The Ohio Environmental Council is praising Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s administration for engineering a pilot project to find beneficial new uses for sediments dredged from the Toledo harbor.
Underwritten by a $10 million fund championed by State Sen. Randy Gardner (R-Bowling Green), the project aims to divert the dredgings from disposal in the open waters of Lake Erie to safe reuse on shore.
Hundreds of thousands of cubic yards of dredged material, which is high in organic material and nutrients, may be recycled for reuse as a soil amendment for farm fields and gardens or as fill material at the site of blighted houses that have been raised.
The clean sediments the pilot project is targeting for reuse are separate from dredged harbor sediments that are contaminated with toxic materials. By law, toxic sediments must be disposed of in a confined disposal facility.
The drive to find a sustainable alternative to open-lake disposal of the clean dredgings got a jolt this spring when the Ohio EPA refused to give the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permission to dispose of sediment dredged from the Cleveland harbor into the open waters of Lake Erie waters off that city’s shores.
“This is a solid first step that can deliver solid returns for Toledo and the businesses, people and fish that depend upon an open harbor and a clean lake and river. We hope this marks, once and for all, the end of open lake disposal in our Great Lake,” said Jack Shaner, Deputy Director of the Ohio Environmental Council.
Harbors in Toledo and Cleveland and other Great Lakes ports must be dredged each year to allow the passage of cargo ships.
Press Release, July 30, 2014