A $12 million worth cleanup of the Muskegon Lake bottom is approaching its completion.
Ever since it commenced in June, about 41,000 cubic yards of mercury- and petroleum-laced sediment have been dredged out from 46 acres of lake bottom in a bay off the Division Street Outfall.
The initial phase included sediment removal and it was ended in October. Covering the lake bottom with a 6- to 12-inch layer of clean sand from Jackson-Merkey Contractors is part of the next phase that is currently being conducted.
Re-dredging of some still polluted areas is expected to be undertaken these days. Recent testing has shown that 17 spots require further dredging.
“We hope to finish before ice forms,” said Diana Mally, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency official overseeing the project, at a Nov. 17 meeting of the Muskegon Lake Watershed Partnership. That would meet the original goal of completing the project by year’s end.
In order to cover the project costs, the EPA is paying for 65% of the project, that is about $7.8 million, from a Great Lakes Legacy Act grant, while the remaining $4.2 million is provided from a state source, the Clean Michigan Initiative bond fund.
Dredging Today Staff, November 28, 2011; Image: epa