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Reports: Scrap Metal Company Fined For Letting Debris Fall Into Gowanus Canal

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A scrap metal company has been slapped with an $85,000 fine for letting chunks metal fall into the polluted Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn, according to a published report.

New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman had not issued an official release on the subject Wednesday night, but DNAInfo and the New York Daily News reported Benson Scrap Metal paid the fine after investigators found out workers were letting scrap metal fall into the canal.

The scrap yard is located at 543 Smith St., near Hamilton Avenue, in Brooklyn. Almost three years ago, the blog "Pardon Me for Asking" drew attention to the scrap yard and questioned how much metal had likely been dropped into the Gowanus as a result of the operation.

"As 2010 begins, I wonder what the next decade will bring to the Gowanus Canal and its surrounding area," the blog said. "Will places like Benson Scrap Metal still be operating on the edge of our neighborhood ten years from now?"

It turned out that employees let metal fall into the canal more than 100 times between April 2009 and June 2010, the Daily News reported.

After a preliminary injunction was issued in December 2010, Benson Scrap Metal agreed to change its practices to keep metal out of the canal, and was hit with the fine, the Daily News reported.

Another firm, Simsmetal East, also agreed to best practices to keep metal from falling into the canal, the Daily News reported. Simsmental East provides the barges Benson uses to haul scrap iron and steel to a recycling plant in New Jersey, the newspaper reported.

The Gowanus Canal was declared a Superfund cleanup site by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2010.

The EPA last year called the canal "one of the most contaminated water bodies in the nation."

What do you think should be done to clean up the Gowanus Canal? Leave your comments below...

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