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Environment & Energy

Cuyahoga River Dredging Stops for the Winter

Picture of a dredging operation in Cleveland's shipping channel
Conditions are too cold to continue dredging.

The winter cold has put an end to Cuyahoga River dredging for the year, amid a lawsuit over where to store riverbed sediment. Dredging will resume in the spring.

The state of Ohio and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have been locked in a federal court fight for the better part of two years. The state is trying to prevent the Corps from dumping dredged material in the open lake.

In October, the Corps agreed to dispose the sediment this time in a containment facility just off the lakeshore. And shortly thereafter, the Corps awarded a $3.7 million contract to dredge the shipping channel on the Cuyahoga.

Work began on November 14. But according to a Port of Cleveland spokesman, the worked ended this past Sunday as crews dredged the Arcelor Mittal steel mill docks. 

Andrew Kornacki is the chief of public affairs for the Army Corps’ Buffalo District.

“The contractor has recommended that dredging of the remaining sediment be deferred until this spring of 2017 due to deteriorating weather conditions," he said.

According to the Michigan-based company doing the work, a pump broke down in the cold, and that led to the decision to pack up until the weather starts to warm. 

The Port of Cleveland’s spokesman says there are more than five miles of the six mile channel left to dredge.