Sources: Environmental Protection Agency Region 2, New York City; Quadrozzi Concrete Corp., Flushing, N.Y.; CP staff
Recent designation of the Gowanus Canal, Brooklyn, N.Y., as a Superfund site stands to disrupt aggregate and cement barge traffic for Empire Transit Mix, Ferrara Bros., Greco Bros., and Quadrozzi Concrete Corp., whose plants reside alongside heavy metals, pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls, and volatile organic compounds contaminating the 100-ft. wide inlet. EPA proposed adding the 1.8-mile canal to the Superfund National Priorities List in April 2009, citing more than a century of impact from chemical plants, coal yards, tanneries, and oil refineries, plus more recent untreated industrial waste and raw sewage from the city itself.
A lengthy public-comment period saw community businesses and the City of New York oppose the Superfund designation, leading to an early-March announcement that the agency determined such action the best way to clean up the heavily contaminated canal. The designation allows EPA to oversee remediation and cleanup and pursue recovery of costs in the federal courts.
Quadrozzi Concrete President John Quadrozzi, Jr., has rallied against EPA involvement as a nearby resident, longtime supporter of the community, and Gowanus Canal Community Development Corp. and Southwest Brooklyn Development Corp. board member. The groups question the cleanup timeline and prospects for equitable cost-sharing among parties deemed responsible for the pollution--some of it predating the Clean Water Act of 1972.
The Superfund designation and longer-term prospects for the gentrifying Carrol Gardens neighborhood around the canal have prompted Quadrozzi Concrete to look downstream to Gowanus Bay. The producer is planning an advanced ready-mixed operation with abundant environmental and green building features at an affiliated company's Gowanus Bay Terminal, comprising 13 upland and 33 marine acres.
The operation will include high-speed/high-intensity mixing units and use a historic grain terminal to store temperature-controlled/moisture-conditioned aggregates. The plant is being designed to ensure uninterrupted pours for the 1,776-ft. One World Trade Center/Freedom Tower project, where engineers have specified low water-cement ratio, temperature-controlled concrete mixes. Quadrozzi Concrete trucks will access the WTC site and other lower Manhattan points from the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, near the Gowanus Bay Terminal. The producer and another affiliated company, NYCEMCO, already use Gowanus Bay for a bulk cement terminal--a floating silo converted from a cargo ship.