Another Legacy Act Success: Ottawa River Clean Up Complete

Yesterday the Obama Administration and Ohio EPA announced the completion of a $23.5 million cleanup of the Ottawa River, which flows through Toledo and into Lake Erie. The project was funded through the highly successful Great Lakes Legacy Act. More than 7,500 pounds of toxic PCBs, 80,000 pounds of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (a pollutant often referred to as PAH) and more than a million pounds of heavy metals were extracted from the rivers sediments.

“The Ottawa River contamination was a side effect of the region’s great industrial legacy,” said Chris Korleski, director of the Ohio EPA. “Today, we are creating a new legacy for future generations – a clean river that has potential to be a real showcase and a great example of what can be accomplished when government and private business work as partners.”

The sediment removal began last spring when workers began using cutterhead dredges that suction out the river bed and water then pump both to a landfill for processing. The water was cleaned and put back into the river while the most toxic sediment was sent to a landfill in Michigan.

The project received $23.5 million under the Great Lakes Legacy Act. The federal dollars were matched by the Ottawa River Group – a consortium of private businesses and the City of Toledo that provided a landfill as its cost share.

“Previous Great Lakes Legacy Act cleanups have improved local economies as well as the environment,” said said Cameron Davis, senior advisor to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, “and this is an important step forward for the region in efforts to restore the Great Lakes.”

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