U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and United States Steel Corporation have partnered to clean up contaminated sediment and soil in the Spirit Lake area of the St. Louis River in Duluth, Minnesota.
This work is being conducted as part of the Great Lakes Legacy Act project agreement between EPA and U.S. Steel.
The site – located in the St. Louis River Area of Concern – has in-water cleanup areas which include Spirit Lake, Unnamed Creek, and Wire Mill Pond as well as onshore clean up areas.
This large environmental cleanup includes dredging, capping and monitoring sediment and will result in the creation of new open water and restored wetlands.
Last year, J.F. Brennan dredged over 100,000 cubic yards of sediment and placed around 30,000 tons of capping materials under this project.
Thanks to these efforts, restoration of the upstream Unnamed Creek was completed in early fall 2021, dredging in the Weir Pond and the Unnamed Pond was also completed successfully last year, as well as capping operations in the Weir Pond and in Unnamed Creek.
According to EPA, hydraulic dredging also took place in the North Dredge Area in November 2021 and will resume in summer 2022.
The agency also added that mechanical dredging of the Shallow Sheltered Bay continued throughout winter, despite the cold and snow.
EPA officials expect that once finished this cleanup project will support the eventual delisting of the St. Louis River AOC and will result in benefits to people and the ecological system.