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Great Lakes AOCs

Lower Green Bay/Fox River AOC

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Sue Virgilio


Sources of Pollution

While water quality problems and public use restrictions are most severe in the AOC, water resources in the entire basin are affected by runoff pollution from urban and rural areas, municipal and industrial wastewater discharges and degraded habitats. Industrialization was a major factor in Lower Green Bay/Fox River becoming contaminated.

Land water use upstream (logging, agriculture and industry) was a significant contributor to the numerous negative impacts to water quality in the water system. High turbidity, sedimentation, fluctuating dissolved oxygen, frequent algal blooms, degraded fish/wildlife/plant populations and adverse toxicant impacts have all been found in Lower Green Bay/Fox River. PCBs are the primary contaminant. The AOC is a shallow environment that has a rapid recycling system which also contributes to water quality issues.

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Beneficial Use Impairments

More information:
  • Restrictions on fish and wildlife consumption
  • Tainting of fish and wildlife flavor - Removed 2020
  • Degradation of fish and wildlife populations
  • Fish tumors or other deformities
  • Degradation of aesthetics
  • Degradation of benthos
  • Restriction on dredging activities
  • Loss of fish and wildlife habitat
  • Bird or animal deformities or reproductive problems
  • Eutrophication or undesirable algae
  • Restrictions on drinking water consumption, or taste and odor
  • Beach closings
  • Degradation of phytoplankton and zooplankton populations

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Remediation and Restoration Work

EPA has continually worked with federal, state and local partners to execute remediation and restoration work in the area with the ultimate goal of removing the AOC designation and revitalizing the surrounding communities.


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