Debate Continues over the Cleveland Harbor Dredging

Cuyahoga County, Education, Environment & Sustainability Committee held a public hearing yesterday, February 3rd, to discuss concerns regarding dredging and the dumping of dredged materials from the upper Cuyahoga River federal navigation channel.

At the meeting, Port of Cleveland and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers together with the Ohio EPA discussed USACE’s proposal to dump sediment dredged from the upper portion of the Cuyahoga River directly into Lake Erie.

The ongoing dispute over the 2016 dredging of Cleveland Harbor was presented once again with the testimonies heard on health, economic and environmental issues surrounding the dredging and dumping of dredged materials from the Cuyahoga River.

The hearing heard testimony from the Port of Cleveland CEO William Friedman, Kurt Prencic of the Ohio EPA’s Northeast District Office, and Lieutenant Colonial Karl Jansen of the Army Corps of Engineers.

That argument still continues whether or not the dredged sediment is clean enough for open-lake disposal.

The Corps maintains that the scientific testing and evaluation done so far have demonstrated that open lake placement of channel sediments from the Cuyahoga River is safe for Lake Erie and will not impact our drinking water.

USACE recently released documents that have been submitted to the Ohio EPA, requesting a Clean Water Act Section 401 water quality certification for open lake placement of dredged sediment.

Contrary to the Corps, Friedman, the Ohio EPA and the state’s Congressional delegation all disagree, claiming that the sediment is polluted with PCBs, heavy metals and other harmful toxins, and should be stored in confined disposal facilities.

Under language in the year-end appropriations bill passed in December 2015, the Corp cannot dump dredged material in Lake Erie without a State Water Quality certificate.

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