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Hog Island dredging project to receive Great Lakes Legacy Act funds; cleanup to begin in June

Release Date: 6/16/2005
Contact Information:

CONTACT: EPA - Phillippa Cannon, (312) 353-6218
WDNR - John Robinson, (715) 365-8976

For Immediate Release
No. 05-OPA095

CHICAGO (June 16, 2005) — A project to remove 40,000 cubic yards of polluted sediment from Newton Creek and the Hog Island Inlet on Lake Superior will receive money under the Great Lakes Legacy Act. EPA's selection of the project near Superior, Wis., will allow work to begin on the $6.3 million cleanup this month. The Legacy Act will provide $4.1 million (or 65 percent) towards the cost of the cleanup and the remaining local share of $2.2 million will come from Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and others.

"Together we are returning this area to productive habitat and providing a place for citizens to enjoy recreational activities as part of their Great Lakes heritage," EPA Administrator Steve Johnson said. "By year's end, the entire length of Newton Creek will be rid of its toxic legacy."

"This funding marks a major step forward in the clean up of past pollution problems that still affect Lake Superior today," said Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle. "We need to restore and protect our Great Lakes they are a unique freshwater resource. This project will mean cleaner fish to catch in these waters, fish and wildlife habitat will be improved, and outdoor recreation will be sustained for the people who live along and visit our Great Lakes."

Congress passed and the President signed the Great Lakes Legacy Act of 2002 to address the problem of contaminated sediment in 31 toxic hot spots known as "areas of concern" around the Great Lakes. The Legacy Act authorizes $270 million over five years starting in 2004 to clean up highly polluted sediment. For the current fiscal year, Congress appropriated $22.3 million. The Hog Island cleanup will be the second such project to be funded under the act. EPA selected this site for funding because it was ready for construction and because of the risk it posed to human health and the environment.

EPA and Wisconsin DNR have scheduled a public meeting to provide information about the project for Wednesday, June 29 at 6:30 p.m. at Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College Superior Campus, Conference Center, 600 North 21st St., Superior.

Newton Creek and Hog Island Inlet are parts of the St. Louis River area of concern. Petroleum-contaminated sediment and soil will be removed from the creek and parts of the inlet. The banks of the creek and inlet will be landscaped to prevent erosion. The result will be a healthier habitat for fish and other aquatic life, and the inlet will be safe for recreation.

In addition to petroleum products, pollution in the creek includes chemicals, lead, mercury and chromium. When the cleanup is finished, EPA and Wisconsin DNR will monitor the creek and inlet to ensure the cleanup is effective.

Contaminated sediment is a problem in rivers and harbors throughout the Great Lakes. It is the leading reason why many fish in the lakes are not safe to eat in unlimited quantities. Toxic sediment harms aquatic life, degrades habitat and affects the quality of sources of drinking water.

For more information about this cleanup go to:

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