Ohio EPA says no sediment dumping in Lake Erie


COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Environmental officials approved the
dredging of Cleveland Harbor and the Cuyahoga River but said the
sediment can’t be dumped out in Lake Erie.
The Ohio Environmental
Protection Agency on Monday said it will allow the U.S. Army Corps of
Engineers to dredge up to 225,000 cubic yards of material and deposit it
in designated confined disposal facilities, but not out in the open
The state agency and the corps had been locked in a
disagreement over whether the sediment was clean enough to be dumped in
Lake Erie.
The agency said it did not approve the in-lake
placement because of concerns about the potential of increased
polychlorinated biphenyls, known as PCBs and considered probable
carcinogens, accumulating in fish.
The state EPA said also that the proposal was contrary to federal guidelines.
Ohio EPA was worried the sediment dumping will increase toxicity in
Lake Erie fish, such as walleye and perch, that are popular with
sportsmen. The state said the plan would establish a "worrisome
The Corps of Engineers contended that moving the
dredged sediments to two lake sites five to nine miles offshore for
disposal would create "no significant impact." The agency says the
quality of Cleveland Harbor sediments has improved and now meets federal
guidelines for "open-lake placement."
"Using the confined
disposal facilities is the right decision and the decision Ohio and the
Army Corps made for 40 years," Ohio EPA Director Craig Butler said in a
statement Monday. "Placing the material in the open lake doesn’t make
sense for the health of Lake Erie."
The Ohio EPA said it would
Ohio continue to work with the corps "to more fully analyze the dredged
material in the future" and work with it and other parties "to develop
appropriate long-term strategies for managing and the beneficial use of
material generated by future dredging activities."
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