn, the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced today. DEC will also host a public meeting on the proposed cleanup of the former manufactured gas plant (MGP) site on April 16, at 7 p.m. at the Wyckoff Gardens Community Center meeting room, 280 Wyckoff Street, Brooklyn.

The PRAP announced today applies to Operable Unit 1 (OU1) at the site, which includes the property on which the former MGP was located and neighboring properties where contamination is present east of the Gowanus Canal. The site is a principal source of contaminants to sediments in the upper Gowanus Canal. In addition, remedial investigations determined that coal tar from MGP operations at the site has spread in soils below the surface, including under a portion of Thomas Greene Park.

"The cleanup of the Gowanus Canal and adjacent properties is a collaborative effort among state, federal and city government and the private sector, to address sources of the contamination affecting the canal and nearby properties," DEC Commissioner Joe Martens said. "This is another vital step to clean up the site and protect the canal, while minimizing disruptions to current community uses of these areas."

The April 16 public meeting will provide an opportunity for the public to ask questions about the proposed cleanup plan and provide comments. Written comments will also be accepted via mail or email until May 3. Comments may be submitted to:

Henry Willems
NYS Department of Environmental Conservation
Division of Environmental Remediation
625 Broadway
Albany, NY 12233
henry.willems@dec.ny.gov

The proposed cleanup plan would accommodate current site uses and future redevelopment, and also aligns with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) remediation efforts to prevent recontamination of Gowanus Canal. National Grid, which formerly owned the site, will implement and pay for the cleanup. The primary components of the remedy are the construction of a sealed wall along the western shoreline of the Gowanus Canal and the removal of any coal tar that accumulates behind it. Excavation activities would occur in phases as properties are redeveloped and will not require closures or relocation of occupants or current site uses. Contamination at Thomas Greene Park is well below ground and site structures that prevent public exposure.

The PRAP is part of a multi-tiered approach DEC has taken to help clean up the Gowanus Canal and adjacent parcels. Under a Consent Order with DEC, the NYC Department of Environmental Protection (NYC DEP) recently completed an upgrade to the Gowanus sewage pumping station and is implementing green infrastructure projects that, together, reduce combined sewer overflow (CSO) discharges to the Canal by 44 percent. NYC DEP reconstructed and activated the Gowanus Flushing Tunnel, which now circulates over 250 million gallons of higher quality harbor water through the Canal each day, leading to dramatic improvement in water quality. NYC DEP is also developing a CSO Long Term Control Plan (LTCP) to integrate both Clean Water and Superfund goals for the Canal. The LTCP, which DEP must submit to DEC for review in June, will identify actions to further reduce CSO discharges and improve water quality in the Canal.

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