Ready, set, no!
The long-awaited cleanse of the toxic Gowanus Canal got stuck in the muck yet again last month when workers hit a roadblock during one of the simplest parts of the cleanup, according to the man in charge of it.
Environmental Protection Agency honchos last September announced that the fetid waterway’s cleanse would resume in October, with workers installing bulkheads along its banks before removing some of the noxious black sediment from the canal’s floor as part of a pilot dredging-and-capping program expected to wrap this April.
But the bulkhead installation isn’t complete, and it’s anyone’s guess when the actual dredging will take place, the federal official overseeing the scrub told a crowd of locals on Jan. 23.
“I’m not going to give you another date as to when we are going to start,” project manager Christos Tsiamis said during a Gowanus Community Advisory group meeting. “If you had asked me several months ago if I would expect so much trouble with the simplest task, I would have told you, ‘No, it’s a simple task, we will finish it quickly and move on to the actual dredging and capping.’ ”
Tsiamis said workers ran into trouble while driving massive machines he called giant hammers into the canal’s banks to make way for the new barrier walls, because the equipment too forcefully shook the ground, creating fissures in nearby land and buildings.
“We encountered quite a few difficulties with the installation of the bulkheads,” he said. “The cracks became a little wider, and these are things we have to be very careful about.”
Workers will now use smaller, less-powerful tools at the Feds’ request, and only drive in one steel sheet pile at a time in order to prevent more ruptures — changes that will further delay the job that managers last fall said had no end in sight after it kicked off in 2016 with a completion date of 2022.
But doing the project safely is the agency’s top priority, even if it prolongs purging the Gowanus of its “black mayonnaise” once and for all, Tsiamis said.
“If we install one sheet pile at a time, that means we will be going much slower,” he said. “You know how much I care about the schedule, but when it comes to safety and other people’s property, that comes first.”
©2018 Community News Group
By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:
You agree that you, and not BrooklynPaper.com 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 BrooklynPaper.com 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.