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Dredging of Ashtabula River to resume this month

Release Date: 03/20/2007
Contact Information: Phillippa Cannon, (312) 353-6218, cannon.phillippa@epa.gov

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
No. 07-OPA038

CHICAGO (March 15, 2007) - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Ashtabula River Partnership have announced that dredging of contaminated sediment from the Ashtabula River under the Great Lakes Legacy Act will resume in late March. The goal of the project is to help Lake Erie by restoring one of Ohio's most polluted rivers.

The $50 million cleanup is being paid for by the Great Lakes Legacy Act, the Ashtabula City Port Authority and its partners. By the end of this year, more than 500,000 cubic yards of contaminated sediment will be removed from the river.

Although dredging was halted during winter months, work continued on the project. Improvements were made to the water treatment system to enable it to treat more water, and changes were made to the dredging system and pipeline to enable it to better handle debris in the sediment.

The Ashtabula River project is the largest so far under the Legacy Act. While previous Legacy Act cleanups have addressed contaminated hot spots, this project seeks to comprehensively address contaminated sediment in an entire "area of concern" on the Great Lakes. The Ashtabula River area of concern encompasses the lower two-and-a-half miles of the river and near-shore areas of Lake Erie. Areas of concern are severely degraded sites within the Great Lakes where there is significant pollution. Polluted sediment is the reason many Great Lakes fish are not safe to eat in unlimited quantities. It also harms aquatic life and habitat and pollutes sources of drinking water.

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