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EPA to begin sediment sampling in Detroit River

Release Date: 12/18/2006
Contact Information: Kären Thompson, (312) 353-8547,

No. 06-OPA234

(CHICAGO - Dec. 15, 2006) U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Great Lakes National Program Office announced today that sediment sampling will begin Monday, Dec. 18 in the upper mile of the Trenton Channel of the Detroit River.

EPA and Michigan Department of Environmental Quality are evaluating the extent of sediment contamination at the Riverview site in support of a potential Great Lakes Legacy Act cleanup project. Scientists will test the sediment to find out if it contains pollutants such as mercury, other metals and PCBs at levels that can harm aquatic organisms. A boat and crew will sample all next week, weather permitting. The Wyandotte Municipal Boat Ramp will serve as the staging area.

The Trenton Channel Riverview site is upstream of the Black Lagoon, EPA's first Great Lakes Legacy Act cleanup, completed in November 2005. The Detroit River is a 32-mile international channel linking Lake St. Clair and the upper Great Lakes to Lake Erie. It has been identified as one of 42 areas of concern on the Great Lakes. Areas of concern are severely degraded sites within the Great Lakes Basin where there is significant pollution.

Polluted sediment is a major reason why many Great Lakes fish are not safe to eat in unlimited quantities. Sediment contamination also harms aquatic life and habitat and pollutes sources of drinking water.

Congress passed the Great Lakes Legacy Act in 2002. The Act authorizes $270 million in funding over five years to assist with the remediation of contaminated sediment in areas of concern, toxic hot spots around the Great Lakes.

More information on the Legacy Act and the Great Lakes is on EPA's Web site

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