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Great Lakes AOCs

About Menominee River AOC

map showing the state approved boundary of the Menominee River AOCPrintable boundary map and shapefile of Menominee River AOCThe Menominee River was designated as a Great Lakes Area of Concern under the 1987 Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. Of the six environmental impairments that were originally present, five remain. Extensive sediment remediation projects are complete.  Habitat restoration is underway. EPA will support continued monitoring and evaluation to determine when environmental conditions have been restored so that the AOC can be delisted.

AOC Boundaries

The Menominee River forms the boundary between the northeast corner of Wisconsin and the southern tip of the upper peninsula of Michigan. The river's headwaters originate in both states. The main stem of the river flows between the cities of Menominee, Michigan and Marinette before emptying into Green Bay.  

The Area of Concern includes:
  • The lower three miles of the river from the Park Mill Dam to the river's mouth and approximately 3.1 miles north and south of the mouth along the adjacent shoreline of Green Bay
  • City of Marinette
  • City of Menominee
  • The adjacent nearshore area of Green Bay, Wisconsin

Sources of Pollution

A primary cause of the identified use impairments below Menominee Dam is arsenic contamination in the turning basin and in sediments along the right bank (downstream direction) of the river below the Tyco Fire Products LP (former Ansul Fire Protection Company) property, an herbicide production facility in Marinette, Wisconsin. This problem was caused from improper arsenic storage and disposal practices by Ansul from 1957 to 1977.

  • WPSC Marinette Manufactured Gas Plant “Coal Tar Site”
  • Chemical and ship building companies
  • Two paper mills
  • Two municipal wastewater treatment plants
  • A foundry
  • Runoff from stormwater and storage piles of salt, coal, and other materials

Beneficial Use Impairments

Beneficial Use Impairments for the Great Lakes AOCs

  • Restrictions on fish and wildlife consumption
  • Degradation of fish and wildlife populations
  • Degradation of benthos - Removed 2017
  • Restriction on dredging activities - Removed 2017
  •  Loss of fish and wildlife habitat
  • Beach closings – REMOVED 2011

Restoration

Restoring Menominee River AOC (timeline)

Menominee River Remediation Projects

Partners

The following links exit the site ExitCity of Marinette, Wisconsin

City of Menominee, Michigan

WDNR implements several of the projects outlined in the remedial action plans.

MDEQ is responsible for implementing several of the projects outlined in the remedial action plans. 

Tyco - Menominee River Cleanup

Tyco has participated in several restoration and remedial projects that help in the removal of beneficial use impairments. Their wastewater treatment plant maintains water quality and they have also participated in dredging of the river.

The University of Wisconsin Extension offers ample information regarding the status of the river and opportunities for community involvement.