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EPA to Meet With Residents About Gowanus Canal Flooding After Sandy

By Heather Holland | November 23, 2012 3:38pm

GOWANUS — Residents whose homes were flooded by the Gowanus Canal during Hurricane Sandy can now get answers on how to protect themselves during the cleanup.

On Oct. 31, the US Environmental Protection Agency took four samples from the ground floor of two buildings that were flooded by the toxic waterway, which is a Superfund site.

The EPA released the results last month and has now scheduled a meeting with the community to discuss whether or not special precautions need to be taken during cleanup of floodwaters in individual homes.

“Our constituents are understandably concerned and have questions that need answers, so I appreciate that the EPA has worked with [us]…to arrange this public meeting with their officials,” said Councilman Brad Lander, who cosponsored the meeting along with Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez, Assemblywoman Joan Millman, among others.

The EPA took samples from one building located at the head of the canal, and another near the 3rd Street turning basin, and found higher levels of bacteria in both.

“While this type of bacteria becomes inactive over time, these findings reinforce the need for people to protect themselves when cleaning up flood waters that contain sewage and therefore contain bacteria,” the EPA states.

Toxic chemicals, like metals and volatile organic compounds; however, were found to be “below levels of concern” or not detected, the results said.

The samples also showed low levels of gasoline and diesel derivatives, the EPA said.

This meeting, scheduled for Nov. 26, will be the first time community members will have the opportunity to learn more and ask questions about the results and ways to protect themselves from potential harm.

“This meeting will allow the community to speak directly with EPA about flooding from the Gowanus Canal following Hurricane Sandy,” said Velazquez, who co-sponsored the meeting. “Residents will hear what EPA’s test results found and learn how to keep safe from potential contaminants in water overflows form the storm.”

The meeting will be held at P.S. 32, at 317 Hoyt St., on Monday, Nov. 26 at 6:30 p.m.