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Repurposing Cleveland Dredge Material Could Add Decades to Disposal Facilities

Picture of Sen. Rob Portman and Port of Cleveland's Will Friedman

The fight over dumping Cleveland harbor dredge material into Lake Erie could  be moot if an effort to safely reuse the sediment grows. WKSU’s Kevin Niedermier reports that cleaning and using that material for construction and other purposes is stretching the life span of containment facilities

Last year, the Port of Cleveland started the effort to reuse the dredge sediment, and it's looking for additional uses. Ohio Sen. Rob Portman has launched an investigation into allegations  that the Army Corps of Engineers purposely cut its dredging budget so it could put some sediment into the lake instead of more expensive containment facilities.

Speaking with Port of Cleveland President Will Friedman, Portman asked about the impact reusing the dredged sediment could have on the estimated 20 years the confined disposal facilities, or CDFs, have left.

“Would that be 80 years?

"Yeah, could potentially be. That gives us plenty of time. We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves but the CDF has become a sort of processing center, not a storage facility.”

Portman says he hopes the Army Corps of Engineers takes the cost savings from re-purposing the dredge material into consideration. Meanwhile, the cCorps has denied it purposely cut the budget to make lake dumping a viable option.