Comments Invited on Chicago Dredged Material Plan

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) yesterday released for public comment the “Chicago Area Waterways Dredged Material Management Plan and Integrated Environmental Assessment.” 

The plan contains recommendations for managing material dredged from the Calumet Harbor and River and the Calumet-Sag Channel for the next twenty-five years.

Calumet Harbor and River is located on Lake Michigan in the City of Chicago, Illinois.

Maintenance dredging of the channel produces an average yearly volume of approximately 50,000 cubic yards of material. The downstream Calumet-Sag Channel, part of the Illinois Waterway, includes both the Calumet-Sag and a portion of the Little Calumet River.

Approximately 30,000 cy of sediment is expected to be dredged from the Calumet-Sag Channel over the next 25 years. Levels of metals, PCBs and PAHs are sufficiently high to preclude unconfined placement of the river and channel sediment.

Currently, dredged sediment is placed in the Chicago Area Confined Disposal Facility (CDF), located at the mouth of the Calumet River. The CDF, which was built in 1984, is nearly at capacity, creating the need for a management plan for the material generated through ongoing maintenance dredging.

The proposed plan would include construction of a dredged material disposal facility on a currently vacant portion of the former Republic Steel Manufacturing Complex, located along the Calumet River at 122nd Street and Carondolet Avenue in Chicago, and closure of the existing Chicago Area CDF.

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