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EPA: Gowanus Canal Among ‘Most Contaminated’ In U.S.

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The heavily polluted Gowanus Canal on March 2, 2010 in Brooklyn. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

The heavily polluted Gowanus Canal on March 2, 2010 in Brooklyn. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (1010 WINS) – The Environmental Protection Agency has completed its investigation into the contamination of the Gowanus Canal and with no surprise they found its condition dismal. The EPA is calling the canal “one of the most contaminated water bodies in the nation.”

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), a known carcinogen,  was the pollutant most prevelant in the canal. The suspected carcinogen PCB was also found along with plenty of other pollutants including toxic debris and human waste.

“We’ve identified former manufactured gas plants that operated along the banks of the Canal, paper mills, tanneries and chemical plants all contributing to contamination of the waterway,” EPA Regional Administrator Judith Enck said.

Judith Enck strongly suggests staying out of the water and advises against eating any fish or crabs from the canal.

“Because of this historical pollution along with storm water runoff, sewer overflows and discharge of industrial pollutants the Gowanus Canal is one of the most contaminated water bodies in the nation,” Enck said.

The EPA says New York City has pledged $136 million to reduce sewage flow in the canal. A meeting will be held at P.S. 23 in Brooklyn later this month to further discuss the cleanup.

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