An official website of the United States government.

This is not the current EPA website. To navigate to the current EPA website, please go to This website is historical material reflecting the EPA website as it existed on January 19, 2021. This website is no longer updated and links to external websites and some internal pages may not work. More information »


Case Summary: EPA Issues Two Orders for Remedial Design Work at the Gowanus Canal Site in New York

In March and May of 2014, EPA issued unilateral administrative orders (UAOs) to potentially responsible parties (PRPs) to conduct remedial design work associated with cleanup of the Gowanus Canal Superfund Site in Brooklyn, N.Y. The value of design work associated with these orders is $38 to $40 million.

On March 21, 2014 EPA issued a UAO to a large group of PRPs, including National Grid, to conduct the remedial design primarily for the dredging portion of the cleanup remedy at the Gowanus Canal Superfund Site. This portion of the remedial design is valued at $35 million.

On May 28, 2014, EPA issued a UAO to New York City to conduct the remedial design on a portion of the Gowanus Canal, including the siting of the sewage holding tanks. The value of this UAO is $3 to $5 million.

On this page:

Information about the Potentially Responsible Parties

There are many PRPs associated with the Gowanus Canal Superfund Site. Some of the larger PRPs include: the City of New York and National Grid. National Grid operated former manufactured gas plants along the Gowanus Canal; today it is a major supplier of electricity and natural gas.

Information about the Gowanus Canal Superfund Site

The Gowanus Canal Superfund Site, located in Brooklyn, N.Y., is bounded by several communities including Park Slope, Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens and Red Hook. The canal empties into New York Harbor. On March 2, 2010, EPA added the Gowanus Canal to the Agency’s Superfund National Priorities List (NPL).

Completed in 1869, the Gowanus Canal was once a major transportation route for the then separate cities of Brooklyn and New York City. Manufactured gas plants, mills, tanneries, and chemical plants are among the many facilities that operated along the canal. As a result of years of discharges, storm water runoff, sewer outflows and industrial pollutants, the Gowanus Canal has become one of the nation's most extensively contaminated water bodies. Contaminants include polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), coal tar wastes, heavy metals and volatile organics. The contamination poses a threat to the nearby residents who use the canal for fishing and recreation.

Separately this fiscal year, EPA entered into a Bona Fide Prospective Purchaser (BFPP) Performing Removal Work Agreement worth $20 million with The Lightstone Group to conduct sampling, cleanup work, and other activities along the Gowanus Canal. More information on the BFPP settlement is available from the Gowanus Canal BFPP settlement case summary Web page.

Additional information is available from the Agency’s Gowanus Canal website.

Top of Page

Information about the Unilateral Administrative Orders

The UAOs are orders to conduct remedial design at the Gowanus Canal Site. Remedial design is the phase in Superfund site cleanup where the technical specifications for cleanup remedies and technologies are developed. Thus, the technical specifications for the dredging and the tank siting will be designed under these orders.

Top of Page

Contact Information

For information contact

Meredith Fishburn
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20460
202 564-4790

Top of Page