Migrating Toxic Sediment Poses Little Threat, Say Cleveland Water Officials

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Contaminated sediment dredged more than 40 years ago is raising new concerns about the safety of the city’s drinking water. Up until the 1970s, sediment dug from the Cuyahoga River was dumped nine miles off shore. And now traces of those materials have been found drifting towards one of the city’s water intake sites.

Included in the drifting sediment are industrial products known as PCBs and PAHs. Both are considered harmful to humans. The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and The Army Corps of Engineers discovered the migrating pollution during tests conducted in the fall.

But Cleveland’s water commissioner, Alex Margevicius says the city’s treatment plants can handle any problem that arises from the sediment.

“As long as we stay vigilant and do what we need to do, our water will always be clean. This material is treatable. Again, it’s a concern but if the scenario comes up, we will deal with it," says Margevicius.

Officials say the methods already used at treatment plants will remove PCBs and PAHs. The city has been monitoring water going through the Nottingham Water Treatment Plant since March.


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