Ohio EPA has issued a water quality certification to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers authorizing the dredging of Toledo Harbor this summer.
The certification allows the Corps to dispose of 1.1 million cubic yards of dredged sediment in open waters in Lake Erie.
Toledo Harbor is the shallowest and most heavily dredged port in the Great Lakes. The Corps is required to maintain sufficient water depth for commercial navigation in the federal navigation channel and 19 miles of the approach channel in Maumee Bay. During the 2013 dredging season, the Corps must conduct sampling to study the amount of bio-available phosphorus in the dredged sediments.
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. The discharge will result in a change from the current water quality conditions of the Western Basin of Lake Erie. Therefore, Ohio EPA was required to consider technical, economic, social and environmental aspects of the dredging project.
A public hearing about the application to dredge was held on Jan. 24, 2013, and public comments were received through Jan. 31, 2013.
Press Release, May 17, 2013