Gowanus Canal Sponge Park™

Brooklyn, New York, U.S.A.

Project Facts

  • Combined sewer overflows allow over 1.1 million cubic meters of combined sewage to be discharged into the Gowanus Canal annually. New York State classifies the water in Gowanus Canal as Class SD — dangerously polluted. Fishing, swimming, and direct contact with the water are highly discouraged.
  • The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has placed the Gowanus Canal on its Superfund National Priority List. This grant guarantees at least $1 million in funding to clean up the canal. 
  • The Gowanus Canal Sponge Park™  is a proposed plan to convert 11.4 acres of highly contaminated brownfields into an urban waterfront park. The design dedicates 7.4 acres to greenways and recreational open spaces and the remaining 3.5 acres to wetland basins that remediate the polluted landscape and waterway.
  • The innovative park design incorporates natural systems that use specially selected plants to filter toxic runoff water and absorb harmful pollutants before entering the Gowanus Canal.