The project broke ground in 2009 and includes an upgrade to a wastewater pump station that will reduce combined sewer overflows by more than 30 percent. It also includes an upgrade to a tunnel that will feed oxygen-rich water into the canal to improve the water quality.
“New Yorkers consume more than one billion gallons of water each day, making it an essential part of our quality of life and economic growth,” said Bloomberg. “The upgrade to the Gowanus Canal facility are among the unprecedented investments we’ve made to protect our world-renowned water quality.”
Since Bloomberg took office in 2002, the city has allocated $20 billion for projects aimed at improving the quality of local waterways. The Gownaus pump station and tunnel system cost $190 million.
“A lot of people don’t like to pay water bills,” he said. “We paid higher water bills than you might like, but we’ve invested that in making our city a safer more environmentally friendly place.”
At a press conference on Monday detailing the project, the mayor was critical of the Environmental Protection Agency's own Superfund cleanup of the canal.
“I thought that we could clean it up better and quicker than the Superfund,” he said. “Remember, the Superfund isn’t really a fund. It doesn’t have any money and they are not down at the delivery end where you really do things. They are sitting in Washington pontificating.”
Despite his jabs, the mayor said that the city will “do whatever is required to get it done.”