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Will this man survive a swim of the Gowanus Canal?

Christopher Swain will attempt to swim the Gowanus Canal on Wednesday to raise awareness for clean water.swimwithswain.org

Christopher Swain will attempt to swim the Gowanus Canal on Wednesday to raise awareness for clean water.

Swim or die trying.

A clean water advocate will plunge into the Gowanus Canal on Wednesday in an Earth Day stunt to highlight the horrific condition of the fetid, venereal-disease-filled 1.8-mile corpse of water in the heart of Brooklyn.

“The Gowanus Canal has been stolen from anyone who wants to exercise to their right to fish, paddle, and swim so what do you do? You steal it back,” said the swimmer Christopher Swain, who has plied the Columbia, Hudson, Mohawk, Charles and Mystic rivers to promote clean water.

Swain says he will don protective gear as he swims the length of the so-called “Lavender Lake,” which overflows with raw sewage whenever it rains.

The Gowanus Canal is a fetid corpse of water.Noonan Jeanne Freelance NYDN

The Gowanus Canal is a fetid corpse of water.

The Gowanus Canal is a fetid corpse of water.Noonan Jeanne Freelance NYDN

The Gowanus Canal is a fetid corpse of water.

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  • The Gowanus Canal is a fetid corpse of water.
  • The Gowanus Canal is a fetid corpse of water.

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The canal, which was one of the country’s busiest waterways when it was built in the 1860s, is also plagued by industrial waste, fuel slicks, trash, mercury, bacteria and viruses, including gonorrhea.

Swain says his swim will showcase the need for an expedited cleanup of the canal, which is a federal Superfund site, yet has experienced delays in its renaissance. His attempt to go down what many Brooklynites call “S–t’s Creek” was first reported Monday in The Brooklyn Paper.

“It isn’t meant to be a stunt, it’s just meant to be a swimmer imagining a day when everybody can swim it,” Swain, 47, told the Daily News. “I don’t think big changes happen unless someone is willing to put themselves on the line.”

Sludgie died trying in 2007.

Sludgie died trying in 2007.

If he survives, he will be a rare animal, indeed. Many dolphins have died making the journey, and even an effort to reintroduce pollution-eating oysters to their former home was a disaster as the wastewater treatment plants of the sea died.

And in 2007, a small whale also succumbed to the toxins.

That baby minke wandered into the canal after a nor’easter and couldn’t find his way out. Locals named him Sludgie and rooted for him to survive, but he died in less than two days. His bones later became part of an exhibit in Gowanus to show people just how rancid the canal was.

mengel@nydailynews.com

Lifestyle – NY Daily News

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