The city could be on the hook to help pay for a federal Superfund cleanup of the Gowanus Canal, officials said.
While the EPA will mostly be going after industrial polluters who spewed chemicals and heavy metals such as mercury and arsenic into the canal, city-owned sewers cause additional pollution when they overflow into the waterway.
Millions of gallons of waste water - laced with raw human waste and oil, pesticides and other chemicals from street runoff - can end up in the canal when heavy rains cause sewers to overflow.
Sewers overflow into the Gowanus up to 75 times a year, dumping some 300 million gallons of sewage into the waterway, said Department of Environmental Protection spokeswoman Mercedes Padilla.
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