Toxic Gowanus Sludge May Be Buried Under a Swimming Pool

February 5, 2013 | Andy Cush

The latest proposal to clean up and deal with the toxic waste  that’s plaguing Brooklyn’s Gowanus canal involves building giant holding tanks underneath the nearby Douglass & DeGraw swimming pool, which would catch and store raw sewage before it hits the waterway.

Ensuring that the canal isn’t hit with excess waste every time sewers overflow is a crucial part of the EPA’s $500 million Superfund plan to clean up the waterway, but some neighbors are understandably upset about what the proposal would mean for the future and safety of the pool. “You’ll have millions of gallons of raw sewage beneath the pool and I just don’t see how that is safe,” said Gowanus resident Sabine Aronowsky. “This shouldn’t happen — I don’t feel comfortable with it and I don’t know any parent that would.”

But the EPA maintains that the cleanup is necessary, even if it pisses off the neighbors. “Almost all segments of the community along the canal will be inconvenienced for a short time in one way or another,” said project manager Christos Tsiamis. “So for the short term there will be inconvenience for the long term benefit.”

(Photo: vige/Flickr)