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Great Lakes AOCs

River Raisin AOC

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Meaghan Kern
312-353-5784 Contact phone number

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River Raisin was designated an Area of Concern under the 1987 Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. Historical discharges of oils and grease, heavy metals and PCBs from industrial facilities into the river caused the environmental degradation at the AOC. Three of the nine Beneficial Use Impairments have been removed to date.

AOC Boundaries

The River Raisin Area of Concern is located in the southeast portion of Michigan's lower peninsula in Monroe County. The AOC is defined as the lower 2.6 mile portion of River Raisin, downstream from the low head dam at Winchester Bridge in the City of Monroe, extending one-half mile out into Lake Erie following the Federal Navigation Channel and along the north and south nearshore zones of Lake Erie.

Sources of Pollution

  • Wastewater treatment plant
  • Power plants, stamp plants and other facilities
  • Agriculture
  • Local landfills

PCBs and heavy metals are primary contaminants of concern. Copper, zinc and chromium contribute the most metallic pollution.

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Beneficial Use Impairments

An interim success of remediation and restoration work is removing beneficial use impairments. Beneficial use impairments are designations created by the International Joint Commission, representing different types of significant environmental degradation.  As cleanup work is completed, and monitoring demonstrates sufficient environmental health improvements, BUIs can gradually be removed. The list below shows which BUIs have been removed, and which remain.  Once all BUIs are removed, the process of delisting the AOC can begin.

  • Restrictions on fish and wildlife consumption
  • Eutrophication or undesirable algae – REMOVED 2013
  • Degradation of fish and wildlife populations – REMOVED 2015
  • Beach closings – REMOVED 2013
  • Degradation of aesthetics – REMOVED 2012
  • Bird or animal deformities or reproduction problems
  • Degradation of benthos
  • Restriction on dredging activities
  • Loss of fish and wildlife habitat – REMOVED 2015
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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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