Eymund Diegel Explains why Phillips Corp is a Potentially Responsible Party of Gownaus

Eymund Diegel Explains why Phillips Corp is a Potentially Responsible Party of Gownaus

Site: Gowanus Canal

Author: Brooke Singer

Submitted: September 19, 2015

Visits: 3282

Eymund Diegel of Public Lab takes a moment out of his Aerial Balloon & Kite Photography workshop today to show us a circuit board that he dredged out of the Gowanus Canal and explains how it was a "calling card" linking Phillips Corp. to the contamination at the Canal. 


Transcript of video:


So I am at the Toxic Sites exhibit and this was literally  a toxic site because where did this come from? This was a momento from the Gowanus Dredgers. We pull out stuff from the bottom of the Gowanus Canal. And this was a circuit board, made about 1940 by the Amperex Radio Corporation that used to be right at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge.They used to make the radios for the Poseidon Submarines back in the Brooklyn Navy Yard days back around 1950.They had a whole bunch of truckloads of leftover circuit boards that they did not know what to do with. And what do you do when you have a lot of electronic e-waste you don't want? You come to the Gowanus Canal! We have a whole sedimentary layer of these circuit boards lining the bottom of the Canal. Specifially the 1st Street basin. We have been dredging them out or collecting them and using them to make quite attractive lampshades, which we call the Superfund Relight. Which is sort of a symbol of the revitalization of the Canal. What was interesting about some of these is that they had a stamp of the actual company who made these. As part of the Superfund cleanup process there is a cute little term called the Potential Responsible Party. And no it's not about a party, it's about who is responsible for the dirt. And in this case Amperex was bought by the Phillips Corporation of Holland. And we submitted this little calling card to the Gowanus Superfund team. And they wrote a polite little letter to the Phillips Corporation asking we see you been visiting our friendly neighborhood canal. Could you explain why this card is there? And that is in a nutshell the process of Potential Responsible Party. The Superfund Cleanup Progam looks at who did what, when and where. And then says who is accountable for the cleanup. And in this particular case, Phillips Corporation may be one of the Responsible Parties responsible for the cleanup of our neighborhood canal.