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EPA Declares New York City’s Polluted Gowanus Canal a Superfund Cleanup Site

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency declared on March 2 that the Gowanus Canal will be added to the list of federal Superfund cleanup sites. The heavily polluted canal runs through an old industrial sector in the New York City borough of Brooklyn and empties into New York harbor. EPA’s decision will set in motion a $500-million, decade-long effort to clean up the former industrial canal, which EPA says is contaminated with PCBs, coal-tar waste, heavy metals and volatile organics. Mayor Michael Bloomberg (R) had opposed the EPA designation, fearing it would endanger real estate developement plans for the area. EPA will begin a risk-assessment study in the next few months but says that a detailed remediation plan won’t be ready until 2014.

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