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Gowanus Canal cleanup project

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Gowanus Canal (EPA photo) Gowanus Canal (EPA photo)
NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) -

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Monday announced a plan to clean up the Gowanus Canal, a Superfund site in Brooklyn. (A Superfund is a site where toxic wastes have been dumped and the EPA cleans them up.)

"This contamination took about 100 years to create," EPA's Bonnie Bellow said. "We have a toxic legacy here of heavy metals, such as lead and mercury, PCBs, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons... And toxins that affect people's health and the environment."

And taxpayers are in the clear. The EPA said the project will cost $506 million and will be funded by those legally responsible for the pollution, including national grid. The EPA said this change is long overdue.

"Our parents, many who have grew up in Brooklyn like mine have only known a polluted Gowanus Canal, our children and our grandchildren will now only know a clean one."

The plan will divide the 1.8-mile long canal into 3 segments.

The EPA said it will dredge about 600,000 cubic yards of contaminated sediment, which will then be taken out of New York City. When the project is done, the sewage will be reduced anywhere from 58 percent to 74 percent, the EPA said.

Brooklyn residents said they will welcome that progress.

"It would be nice to touch the water," one said. "Right now I never would. I think it's disgusting right now."

The EPA said the project will create hundreds of jobs and will start in the next two to three years.

When it's finished in about 10 years, you'll be able to safely boat in the canal, but you may not want to take a dip in it, the EPA said.

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