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Kinnickinnic River cleanup begins

Release Date: 06/03/2009
Contact Information: Phillippa Cannon, U.S. EPA, 312-353-6218, cannon.phillippa@epa.gov Marcus Smith, WDNR, 414-263-8516, marcus.smith@wisconsin.gov

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
No. 09-OPA102

(Milwaukee, Wis. - June 3, 2009) U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources have begun work on the $22 million cleanup of the Kinnickinnic River. The agencies will oversee the removal of 170,000 cubic yards of contaminated sediment from the river between Becher Street and Kinnickinnic Avenue. The river will be cleaned up using $14.3 million from the Great Lakes Legacy Act fund and $7.7 million from a state of Wisconsin bond fund. EPA expects that dredging will be complete by the end of the year.

"Today, under Governor Jim Doyle's leadership, we are able to move from planning to getting the work done to clean up the Kinnickinnic River," Wisconsin DNR Secretary Matt Frank said. "Governor Doyle has made this project a priority, ensuring the restoration of the ecological, recreational and economic potential of the Kinnickinnic River."

The cleanup will result in the removal of about 1,200 lbs. of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and 13,000 lbs. of polyaromatic hydrocarbons (a byproduct of petroleum) that are contaminating the river. The dredged material will be transported by barge and disposed in a special cell within the Milwaukee Area Confined Disposal Facility at Jones Island, owned by the City of Milwaukee and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

"This cleanup will be good for the environment and good for the local economy," said Gary Gulezian, Director, EPA's Great Lakes National Program Office. "It has already created jobs and, when complete, will enhance this part of the city."

The Great Lakes Legacy Act was signed into law in November 2002 to cleanup contaminated sediment at areas of concern - severely degraded sites where there is significant pollution -- around the Great Lakes. EPA has completed five Legacy Act cleanups to date removing over 1.5 million pounds of contaminants, such as PCBs, from the environment, thereby reducing risk to aquatic life and human health. Polluted sediment is the reason many Great Lakes fish are not safe to eat in unlimited quantities. It also harms aquatic life and habitat.

More information about the Kinnickinnic River cleanup and the Great Lakes Legacy Act is available at: http://epa.gov/greatlakes/sediment/legacy/kk/index.html

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