In the (polluted) wake of the EPA’s decision to put off indefinitely deciding whether to declare the Gowanus a Superfund site, Riverkeeper has served notice of intent to sue three Brooklyn businesses suspected of dumping in the canal. The DOT also got a warning letter for allegedly venting dirty water from a barge docked by an asphalt plant.
Riverkeeper lawyer Josh Verleun says “We are really putting a shot across the bow. It sends a message to people who might think, ‘Oh, it’s dirty, it’s contaminated, no one’s going to notice if I dump something off the back of my property.’ They’re going to think twice.” A spokesman for one of the accused polluters, on the other hand, says “What they’re saying is off the wall, quite honestly. The Gowanus Canal has been contaminated for 150 years.”