Feds Will Build Tank Under Gowanus Pool Unless City Offers Viable Alternative


The Environmental Protection Agency overseeing the cleanup of the Gowanus Canal Superfund site said Wednesday they will proceed with plans to build a holding tank for sewage runoff under a popular public pool in Gowanus unless the city can offer a viable alternative site, The Brooklyn Paper reported. The cleanup would mean closing the Double D pool at the Thomas Greene Playground for years, and a group of Gowanus residents who rely on the pool in the summer vehemently oppose the plan.

The EPA needs an alternative site within nine months so they can start the design, said Superfund Project Manager Christos Tsiamis at a community meeting. But even if another site for the storage tank is found, the pool may have to temporarily close anyway. It sits on top of contaminated soil where a gas plant operated from 1879 to 1929. The state may require National Grid to dig up and remove the contaminated ground.

Feds Plan Big Sewage Tank Underneath Gowanus Park [Brooklyn Paper]

15 Comment

  • that area should definitely get cleaned up, but how did this idea come up of building a storage tank under a pool? ?? Why not put one in one of the industrial areas nearby, or under the Lowes parking lot for instance? The residents of this area need a place for their kids to go in the summer, the area really lacks amenities. Don’t deprive them for what is referred to as “years”. And that picture is not the double D pool by the way, but the much nicer situated RedHook Pool.

  • It’s going to be closed in either case, whether they put the tank in there or not. I don’t see any issue. Just build it and get it done with.

    • Why would they need to close it — because of the remediation of the site? The article indicates there is some leeway depending on the environmental analysis.

      Given that about half of the space right next to the canal between Butler and Carroll is devoted to parking, I really don’t see why this tank would need to be located under the pool. Assuming the city loses this fight and is requried to build a tank, it could easily go in any of those sites — remediation to prevent toxic sewage remediation would be a clear cut case for eminent domain.

      • Eminent Domain is the first thing I thought-of too… if there was ever a project in our boro that called-for it to be employed, this is it: a clear public benefit [actually, many public benefits], and the property taken is clearly under-utilized [and already in a quasi-industrial area].
        I know many of us have come to dislike the use of Eminent Domain after the travesty that was the approval process for Atlantic Yards [don't hate the project - just hate the corrupt way it was rammed-through]. But having done reporting on the Kelo case up in New London, it seems like the City and the Feds should be pursuing this option.
        Of course, who knows which crony owns those parking lots? As we all now too well, the sort of people who use the DD pool have zip political influence compared to developers.

  • Arkady

    Maybe it wouldn’t be out of service as long if they just did the decontamination. “Years” sounds really rotten.

  • Townie

    Sounds like some secret super villain’s plot to construct a toxic mega mikveh to turn local kids into evil minions. No doubt there will be some tiny aperture where both waters will mix unbeknownst to parents and guardians .

  • minard

    place a tank with toxic sludge beneath a neighborhood swimming pool. What could go wrong?

  • I heard this a few months ago, and thought it was pretty outrageous. But now that I read it has to be done anyway, and the gas company will pay for it, sounds like it will just have to be done. It is what is best for the community as a whole. Maybe they can have a shuttle bus to take kids to the Red Hook pool. I have gone to this pool before, and it’s pretty small, at least compared with the enormous Red Hook pool. It is not that far away either, and does have the capacity if they hire more lifeguards.

  • ridiculous.
    anyone remember “Love Canal” ?

    who’s bright idea was it to put toxic tanks under a kiddie pool?
    We really do have retards here.

    I think one of the basins, the little off springs to the gowanus canal (I believe there is one near the Lowes parking lot) should be dammed and drained and the tanks could be stored there. NOT under a pool where children go.

    This is insanity. Dig up a pool store toxic sludge under there, no one can find any other place, are you people kidding me????

    • The pool is currently sitting on top of a mother-load of toxic chemicals.

      And the holding tank needs to be near the top of the canal where most of the sewage is being dumped into the canal to work. There are limits to the possible locations for an effective holding facility.

      Putting the tank there solves both the need to remove all those toxins currently under and around the pool, and the need for a holding tank in the area.

      The city currently has a park with a huge holding tank and ball fields above, should anyone want to see what it might be like.

  • Here’s an idea: Since we’re talking about a canal, why don’t they build a seawall, drain the entire canal (or in sections), clean the think without the water, and then refill it? Seems like it might be faster and cheaper…

    • And just what would become of the filled in area when it rains? Just where would that extra sewage go?

      Seems you would need to fill it in entirely from the high point in the park all the way to Court Street so the runoff could make it way to the East River.