CARROLL GARDENS — A city project to help clean up the polluted Gowanus Canal is on track to be done by the end of the year, despite flooding and other damage following Hurricane Sandy, officials announced Monday.
The city's cleanup effort, which began in 2009, includes an upgrade to a wastewater pump station to reduce sewage overflows and improvements to a tunnel that will pump oxygen-rich water into the toxin-tainted canal.
"Going forward, we need to continue making the investments needed to protect our drinking water and continue to rejuvenate the New York Harbor," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said at a press conference at the pump station Monday afternoon. "But they also have to be cost-effective."
In addition to the city's cleanup efforts, the manmade canal is also the site of a $500 million federal Superfund cleanup that won't be finished until 2022.
The city has spent $20 billion on the water system for the five boroughs since 2002, including $190 million on the Gowanus Canal, the mayor said.
“The upgrades to the Gowanus Canal facility are among the unprecedented investments we've made to protect our world-renowned water quality,” Bloomberg said.
“By committing more than $20 billion to safeguard New York’s drinking water and make our rivers and harbors cleaner, we’re ensuring that New Yorkers can continue to benefit from clean and reliable water.”
Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Carter Strickland said the plans include pumping 30 million gallons of wastewater to the Red Hook Wastewater Treatment Plant and adding new screening technology to catch trash and other debris near the mouth of the canal.
"This project is one way we are working to significantly improve the quality of water in the Gowanus Canal,” Strickland said. “And it is just one example of the investments we are making to improve water quality around the city.”