“We expect the Army Corps to dredge the entire navigation channel to keep the first six miles of the Cuyahoga River open for shipping traffic,” Ohio EPA Director Craig W. Butler said. “As long as sediments pose an unacceptable risk to Lake Erie, all sediment should be disposed of in the Cleveland confined disposal facilities at full federal expense.”
The approval is in compliance with the Ohio EPA’s Section 401, which specifies that the Corps can dredge up to 225,000 cubic yards of material from the river. The Corps has undertaken dredging projects on this stretch of the Cuyahoga River since the early 1970s.
The Ohio EPA stayed within state regulations in its non-authorization of open-lake placement of dredged material, which the agency determined would result in higher levels of PCB bioaccumulation in fish. The Ohio EPA is concerned that the dredged material would contribute to the already existing PCB contamination and bioaccumulation in Lake Erie, which has triggered a fish consumption advisory.