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Opponents Speak Out Against Plan to Dump River Dredgings Into Lake Erie

Friday, March 7, 2014 at 3:05 PM

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Ohio EPA hears public comments on proposed open lake placement of river dredgings.

About two dozen people spoke out recently against a plan by the Army Corps of Engineers to dump river dredgings into Lake Erie. Ideastream’s Anne Glausser has more from the March 6th Ohio EPA hearing held in downtown Cleveland.

Opponents of the plan dominated the hearing at Cleveland Public Library after a power outage scuttled a formal presentation of the details. 

Advocates representing numerous environmental groups argued contaminants in the dredged silt such as heavy metals and PCBs could taint drinking water. 

In the past, dredgings have been deposited into manmade dikes. 

But now the Army Corps says they’re not as contaminated as in years past, and wants to dump them near a water intake pipe in the open lake. 

Cleveland City Council has passed a resolution opposing the plan and urging the Ohio EPA to deny it certification. 

Here’s council member Michael Polensek.

POLENSEK:  We are in support of dredging of the river, of the harbor, and all appropriate areas adjacent to it, to support commerce.  However, we are vehemently opposed to the depositing of the dredging materials in the lake…We have no idea at this point how it will contaminate the water process, what we’ll have to do to add additional chemicals, additional treatments.

The public has until March 13 to send in written comments to the Ohio EPA about this proposal.  Comments can be sent to dswcomments@epa.ohio.gov. 

A decision on the plan is expected in April.

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Community/Human Interest, Environment

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