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go-go in gowanusHope Renewed That Canal Will Be Flushed. The cleaning out of Gowanus Canal, a thing long devoutly wished for by Brooklynlites will be a possibility within the next couple of years, if all goes well. The canal has been operating for the past half century without a good wash, and so it will probably not mind waiting a year or two more before undergoing that experience. The borough authorities have decided that the work of building the engine house and installing the turbine engine for operation in connection with the new flushing tunnel must be started this spring.

The flushing tunnel for the cleansing of the canal was begun in April 1906, and was completed six months ago. It cost $725,000. The tunnel runs from the head of the canal, near Butler street, about a mile and a quarter to the bulkhead line at Degraw Street and the waterfront. The tunnel is at level grade and twelve feet in diameter. At the waterfront, the outlet is two feet below the low water mark. Through this tube thirty thousand gallons of water a minute can be sent. This volume is sufficient to permit of the cleaning of the canal three times every twenty-four hours if necessary. The engine to be used will be an alternating current, 400-horsepower electric motor.

Ever since the plans were first prepared for flushing the canal there has been much discussion as to whether the water should be pumped into the canal, so as to force out its slimy contents, or whPR Gowanus, one of manyether the stagnant water should be drawn out through the tunnel, allowing the clean river water to rush in at the other end. It has been decided that the latter plan is the better. Most of the filth accumulates at the head of the canal, near the coal yards and gas works. It was therefore decided that to pump in water would be only to send the sediment-filled flood through the entire length of the canal, dropping waste as it progressed.

One reason that the Gowanus is so filthy is that the Greene avenue sewer and a number of smaller sewers have outlets into it. It costs the city upward of $30,000 a year to keep the canal dredged out. — New York Tribune, January 30, 1910

Junius Van Sinderen thanks special correspondent Caz Dolowicz for digging through his voluminous Brooklyn archives & transcribing this article for us. It is interesting, is it not, that in 1910, the Gowanus Canal operated half-a-century “without a good wash”? Yet others have– without any evidence– claimed the Gowanus Canal was “constructed” in 1848: which is, according to Caz, “total bullshit,” although, he hastens to add, “I’m old but not that goddamn old!” What gives, Community Board 6 (& others)? Who, both Caz & I ask, “constructed” the Canal, with what funds, when was it completed & what celebrations, if any, ensued?

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