Dumped! Canal-area residents angry that Gowanus won’t be clean

The Brooklyn Paper
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Get our stories in your inbox, free.

Like The Brooklyn Paper on Facebook.

Gowanus Canal–area residents say they’ve been sold down the river because a city plan to reduce the amount of sewage dumped into the fetid waterway will stop before reaching the ultimate prize — a swimmable channel.

“The goals are not nearly sufficient,” said Park Slope resident Josh Skaller, president of the Central Brooklyn Independent Democrats, at the Tuesday night public hearing on the city plan to decrease the waste that flows into the canal when it rains.

“We should have truly clean water there.”

Many Gowanus residents — and real-estate developers — envision a sparkling canal lined with restaurants and recreational space on its banks, like Riverwalk in San Antonio.

“I’m champing at the bit to build something like that,” said Buddy Scotto, a longtime neighborhood activist.

The Department of Environmental Protection says that passive recreation will be possible under its $212-million plan, which would reduce sewage by 34 percent. The reduction would come from improvements to the system that pumps water into the canal from the Buttermilk Channel, DEP said.

The agency will also skim the surface for “floatables,” said DEP Chief Kevin Clarke, using a popular euphemism for the fecal matter that is often seen bobbing in the dirty water.

“You’re going to see a lot less garbage in the canal,” Clarke told the crowd of about 50 at PS 58 on Carroll Street on Tuesday night.

Less waste in the water is good news for fish, who will be able to procreate, and for boaters, who will be able to kayak in the canal (as long as they don’t fall in).

But that’s not good enough given that the city hopes to rezone the area to encourage residential development with the canal at the heart of this burgeoning new neighborhood.

“I feel like [the DEP] is the professor and I’m the student who has flunked the course over and over again,” said Park Slope resident Marlene Donnelly, a member of Friends and Residents of the Greater Gowanus. “I’ve heard the same presentation so many times.

“Where’s the progress?”

Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Get our stories in your inbox, free.

Like The Brooklyn Paper on Facebook.

Reader Feedback

Enter your comment below

By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:

You agree that you, and not or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.