Monday, November 28, 2005

$6.3 million cleanup of Newton Creek and Hog Island Inlet is finished

This is actually GOOD NEWS! In Superior, Wisconsin today state and federal officials announced the completion of cleanup of contaminated sediment from Newton Creek and Hog Island Inlet. The $6.3 million cleanup project was the second completed under the Great Lakes Legacy Act of 2002, a special initiative to clean up 31 pollution hotspots on the U.S. side of the Great Lakes. The creek and the inlet are part of the St. Louis River watershed, the largest tributary to drain into Lake Superior...(there's more)

Over the past four months, EPA and the Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources have removed 60,000 tons of sediment polluted by petroleum products and lead from the mouth of the creek and the man-made inlet. The contamination damaged the habitat for fish and other aquatic life and local officials had posted "No Swimming" signs around the area, which have now been removed.

The Legacy Act project was the final step in the cleanup of 3-mile-long Newton Creek and Hog Island Inlet. Murphy Oil Co., which owns a refinery in Superior, cleaned up the upper reaches of Newton Creek in the mid-1990s and WDNR cleaned up the middle stretches in 2003.

Contaminated sediment is one of the major reasons why many Great Lakes fish are not safe to eat in unlimited quantities. It also harms aquatic habitat and pollutes sources of drinking water. This has been a long-term and persistent problem throughout the entire Great Lakes basin. There are still millions of cubic yards of contaminated sediment to be removed from the Great Lakes.

The Great Lakes Legacy Act authorizes $270 million in funding over five years for cleanups of contaminated sediment hotspots. In 2004, the first year funds were available, Congress appropriated $9.9 million. In 2005, Congress appropriated $22.3 million and $30 million will be available in 2006. The cleanup of the Black Lagoon, an inlet of the Detroit River in Trenton, Mich. was completed earlier this month. Another Legacy Act project is currently underway at Ruddiman Creek in Muskegon, Michigan, and more projects are expected to begin soon.

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