The Gowanus Canal’s flushing tunnel is back online, but it is anybody’s guess how long it will be before the crusty tube goes silent again. Join us for a look back at the putrid pipe’s history.
1911: The canal is gross after four decades as an industrial waterway. The flushing tunnel is built to push water from the channel into the New York Harbor.
1961: Service on the tube is suspended due to mechanical failure.
1994: The Department of Environmental Protection begins a rehabilitation of the system, reversing the flow to bring harbor water into the head of the fetid canal.
1999: Work is completed and the pumps are turned on again. The city proclaims that schools of fish and blue crabs have miraculously returned.
2008: The city announces that it will close the pipe for two years to prep for the canal’s federal Superfund clean-up.
2010: The drainage system comes back online briefly, but then closes for further repairs.
May 2013: Mayor Bloomberg declares that the city will spend $160-million to make the tube move 215-million gallons of seawater into the canal every day — 60-million gallons more than it could prior to the 2010 shutdown.
December 2013: City officials hail the reactivation of the tunnel, which they say will bring up 100-million gallons of fresh water daily, for now.
— Megan Riesz