Barge carrying toxic sediment sinks at Gowanus Canal Superfund site

In this file photo, a flower floats along in a sewage run-off on Brooklyn's Gowanus Canal, in New York. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

The Environmental Protection Agency is investigating after a barge carrying toxic sludge from Brooklyn's Gowanus Canal Superfund site sank back into the water, officials said Wednesday.

The barge carrying dredged material was moored in nearby Gowanus Bay when it sank on Monday, possibly sending pollutants back into the water, the EPA said in a statement. Dredging was halted to allow contractor Cashman Dredging to secure the sunken boat.

The Gowanus Canal, an industrial dumping ground during much of the 19th and 20th centuries, was declared a Superfund site in 2010. The surrounding area has transformed into a trendy neighborhood in recent years even as plans for a multimillion-dollar cleanup of the 1.8-mile waterway proceeded.

The EPA is investigating the sinking of the barge to determine the cause and whether toxic sediment was released into the water, the agency said.

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