The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced the completion of all cleanup work required to remove the Ashtabula River on Lake Erie from the binational list of Great Lakes Areas of Concern.
EPA Region 5 Administrator/Great Lakes Program Manager Susan Hedman was joined for the announcement by U.S. Representative Dave Joyce, Ohio Environmental Protection Agency Director Craig Butler, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army Marie Therese Dominguez and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Midwest Deputy Regional Director Charlie Wooley.
The Ashtabula River is one of 43 contaminated sites on the Great Lakes designated as a Great Lakes Area of Concern by the United States and Canada under the 1987 Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement.
“Today is a great day for the Ashtabula River and for Lake Erie,” Hedman said. “Federal, state and local agencies have now completed all of the work required to remove the Ashtabula River from the list of Great Lakes Areas of Concern.”
Since the early 1990s, the federal government, the State of Ohio and several private companies have spent approximately $85 million to remove contaminated sediment and to restore habitat in the Ashtabula River Area of Concern. Since 2010, almost $14 million from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has been used to complete the final actions to remediate and restore this Area of Concern.
“The Ashtabula River is a great example of a successful partnership,” Dominguez said. “Thanks to the efforts and commitment of local, state and federal governments and organizations, the removal of over 100,000 cubic yards of contaminated sediments will result in the delisting of the Ashtabula Area of Concern, a high priority for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. Today marks the Army Corps’ successful completion of an extraordinarily important dredging project which improves navigation, and the environment of the Ashtabula River.”
Press Release, September 5, 2014