EPA: We found the money to keep Gowanus Canal cleanup going

EPA: We found the money to keep Gowanus Canal cleanup going
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

Just in the nick of slime.

The federal Environmental Protection Agency says it has rustled up the money to keep the cleanup of the sludgy Gowanus Canal running full steam ahead — just days after project honchos told locals that they were about to run out of cash.

“Work on the Gowanus is expected to continue using funding that the EPA already has,” said agency spokeswoman Mary Mears.

Project manager Christos Tsiamis on Tuesday told the project’s community advisory committee that he’d need to cut his team and the cleanup would slow down significantly if the Feds didn’t cough up more cash by mid April, but claimed his requests for more moolah had fallen on deaf ears.

“The silence has been deafening,” he told the group.

Two days later, the agency announced that it has found the cash to keep detoxing the notoriously filthy waterway until the project’s lawyers reach a settlement with the waterway’s polluters to cover the costs sometime in the next 6–12 months, according to Mears — by using money the local region already has in its coffers.

Mears refused to say how much that is, but Tsiamis had told residents he’d asked for $400,000–$500,000.

The agency had been working on getting the funding before Tuesday night’s meeting, but just hadn’t finalized everything yet, Mears claimed.

Questions over the cleanup’s future under the Trump Administration have been making headlines all year. The Donald wants to gut $330 million from the Superfund program, and state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and other local pols last week warned the cuts would reduce oversight and ultimately hold up the scrub.

But others dismissed that as fearmongering, arguing the whole thing will ultimately be paid for by the polluters and the project is already well underway.

Workers began preparing the canal for dredging last year and are set to start scooping up sludge later this year, but the entire cleanup won’t be completed until at least 2022.

Reach reporter Lauren Gill at lgill@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her on Twitter @laurenk_gill