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Working Group 01


FACILITATOR – Josh Skaller

Download the meeting handout for Environmental Infrastructure PDF (340 KB)

Ongoing Challenges

  • Legacy of environmental contamination
  • Flooding from inadequate sewer infrastructure
  • Poor water quality in the Gowanus Canal
  • Flooding from severe weather

List of Ideas

Commission a hydrological study to better understand stormwater runoff and evaluate the impact of elevated properties on adjacent structures during flooding

Work with the Army Corp of Engineers to create a comprehensive flood mitigation plan for the area that speaks to property elevations along the canal

Reduce flooding, reduce combined sewer overflows, and improve water quality by:

  • Restore wetlands
  • Create parkland along the canal
  • Upgrade existing buildings to better manage storm and waste water
  • Require that City-owned properties become 100% run-off free
  • Install stormwater storage tanks
  • Install separated sewers, also known as high level storm sewers

Create a comprehensive remediation plan for all brownfields in the area (not one-by-one)

Create a coordinated plan for all environmental cleanup activities, including the Superfund cleanup, brownfields remediation, and flood mitigations

Create workforce development programs in connection to environmental remediation activities

Commission an epidemiological study to evaluate public health in the area

Reduce traffic by establishing ferry service, restoring the Union Street bus, and building bike lanes

Create a zoning plan that preserves the open sky


  1. Louis Kleinman
    January 24, 2014

    The epidemiological study to evaluate public health in the area should include an historical analysis, going back as far as practical so that a current picture of health can indicate historical projections.

  2. Carrie-Ann Bracco
    January 25, 2014

    A lot of these ideas are targeted at getting the site cleaned up and not further polluting in the future or responding to what is already the known flood risk. I would be interested in whether there are ways to make Gowanus an example of more forward thinking sustainable development. Where we don’t just try to return Gowanus to some sort of acceptable status quo but have development that actually seeks to become an example for how cities can become more sustainable environmentally. Whole Foods is a good example of this, I think they are trying to be mostly off the energy grid with solar panels. Can we somehow have zoning, plans or incentives that promote energy efficient buildings, carbon neutral buildings, green roofs, solar panels, maybe pilot some of the more innovative ways to deal with sustainability issues and climate change related flooding. NYC is one of the C40 cities. Is there some way to tap into the PLANYC sustainability plan more aggressively in Gowanus? I cant make the Jan 27th meeting, but look forward to following the discussion.