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Mary Beth G. Ross
Tel: (312) 886-2253
ross.marybeth@epa.gov

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Great Lakes Monitoring

Sediment Indicators
Sediment Remediation

Contaminated sediments are a significant problem in the Great Lakes Basin. Although discharges of toxic substances to the Great Lakes have been reduced in the last 20 years, persistent high concentrations of contaminants in the bottom sediments of rivers and harbors have raised considerable concern about potential risks to aquatic organisms, wildlife, and humans. While this problem persists, we are moving ahead in  the pursuit of sediment remediation. In the years 1997-2007, 5.5 million cubic yards of contaminated sediments have been remediated in the U.S. Great Lakes Basin.

Cumulative Volume of Sediment Remediated in U.S. Great Lakes Basin Calendar Years 1997 to 2007

Cumulative Sediment Remediation, Calendar Years 1997 to 2000

Yearly Volume of Sediment Remediated in U.S.
Great Lakes Basin Calendar Years 1997 to 2007

Annual Sediment Remediation, Calendar Years 1997 to 2000

DISCLAIMER: Volumes in the cumulative bar graphs are quantitative estimates as reported by project managers, summed, and then rounded to the nearest one hundred thousand cubic yards. Volumes in the yearly bar graphs are quantitative estimates as reported by project managers, rounded to the nearest one hundred thousand cubic yards. Data collection and reporting efforts are described in the “Great Lakes Sediment Remediation Project Summary Support” Quality Assurance Project Plan (GLNPO, June 2008). Detailed project information is available upon request from project managers.

Recent Remediation Activities in the Great Lakes Basin

As a means of tracking the sediment remediation work being undertaken in the Great Lakes Basin, we have developed the attached maps. These maps depict the status of all contaminated sediment sites in the basin, with details of those sites worked on in a given year, including the types of contamination found. These maps currently exist for calendar years 1997 through 2007. Each year a new map will be developed to show the previous year's clean-up activities (data lag a year behind in reporting). It is our goal to continue tracking sediment cleanups in the Great Lakes Basin with reports on volume of sediment remediated (and mass of contaminant removed, if that information is available) on an annual basis. The existing maps present a visual depiction of the following information, including specific site statistics. 

Great Lakes Sediment Remediation Activities in 1997

During 1998, approximately 938,000 cubic yards of contaminated sediment were remediated from six sites throughout the Great Lakes Basin: Manistique River and Harbor, Newburgh Lake, Willow Run Creek, Ottawa River, Niagara Mohawk-Cherry Farm/River Road, and Gill Creek. Four of these six sites were worked on for the first time in 1998. The remediation at Manistique River and Harbor, on the other hand, was in its third year, and the remediation at Gill Creek was in its second year. The 6,850-cubic yard removal at the Olin Corporation Site on Gill Creek was completed in 1998, while the DuPont Site on Gill Creek had been remediated previously. The remediation continued at Manistique River and Harbor during this year, with an additional 31,159 cubic yards of contaminated sediment removed. Two very large scale projects were completed in 1998, making the total volume of contaminated sediment remediated in the Great Lakes during this year unusually large. Newburgh Lake, in the Rouge River Basin, underwent the removal of 400,000 cubic yards of contaminated sediment, including 3,400 pounds of PCBs, other organics, and heavy metals; and 450,000 cubic yards of contaminated sediment, including 440,000 pounds of PCBs, were removed from Willow Run Creek. The 8,000-cubic yard removal, which included 56,000 pounds of PCBs, was completed at the Unnamed Tributary of the Ottawa River in 1998, as was the 42,000-cubic yard removal at the Niagara Mohawk – Cherry Farm/River Road Site. Of the sites where action was taken in 1998, only the Manistique River and Harbor project was not completed by the end of the year.

Great Lakes Sediment Remediation Activities in 1999

During 1999, over 260,000 cubic yards of contaminated sediment were remediated from seven U.S. sites in the Great Lakes Basin: St. Marys River, Manistique River and Harbor, Menominee River, Fox River-Deposit N, Fox River-Deposit 56/57, Kalamazoo River, and Pine River. The sediment remediation that took place at six of these seven sites was the first ever at the site, while work continued for a fourth year at Manistique River and Harbor. Five of the seven sites where action was taken in 1999 saw the completion of at least one phase of the remediation. In 1999, 49,000 cubic meters were remediated from one Canadian site: Thunder Bay-Northern Wood Preservers. Approximately 21,000 cubic meters of contaminated sediment (total PAH levels between 30 and 150 ppm) were contained within a rockfill berm and capped using clean fill. Approximately 11,000 cubic meters of the most highly contaminated sediment (above 150 ppm total PAH) will be dredged and treated. The remaining 28,000 cubic meters of contaminated sediment (80% of which is less than 50 ppm total PAH) outside the berm will undergo natural recovery.
 

Great Lakes Sediment Remediation Activities in 2000

During 2000, over 400,000 cubic yards of sediment were remediated from five U.S. sites in the Great Lakes Basin. The USX Vessel Slip Project and the Saginaw River project were worked on for the first time in 2000, the Pine River and the Fox River Deposit 56/57 were in their second year of remediation, and Manistique River and Harbor was in its fifth year.

 

Great Lakes Sediment Remediation Activities in 2001

During the year of 2001, over 397,000 cubic yards of sediment were remediated from six U.S. sites and one Canadian site in the Great Lakes Basin. Several of these projects are in various phases of remediation, with work continuing, while the HARP project, Fields Brook site and the Reynolds Metals/Alcoa site beginning work for the first time in 2001. The following is a list of specific details about each site:

U.S. Sites

Canadian Sites

Great Lakes Sediment Remediation Activities in 2002

In 2002, over 192,000 cubic yards of sediment were remediated from seven U.S. sites and one Canadian site in the Great Lakes Basin. All of these sites initiated work for the first time in 2002, except the Pine River which was in its fourth year of operation. Several of the projects are expected to continue with the remediation of contaminated sediment into 2003. The following is a list of specific details about each site:

U.S. Sites

Canadian Sites

Great Lakes Sediment Remediation Activities in 2003

In 2003, over 975,000 cubic yards of sediment were remediated from eight U.S. sites and one Canadian site in the Great Lakes Basin. Four of these sites initiated work for the first time in 2003; these four and one other site completed their remedial actions in 2003. The Pine River site is in its fifth year of operation, and is expected to continue with the remediation of contaminated sediment into 2004. One large-scale project, U.S. Steel - Gary Works, made up approximately 80% of the total volume of contaminated sediment remediated in 2003. The following is a list of specific details about each site:

U.S. Sites

Canadian Sites

The following information pertains to some of the key initiatives on sediment assessment and remediation related activity carried out in Canadian Areas of Concern (AOCs) during 2003. The previous GLBTS progress reports should be referred to for additional information on sediment issues in the Canadian AOCs.

Great Lakes Sediment Remediation Activities in 2004

In 2004, over 345,000 cubic yards of sediment were remediated from eight U.S. sites and one Canadian site in the Great Lakes Basin. Six sites initiated work for the first time in 2004; two of those sites were the beginnings of large-scale cleanups that will have significant positive impacts to the Basin. Three sites completed their remedial actions in 2004; Dow Chemical Canada’s three-year cleanup was completed at the end of the year. The Moss-American and Pine River projects continued with their remedial actions. The Black Lagoon site was the first sediment remediation project funded under the Great Lakes Legacy Act. The following is a list of specific details about each site:

U.S. Sites

Canadian Sites

Great Lakes Sediment Remediation Activities in 2005

In 2005, over 400,000 cubic yards of contaminated sediment were remediated from nine U.S. sites in the Great Lakes Basin. Three of these sites were Great Lakes Legacy Act sediment remediation projects. Of the three, two of these sites initiated work for the first time in 2005 (Newton Creek/Hog Island Inlet and Ruddiman Creek) and two of these sites completed their remedial actions in 2005 (Black Lagoon and Newton Creek/Hog Island Inlet). Three USEPA Superfund sites made significant progress towards completing their remedial actions. The Alcoa Grasse River Superfund site completed a Remedial Options Pilot Study. While no remedial actions were conducted in Canada in 2005, significant progress was made on further sediment investigations and evaluations. The following is a list of specific details about each site:

U.S. Sites

In 2006, over 440,000 cubic yards of contaminated sediment were remediated from ten U.S. sites and one Canadian site in the Great Lakes Basin. Five U.S. sites and one Canadian site initiated work for the first time in 2006; one of these U.S. sites and two others completed their remedial actions in 2006. Two sites continued to make progress on their remedial actions. A navigation dredging project was also included as one of the remediated sites due to the amount of contaminated sediment that was removed from the environment. The following is a list of specific details about each site.

U.S. Sites

Canadian Sites

Great Lakes Sediment Remediation Activities in 2007

In 2007, approximately 960,000 cubic yards of contaminated sediment were remediated from eleven U.S. sites and one Canadian site in the Great Lakes Basin. Remedial action was initiated for the first time in 2007 at three U.S. sites and one Canadian site. Five U.S. sites completed their remedial actions in 2007 (one large-scale project, Ashtabula River, made up approximately 45 percent of the total volume of contaminated sediment remediated in 2007). Three U.S. sites, each under a different cleanup authority, continued to make progress on their remedial actions. The following is a list of specific details about each site.

U.S. Sites

Canadian Sites

Future Cleanups

It is evident from the contaminated sediment cleanup numbers reported for the years 1997-2007 that we are moving toward a cleaner Great Lakes Basin. We anticipate that the volume of contaminated sediment removed from the basin will continue to grow each year, and we will continue reporting this by means of sediment remediation maps and graphs.



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