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Getting "Black Mayonnaise" Out of One of America’s Dirtiest Waterways

20 Jan 2021 9:59 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

A long-awaited dredging of the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn, a Superfund site, has begun in earnest. It may not be finished for at least a decade.

By Mihir Zaveri, New York Times

In the middle of the Gowanus Canal, across from a luxury apartment complex and waterfront promenade, a yellow excavator was perched atop a floating barge. Again and again this week, it plunged its claw into the murky water, emerging each time with a scoop of fetid black muck. After more than 150 years, the famously filthy canal in Brooklyn is finally being cleaned out.

Since the mid-1800s, industrial pollutants, raw sewage and storm runoff have accumulated in the waterway, making it one of the most contaminated in the country. As the surrounding industrial wasteland gave way in recent decades to gleaming apartments, and as restaurants and bars popped up on streets dominated by warehouses and parking lots, the noxious sediment — known as “black mayonnaise” because of its color and consistency — lurked below the water’s surface.

Now the canal is undergoing its own transformation. The Environmental Protection Agency has begun a $1.5 billion project to remove the sludge and clean the Gowanus.

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