EPA Proposes Encasing Gowanus Canal Sludge in Concrete for $500 Million

East
Friday, December 28, 2012
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The Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn. (Courtesy Bing)

The Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn. (Courtesy Bing)

Brooklyn’s Gowanus Canal is a Superfunded mess, filled with contaminants and often overflowing with sewage. But a new plan from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says that with proper dredging to remove contaminants and a mere $500 million, the former industrial hub could potentially become the borough’s inland waterfront.

The EPA proposes targeting the canal cleanup in three phases to minimize disruption to the neighborhood. According to the NY Times Green blog, “For the first two, more heavily contaminated segments, the agency plans to dredge or ‘stabilize’ the sediment in some areas by mixing it with concrete or a similar material and then capping it with layers of clay, sand and gravel. The third segment would be dredged and capped with sand.” Additional improvements to the city’s sewer outflows at the canal could drastically improve sewage discharges by up to 74 percent. Two public meetings have been scheduled for late January to discuss the plans.

Quick Clicks> Rethinking Housing, NYC’s Superfunds, Printed PCs, and a Big Box Makeover

Daily Clicks
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
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A small lot designed to hold 20 units. (Terri Chiao, Deborah Grossberg Katz, Leigha Dennis, Joseph Vidich/Peter Gluck and Partners)

A small lot designed to hold 20 units. (Terri Chiao, Deborah Grossberg Katz, Leigha Dennis, Joseph Vidich/Peter Gluck and Partners)

Form follows People. According to the NY Times, there might be a significant mismatch between “the housing New Yorkers need” and “the housing that gets built.” That’s why last monday, various NY architects gathered together to pitch their proposals to city commissioners for artist, musician, and other creative-type housing.

Surrounded by Superfunds.  Four of the most polluted water-ways in the country—all declared Superfund sites—are located in the Tri-State area around New York City.  WNET’s Metro Focus breaks down of each waterway’s problematic histories and the difficult task of cleaning them up.

3-D Printed. Wired reports that we could be only 2 years away from building circuit boards with 3-D printers.  Implications? Printed out PCs, printed printers (if a part breaks, that part can be printed out), inventory-less virtual stores, and easier work collaboration across the country or the globe.

Costco Bonito. While it might be difficult to call a big-box store beautiful, designers at Costco are certainly trying to punch up the retailer’s design in Los Angeles The LA Times has more on the proposed beautification efforts which include adding dark, woodlike metal-slats to the facade.

Gowanus On My Mind

East
Friday, March 11, 2011
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A view of the Gowanus Canal (all images courtesy of Gowanus By Design)

 

The Gowanus Canal has been in the news a lot lately, with its superfund designation and sunken schooner. The canal and surrounding neighborhood have long fascinated architects and urbanists, and has been the subject of numerous architecture school design studios. A new ideas competition looks to develop that fascination into a series of proposals for the site, which would improve connectivity across and around the polluted waterway and take better advantage of the area’s unique history, character, and economic potential.

Read More

Ahoy! Treasure in the Gowanus Muck!

East
Thursday, February 10, 2011
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(EPA via The Brooklyn Paper)

The Enviornmental Protection Agency is beginning its analysis and cleanup of the filthy yet fascinating Gowanus canal. It’s proving to be full of all kinds of junk, including horrendous carcinogenic chemicals and, as the Brooklyn Paper reports, a 60 foot long sunken ship!

Located where Fifth Street meets the canal, the wooden ship likely dates from the 19th century, the channel’s shipping heyday. What we’re calling the S.S. Superfund was discovered through sonar scanning, its outline is clearly visible in the image above.

This is the second time in a year that New York’s maritime past has resurfaced. Last summer another submerged ship was found buried at the World Trade Center site.

Quick Clicks> Distorted, Glaeser, Cincy, Gowanus

Daily Clicks
Thursday, February 3, 2011
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Kyung Woo Han's distorted-room installation, Calibration II (Via Today and Tomorrow)

Kyung Woo Han's distorted-room installation, Calibration II (Via Today and Tomorrow)

Distorted. In a nod to fun-house architecture, artist Kyung Woo Han created a physically-distorted room that’s made to look normal through a fish-eye camera lens. Today and Tomorrow has more photos.

Cities Rule. Economist Ed Glaesar talks with Grist‘s Sarah Goodyear about why cities rule the fate of humanity. He has a new book out called Triumph of the City in which he calls for, among other things, rethinking policies like highway subsidies and the mortgage tax credit.

Districted. Cincinnati is currently rebranding itself, and UrbanCincy suggests the city focus on an emerging core of design called the 8th Street Design District, home to 336 creative professionals including architects and designers.

Superfunded. Everyone knows it’s not a good idea to take a dip in the Gowanus Canal, but just how dirty is the Brooklyn waterway and Superfund site? A new EPA report lets us know and the Brooklyn Paper has the details. In short, its still going to be contaminated, even after the cleanup.

Gowanus: Sunk or Saved?

East
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
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The shores of the Gowanus are, for better or worse, likely to remain undeveloped for years to come (sahocevar/Flickr)

The Environmental Protection Agency balked at the Bloomberg administration’s controversial proposal to clean up the Gowanus Canal, favoring its own Superfund program in an announcement today, as had been expected. In a statement, regional administrator Judith Enck said  that, after much consultation with concerned parties, the EPA “determined that a Superfund designation is the best path to a cleanup of this heavily contaminated and long neglected urban waterway.” The Bloomberg administration opposed the designation for fear it would stigmatize the waterway and drive off developers who were planning projects on the polluted canal’s shores. Read More

This Stinks! But for How Long?

East, East Coast
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
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Newtown Creek spills into the East River and Manhattan. (Promaine/Flickr)

UPDATE:The mayor called. See more below.

It should come as no surprise that a local government supported the Superfund designation of one of its most polluted waterways. Unless that government happens to be the Bloomberg administration, which has vehemently opposed “blighting” the Gowanus Canal and environs by naming the polluted Brooklyn waterway a Superfund site. That opposition remains firmly in place. What is surprising, though, as the Brooklyn Paper reported Friday, is that the administration, in testimony submitted to the EPA on December 23, came out in favor of designating Newtown Creek, a place in constant competition with the Gowanus for most reviled in the borough. The big difference, it would appear, is that the Gowanus’ northerly sibling has but award-winning poop processors lining its banks, and not the prospect of condos. Though that prospect could be fading fast. Read More

Thrice As Smelly

East
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
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A picture of a cement plant—though not the citys asphalt plant—along the Gowanus Canal. (Courtesy Joes NYC)

A picture of a cement plant—though not the city's asphalt plant—along the Gowanus Canal. (Courtesy Joe's NYC)

On Monday, we reported on the Bloomberg administration’s continued vociferous resistance to Superfund listing for the Gowanus Canal. While the main complaint by the mayor was that the Superfund stigma would poison the area for development for decades to come, we did not mention—at least not this time—that a major concern is also that the city could be held liable for some portion of the Superfund cleanup because of a number of polluting properties on the canal. That seems all the more likely now—as does the potential for listing—as the Post reported yesterday that the city has been sent a notice for its liabilities. According to the tab, “The city’s responsibility comes through previous/current ownership of an asphalt plant, incinerator, a pumping station, storage yard, and Department of Transportation garage.” In an interesting new twist, the Navy was also served with a notice for at least nine “facilities where the Navy directed and oversaw government contractors which owned and/or operated facilities adjacent to the canal.”

Really, Toll Brothers? Really!

Other
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
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Would you really want this as your backyard? (emptysquare/Flickr via Brownstoner)

Would you really want this as your backyard? (emptysquare/Flickr via Brownstoner)

When developers began proposing sizable developments for the shores of the Gowanus Canal a few years ago, at best it was viewed as yet another gonzo deal conceived of those frothy boom years. At worst, it was a bad joke. After all, this is the same body of water known to carry STDs. And so, when the federal EPA agreed to consider the contaminated body of water for Superfund status, that could only be a good thing, right? Read More

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