On Tuesday, the EPA announced the release of a draft feasibility study assessing the options for cleaning up the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn, NY. The Gowanus Canal has been on the EPA’s Superfund National Priorities List since March of 2010.
After hosting on its banks manufactured gas plants, mills, tanneries and chemical plants for several generations, the Gowanus Canal has become “one of the nation’s most extensively contaminated water bodies,” filled with PCBs, coal tar wastes, heavy metals and volatile organics.
A 2011 EPA assessment of the hazardous substances in the canal found that direct contact with water and sediment from the canal, ingestion of seafood from the canal, and inhalation of emissions from the canal all pose risks to human health.
All the different remedial alternatives considered by the feasibility study will likely include the coordination and cooperation of PRPs (parties named as potentially responsible for the contamination). As of August 2011, the EPA had sent notices of potential liability to more than twenty companies. Of those, two companies have made related disclosures in SEC filings (see Consolidated Edison Company of New York’s 2/22/2011 Form 10-K and Chemtura Corp’s 9/3/2010 Form 8-K).
You can stay up-to-date on Gowanus Canal news, as well as read archived documents of interest, on the EPA’s Gowanus Canal webpage.