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Army Corps prepares to dump Cleveland harbor sediment into Lake Erie
Ohio EPA has big concerns


 
The change in handling the sediment would be a first in 40 years.
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The Army Corps of Engineers may be as little as six weeks away from beginning to dump sediment cleaned out of Cleveland’s Harbor into an open Lake Erie. WKSU’s M.L. Schultze has more on the controversial plan, which will be a first in 40 years.

LISTEN: Lake Erie sediment plan

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The Army Corps says the toxic level of the sediment is low enough that cleaning it out of the harbor and dumping it into the lake makes sense.  The Ohio EPA, on the other hand, worries that will add to the toxicity of the lake. 

In a conference call outlining the plan, the corps noted that the open dumping five or more miles out takes place with sediment from Toledo, Lorain and Huron harbors. Only Cleveland still corrals  the 225,000 cubic yards dredged each year into holding areas. 

But others are asking if the soil could be put to other uses.The Army Corps’ Frank O’Connor says his agency is interested in alternatives but details are sketchy. 

“Although I’ve heard discussion of reclaiming vacant properties in the city using a combination of sediment and compost, I’m just not familiar enough with that end use to answer intelligently. Of course we support beneficial use. We’ve been actively engaged with the Port Authority USEPA and others to facilitate some of these recent beneficial use projects.” 

Federal rules require the corps to pick the “least-cost, environmentally acceptable” option for the dredged material.

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