Great Lakes Legacy Act Ottawa River Cleanup Underway

Dec. 23, 2009
Project partners will remove approximately 260,000 cu yd of contaminated sediment from river and Sibley Creek

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Ottawa River Group and the state of Ohio began construction on phase one of a $49 million cleanup of the Ottawa River and Sibley Creek in Toledo, Ohio.

Under EPA’s Great Lakes Legacy Act, the project partners will remove approximately 260,000 cu yd of contaminated sediment from the river and creek. The goal of the project is to reduce impacts to human health and the environment on the Ottawa River. This is the eighth cleanup of a contaminated site under the Legacy Act.

“The start of this cleanup brings us closer to the day when the public can safely eat all fish from the Great Lakes and their tributaries,” said Bharat Mathur, EPA acting regional administrator.

Sediment (mud) in the river and creek is contaminated with a mixture of heavy metals, PCBs and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons called PAHs. The sediment contamination in the Ottawa River is a key contributor to the fish advisories currently in place and limit the amount of fish that can be safely eaten.

During phase one of the project 15,000 cu yd of contaminated sediment will be removed from Sibley Creek, processed on site to remove excess water and transported to the city of Toledo’s Hoffman Road Landfill for disposal. Sibley Creek is a 1.1-mile-long tributary to the Ottawa River that enters the river about four miles upstream of the river mouth. The Sibley Creek work is expected to be complete by the end of January.

In April 2010 dredging of the main channel of the Ottawa River will begin. Some 245,000 cu yd of contaminated sediment will be removed. Dredging activities in the Ottawa River are expected to be complete by late 2010.

EPA is providing $24.5 million for the project through the Great Lakes Legacy Act, a federal program targeted at cleaning up contaminated sediment in Great Lakes Areas of Concern. The Ottawa River Group, a consortium of private businesses in partnership with the city of Toledo, will provide the remaining $24.5 million. The city is providing space in its municipal landfill as their cost share.

Source: U.S. EPA