Gowanus Canal Sponge Park is Promised More Than $1 Million In Funding

Wednesday, August 11, 2010 - 2:00pm
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Grant will Pay for New Stormwater-Absorbing Parkland Along the Canal

GowanusThis is the Gowanus Canal: industrial buildings with histories of illegal dumping line the shore and combined sewer overflows and dirty street runoff regularly drain into the water. Earlier this year the severely contaminated canal was placed on the EPA's Superfund National Priorities List.

Trash PileGood news: An environmental restoration project called the Gowanus Canal Sponge Park has been awarded $185,000 from the New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission. The project is expected to receive $938,000 in matching funds from other sources.

The Gowanus Canal Sponge Park system, proposed by Susannah Drake of dlandstudio, addresses two issues simultaneously: public access and the reduction of contaminated water flowing into the canal.

Currently, the only public access to the water's edge is at street ends that terminate at the polluted canal. Ms. Drake proposes to build new parkland along the shores of the canal that would divert and remediate rain water, thus reducing combined sewer overflows into the canal.

Gowanus Proposal

The proposal also includes manmade wetlands and oyster beds that will help absorb and break down toxins. The project will begin construction this fall and be completed by fall 2012.

Weather Diagrams

Click here to see more diagrams and explanations of the Gowanus Canal Sponge Park.

"This grant will help build one street end Sponge Park™," said studio spokesperson Carissa Azar. "However the intention of the Sponge Park™ project is to build a Sponge Park™ system along the entire Gowanus Canal that will remediate contaminated water, activate the private canal waterfront, and revitalize the neighborhood."

dlandstudio has trademarked the Sponge Park concept and hopes it will spread across the country. The studio was recently awarded a grant from the NYDEP to build a Sponge Park™ in the Flushing Creek Watershed.

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