Ohio EPA will hold a public meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013, to accept comments on a proposal for the annual dredging of the Toledo Harbor federal navigational channel.
The meeting will be held at Toledo City Council Chambers, One Government Center, 640 Jackson St.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Buffalo, N.Y., has submitted an application for a water quality certification for the project, which involves dredging the lake approach channel and lower mile of the Maumee River. The Corps’ preferred option would be to dredge approximately 1.5 million cubic yards of sediment and dispose of it in the open lake area in Lake Erie, approximately 3.5 miles from the Toledo Harbor lighthouse.
Ohio EPA also will consider alternative plans with less or no environmental impact. The Corps’ minimal degradation alternative is to dredge and open lake dispose up to 1.1 million cubic yards of sediment. Dredging would not start before July 1 and would not occur during storm events.
During the information session, Ohio EPA representatives will present details about the proposed project. During the hearing, which follows the information session, the public can submit comments and questions for the record regarding the application.
The federal Clean Water Act requires anyone discharging dredged or fill material into Ohio waters to obtain a Section 401 water quality certification from Ohio EPA. Ohio EPA’s review is to ensure the project will comply with Ohio’s water quality standards. Ohio EPA will consider any comments received before making a decision.
The proposed discharge would result in a change from the current water quality conditions of Lake Erie’s Western Basin. Therefore, Ohio EPA is required to consider technical, economic, social and environmental aspects of the proposed project.
Press Release, January 11, 2013