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NEW YORK CITY-The Bloomberg administration will implement its own plan to rehabilitate the Gowanus Canal, a move that city officials hope will circumvent a possible federal Superfund designation for the long-polluted Brooklyn waterway. Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Friday announced the start of a $150-million project to improve water quality in the canal and said the plan would get the job done faster than going through the Superfund process, which could stymie development near the site for decades.

“This project is a big step toward a comprehensive clean-up that will reduce odors, improve the canal’s ecology and encourage recreational use of this waterway,” Bloomberg said Friday. “And by continuing our partnership with the Army Corps of Engineers–instead of risking years of delay through the Superfund process–we can get the canal cleaned-up as thoroughly as Superfund, but more quickly and efficiently so that this neighborhood continues to grow and thrive.”

With a proposed 25-block rezoning of the Gowanus Canal corridor in the works, the city in July submitted an alternative cleanup plan for review by the US Environmental Protection Agency, which in April proposed putting the canal on the Superfund list. According to a release, the plan averts “the risk of capital flight and disinvestment that can occur with a Superfund designation in a dense, vital and developing neighborhood like Gowanus.” The EPA is still reviewing the city’s proposal, the release states.

The release from the mayor’s office says the Gowanus Facilities Upgrade Project is already fully funded with city capital dollars and is scheduled for completion in 2013. According to the release, the project will “reduce combined sewer overflows into the canal, reduce the floatable debris associated with combined sewer overflows, decrease pathogen concentration, enhance dissolved oxygen levels and enable the canal to achieve secondary contact water quality standards.” It entails upgrading the wastewater treatment facilities at the head of the canal, rehabilitating the century-old flushing tunnel and dredging the canal.

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