NEW YORK CITY-To the chagrin of the Bloomberg administration, the US Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday said it’s adding Brooklyn’s notorious Gowanus Canal to the list of Superfund sites, marking the start of a cleanup process that could take decades. The administration had planned to proceed with its own plan to clean up the 1.8-mile canal, once dubbed “Lavender Lake,” on a timetable that that would be more compatible with redeveloping the area.

“It’s disappointing,” a spokesman for Mayor Michael Bloomberg says in a statement. “We had an innovative and comprehensive approach that was a faster route to a Superfund-level cleanup and would have avoided the issues associated with a Superfund listing. The project will now move on a Superfund timeline, but we are going to work closely with the EPA because we share the same goal: a clean canal.”

Built in the 1860s to allow access into Gowanus Bay, the canal has remained contaminated decades after nearby industrial activity largely came to an end. According to a release from the EPA, the canal, which is surrounded by residential neighborhoods along with commercial and industrial properties, is contaminated with a variety of pollutants, including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, heavy metals, pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls, metals and volatile organic contaminants. The waterway is still used for commercial as well as recreational purposes.

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