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First Phase Grand Cal Great Lakes Legacy Act Cleanup Complete

Release Date: 10/21/2010
Contact Information: Phillippa Cannon, 312-353-6218,

No. 10-OPA131

CHICAGO (Oct. 21, 2010 ) -- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the state of Indiana have announced that cleanup of heavily polluted sediment in the first stretch of the West Branch of the Grand Calumet River is now complete. About 77,000 cubic yards of contaminated sediment have been removed or capped along a half-mile of the river between Columbia and Calumet avenues in Hammond, Ind. Native grasses, flowers, trees and shrubs have been planted along riverbanks and upland areas to restore this stretch of the river. The next phase of the project is scheduled to begin in December when EPA plans to remediate another 71,000 cubic yards of sediment from the river between Calumet and Hohman avenues in Hammond.

The cleanup conducted to date is part of a $33 million project funded by the Great Lakes Legacy Act and the state of Indiana. This cleanup addresses sediment contaminated with PCBs, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and pesticides such as DDT.

The Great Lakes Legacy Act provided $21.5 million to the project with the remaining $11.6 million coming from a fund managed by the Natural Resource Trustees, which includes Indiana Department of Environmental Management, Indiana Department of Natural Resources and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The Grand Calumet River, Indiana Harbor and the ship canal have been identified as an “Area of Concern” on the Great Lakes – a severely degraded site where there is significant pollution – under the U.S-Canada Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement.

The Great Lakes Legacy Act was signed into law in November 2002 to clean up contaminated sediment at U.S. Areas of Concern around the Great Lakes. EPA has completed seven Legacy Act cleanups to date removing more than 1.2 million pounds of contaminants from the environment, thereby reducing risk to human health and aquatic life. Polluted sediment is the reason many Great Lakes fish are not safe to eat.

More information about the Great Lakes Legacy Act and this cleanup is available at

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