Dredging on Indiana Harbor and Ship Canal Kicks Off (USA)
Congressman Visclosky joined local officials and representatives from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to commemorate the start of the dredging of the Indiana Harbor Ship Canal on Monday, October 29th.
The Indiana Harbor Ship Canal is a federal navigable waterway, maintained by USACE and last dredged in 1972. The current dredging will take the current channel from approximately 20 feet to 27 feet deep and remove an estimated 1.8 million cubic yards of sediments, allowing cargo ships moving through the canal easier passage.
East Chicago Mayor Anthony Copeland said of the dredging, “After many years of study, deliberation, and controversy, we are finally crossing an important milestone as the dredging of the Indiana Harbor Ship Canal begins. With all the unknowns, we find that the past must be dredged to provide a better future for our community. While this contamination may not have occurred on our watch, the time has come for us to clean it in the safest and most expedient manner possible.”
“The last time this East Chicago waterway was dredged was in 1972,” Executive Director Fernando Trevino, East Chicago Waterway Management District, said, speaking to USACE. “The dredging project will certainly improve our local economy and help clean our waterways, and the East Chicago Waterway Management District is proud to be part of the diverse and hard working team that’s making this happen.”
Northwest Indiana Forum, Inc. CEO and President Mark Maassel added that the dredging was a successful example of local public-private partnerships accomplishing shared goals. Mr. Maassel said, “This dredging is another example of businesses and the government partnering to safely accomplish needed work, which will both enhance the environment and improve the economy in Northwest Indiana.”
“We’re eager to start dredging here at Indiana Harbor and Canal,” USACE District Engineer Col. Frederic Drummond Jr. said. “This harbor hasn’t been dredged since 1972, but thanks to a truly collaborative effort involving federal, state and local government, private industry, and members of the local community we are ready to get dredging underway and begin to safely remove and contain the thousands of yards of polluted sediment from this harbor and canal. This project will not only restore navigation but will improve water quality in southern Lake Michigan.”
Congressman Visclosky said, “Northwest Indiana is in a prime position to serve as a hub for commercial shipping operations, and the dredging of the Indiana Harbor Ship Canal will improve our ability to perform this function. With a more efficient Ship Canal, we will be able to entice new businesses to come to our region and make the most of the jobs we already have. Additionally, we will be able to reduce the migration of sediments into Lake Michigan, protecting an essential body of freshwater.
“I thank Mayor Anthony Copeland, the City of East Chicago, the East Chicago Waterway Management District, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for maintaining the vision and the focus necessary to bring this worthwhile project to life.”
Press Release, November 8, 2012