Black Lagoon to be EPA’s first Great Lakes Legacy act clean up

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced that the Black Lagoon on the Detroit River in Trenton, Michigan, will be the first contaminated sediment site to be cleaned up under the Great Lakes Legacy Act.

Contaminated sediment in the lagoon is a source of pollution to the Detroit River, which ultimately takes the pollutants to Lake Eyrie. Dredging will begin in mid-October to remove 90,000 cubic yards of sediment contaminated with mercury, PCBs, oil, grease, lead and zinc and is expected to be completed by mid-January.

Steven Chester, Director of Michigan’s Dept. of Environmental Quality, partners in the project, said: “The improved water quality of the Great Lakes and Michigan’s lakes and streams continues to be a top priority for the Granholm Administration. With 14 areas of concern within Michigan’s borders alone, it is crucial that funding match our commitment to the restoration of these critical bodies of water.”

The project will use US$4.2 million in Legacy Act funds and US$2.3 million from the Clean Michigan Initiative. Once the sediment is removed, it will be disposed of in the Pointe Mouillee confined disposal facility and the bottom of the lagoon will be covered with sand and rock.

Congress passed the Great Lakes Legacy Act in 2002, authorising US$270 million in funding over five years to assist with the remediation of contaminated sediment from toxic hot spots around the Great Lakes. The Black Lagoon was the first to be chosen because the type, amount and extent of the contaminants are well known and confined to one area, making it possible to improve the environment quickly.

The Detroit River is a 32 mile international connecting channel linking Lake St Clair and the upper Great Lakes to Lake Erie. It has been identified as one of 42 areas of concern on the Great Lakes.

By David Hopkins

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