Monday, August 17, 2009

Coal Tar in Gowanus Canal and Poughkeepsie

Coal Tar was a by-product of a process which extracted gas from coal. The gas was used for heating, cooking and lighting until the 1960’s. Today there are hundreds of polluted sites in NYS, including many in the Hudson Valley, where the Manufactured Gas Plants (MGP) once operated. On the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn we routinely see coat tar bubbling to the surface from contaminated bottom sediments. But it’s not just a NYC problem. The second photo shows coal tar in the reflection of the new Railway Bridge Park at Poughkeepsie. This one is about 4000 feet from Poughkeepsie’s drinking water intake pipe. MGP sites are slowly being targeted for remediation by NYS DEC - which is a good thing.