Ohio EPA, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Work Together to Sample Sediment

A ship travels along the Cuyahoga River [Elizabeth Miller/ideastream]
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In a surprising turn in the Cuyahoga River dredging saga, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers collaborated with the Ohio EPA last week to sample sediment on the Cuyahoga River. The two sides have been arguing over the dredged material for years.

Together, the Army Corps and the Ohio EPA decided on the location and methods of sampling sediment.  The Ohio EPA’s Heidi Griesmer says the decision was made out of a time restriction.

"Their contractor was getting ready to begin the spring dredging," explaind Griesmer.  "If the sampling didn’t take place before that dredging began, there wouldn’t have been accurate results."

Both the Corps and the EPA rely on the same test results, but Griesmer says each agency interprets the data differently.

It’s that difference that’s at the heart of an ongoing lawsuit – the Army Corps says dredged material is suitable for open lake disposal. The Ohio EPA disagrees and says the sediment contains an excess of toxic chemicals that could harm Lake Erie.  It wants dredged material placed in confined disposal facilities.

The Army Corps will use the results of this latest sample when it applies for a permit to dredge the Cuyahoga in 2018.  

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