Cuyahoga River Dredging Put on Hold Until Spring

The Cuyahoga River winds through Cleveland's industrial and entertainment areas.
The Cuyahoga River winds through Cleveland's industrial and entertainment areas. [Nick Castele / ideastream]
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The winter cold has put an end to Cuyahoga River dredging for the year, amid a lawsuit over where to store riverbed sediment.

Andrew Kornacki, the chief of public affairs for the Army Corps’ Buffalo District, said dredging will resume in the spring.

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

One of the dredging crew’s pumps broke down in the cold, according to Ryba Marine Construction, the Michigan-based company doing the work. That led to the decision to pack up until the weather starts to warm. 

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 Nov. 14. But according to Port of Cleveland spokesman Jade Davis, the worked ended this past Sunday as crews dredged the Arcelor Mittal steel mill docks.

Davis said there are more than five miles of the 5.8-mile channel left to dredge. 

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