Gowanus residents have started expressing concern over the remnants of flooding in Gowanus, considering the toxic state of the canal. A reader tells us: “Business and housing in the flooded areas are currently covered with a sludge coating of toxic waste left behind when the Gowanus water receded, but EPA is apparently issuing statements to the effect that there is nothing to worry about, despite the contents of their own report noting human health hazards in the surface and ground sediments of the Gowanus — which are now all over the floors of homes and offices.” The New York Daily News reported that the EPA didn’t see significant health risks because most of what spilled was ocean water. Over the weekend, residents were still pumping out flood water; the state sent emergency management teams to assist with the cleanup last week. Council Member Brad Lander also released this statement last night:
Before Hurricane Sandy hit, I contacted the US Environmental Protection Agency and NYC Department of Environmental Protection with concerns about flooding around the canal from storm surge and got a commitment from both agencies to do testing and address potential issues of toxicity created by the flooding. The EPA has now taken samples of flood water from two Gowanus businesses and will update us as soon as they have results.