As with several of our blog posts, we touch on subjects that have been in the news for months and often years. The long-planned Gowanus Canal tank project is one such case.
Originally, the city was going to use two underground sewage tanks along the Gowanus Canal to divert raw waste from the waterway. Instead, Officials with the City’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) say that they will store 16 million gallons of sewage overflow—four million more than the two planned tanks. Some of the benefits to this new plan include decreased construction impact, and its potential to allow for more public space.
This blog post has to include some eminent domain news, and here it is: Last April, the New York City Council gave DEP the green light to use eminent domain to commandeer 234 Butler Street and 242 Nevins Street as the home for the larger tank and a new water filtration facility known as the headhouse. Meanwhile, the second, smaller tank was slated for a city-owned lot on Second Avenue near the Fourth Street Turning Basin.
But now, all of that has changed. In October city officials said that a half-mile, soft ground tunnel up to 150 feet beneath the earth that will store 16 million gallons of sewage overflow. Do the math and you’ll realize that it’s more than the tanks combined total. The good news is that the extra capacity would help in gathering waste and storm runoff that would typically pour into the canal, after treatment at the head house. The ability to hold more fluid means that the tunnel would prevent additional weather events from dumping millions of gallons of filth into the canal.
The new design also has a new price tag. It’s estimated that the tunnel would cost $50 million more than the original plan’s $1.2 billion price tag. That price includes land acquisition, head house construction, the creation of public space, and the installation of both tanks.
Also of note is the ability for the tunnel to be expanded. An important factor to look at is the rezoning that will be taking place at Gowanus, with new residential buildings and the resulting population growth.
This story is definitely to be continued, as EPA officials could not comment during the recent government shutdown.