Tuesday, March 02, 2010

How to confuse yourself on your lunch hour

One step this time -

Read this.

The Gowanus Canal has been designated a Superfund site.

That's good, right? No -- wait -- that's bad???

I'm so confused.
:S |>
Dennis G. Moonstruck, fire at will!

NEXT post frolicsome. I Promise!

Note, several hours later - in a sort of funny/embarrassing development, it turns out that the above photo was not taken on the Gowanus Canal, but on the shore of some little Red Hook Nook about half a mile away. There used to be a very distinctive sugar refinery in the area (it was still there at the time I took this) that I'd always thought was on the shore of the canal & it turns out that no, it wasn't ! Now, see, if I had ever actually gone for a canoe ride with the Gowanus Dredgers instead of just talking about it, I would've known better! Tugster Will filled me in on my error & said he'd look for an actual photograph of the Gowanus Canal. Leaving this one up in the meantime 'cause it IS nearby & does at least give a clear idea of the heavily industrial flavor of the area's waterfront. BTW, about the "getting better" part? Tugster said it's still pretty disgusting.


moonstruck said...

It sounds like the clean-up will take longer and cost more money under super fund status??? Is Newtown Creek next? I thought that I had read somewhere that the circulation pumps had been re started and some real progress has already been made???

Dennis G

Tillerman said...

One good thing seems to be that under Superfund status the parties that caused the pollution will have to pay the costs of cleaning it up, including the city, the navy, and a long list of companies.

bonnie said...

"including the city," - no wonder Bloomberg would've liked to do it his own way. "Will take longer and cost more money under super fund status" - well, this is not a foregone conclusion but that sounds a lot like it could translate to "more thorough".

Dennis, you're right, there's a circulation tunnel with a big propeller that's designed to keep the water moving - the tunnel had been there for years but the impeller mechanism got broken sometime in the 60's. It was repaired & restarted in the 90's and did improve the water quality, made it smell better & such. But it's still pretty mucky-looking (I don't think I'd take my kayak in there, although I really do want to go try one of the Dredger's canoe rides sometime) and the sludge at the bottom is completely toxic.

And oh, yes, Newtown Creek needs help. Huge underground oil spill there, really a mess, "twice the size of the Exxon Valdez spill" is the catchphrase you hear a lot describing that.

I wonder if they went for the Gowanus first because in comparison, it's simple...

moonstruck said...

I believe that the parties have already comitted to pay. The worst culprits are long gone / out of business.

Dennis G

bonnie said...

Which one, Newtown Creek? Yeah, nearly got into that, I don't even know what all is going on there, Exxon is or at least was already working on cleanup there, but there's a big lawsuit by Greenpoint residents who say Exxon & the other polluters need to be doing more & faster.

That was all part of what I was thinking of when I made that sort of flip comment about the Gowanus Canal being a simpler project. I wasn't just thinking physically, I was thinking legally & politically too.

O Docker said...

This isn't confusing at all.

It's simply a question of deciding who won't clean things up.

The city has a quick way of not cleaning things up - pretend things are being cleaned up so that developers will invest in local properties and pay the city taxes.

The feds' way of not cleaning things up will take much longer - have a bunch of bureaucrats engage the lawyers of the companies who don't want to clean things up so that the companies themselves can pretend that things are actually getting cleaned up.

The New York Times couldn't come right out and explain any of this because they don't have the money to retain as many lawyers at they used to.

See, that's not confusing.

Pat said...

Now, O, help me out with my little bit of confusion on this issue:

Where is it that the lawyers end and the toxic waste begins?

moonstruck said...

Its not about clean-ups. Its about lawyers collecting fees and "scientists" getting grants to do "studies". Has anyone actually read through an eviormental impact statement? After 20 years of "studies" , the re suspension of PCB's from the Hudson River dredging was twentyfive times higher than the expert forcasts. So they are taking a year off from dredging to do more "studies". We are talking about lifetime careers for a bunch of people on the government dole. Last thing they want is to post a headline that says "WE ARE DONE" Because then they are out of a job!!!

Dennis G

doryman said...

Regardless of how efficient (or inefficient as the case may be)a governmental body may be, it is far better to address an issue than to pass the buck. To say no one has jurisdiction is an invitation to abuse. Accountability is the word. If our representatives in Washington make ambiguous laws that don't suit our interests, kick 'em out!
It's possible that our major water ways are hopelessly polluted and the regulators will never be without work.
We can't wait until bonnie launches her kayak one day and it melts.