NEW YORK — “The Bloomberg Administration has invested more than $10 billion to improve water quality in New York harbor, including $200 million that will reduce combined sewer overflows into the Gowanus Canal by 45 percent,” said New York Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Carter Strickland in a press release response to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) announcement of a cleanup plan for the Gowanus Canal Superfund Site. “As a result, the harbor is cleaner than it’s been in more than a century. city taxpayers bear the cost of these investments, and it is the city’s responsibility to ensure that what we build is necessary and cost effective.

“We have provided EPA with data and analysis demonstrating that the two large tanks they have proposed to address decades of industrial contamination in the Gowanus Canal pass neither test. The tanks are unnecessary because — as demonstrated by sampling data that EPA ignored — current overflows to the Canal have not and will not contribute in a meaningful way to contamination of Canal sediment from industrial chemicals, which is what the Superfund process is intended to address. And at an estimated cost of more than $700 million, these unneeded tanks are more than New Yorkers can afford.

“The city is investing billions of dollars in green and grey infrastructure to improve water quality and will continue to do so. But the clean-up of Gowanus Canal must meet the standards of every other investment we make. We are encouraged that the Record of Decision appears to incorporate flexibility into the future design of the clean-up plan, and coordination with the long-planned process underway with the state. It is our hope that the EPA and the state will ultimately conclude that building two large tanks is unnecessary to remediate the Canal, and not in the best interests of New Yorkers, who will foot the bill.”