$450M investment to remediate the Milwaukee Estuary

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced funding for the largest cleanup project to ever be implemented under the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and the Great Lakes Legacy Act – the Milwaukee Estuary project.

Photo courtesy of EPA

Under a new project agreement between EPA and five non-federal sponsors, an estimated investment of $450 million will go toward the cleanup of nearly two million cubic yards of contaminated sediments from the Milwaukee Estuary Area of Concern.

This long-awaited cleanup will greatly advance the environmental, community, and economic revitalization of Milwaukee-area communities and will help lead to the ultimate removal of the Milwaukee Estuary from the list of 25 remaining U.S. Areas of Concern (AOCs) — highly environmentally degraded areas found across the Great Lakes basin.

The new project agreement reflects a partnership between EPA and five non-federal sponsors, Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District, We Energies, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the City of Milwaukee, and Milwaukee County Parks, to complete the cleanup of harbor and river sediments contaminated with PCBs, petroleum compounds, and heavy metals, including mercury, lead and chromium, in the Milwaukee Estuary Area of Concern.

These five partners will contribute more than $170 million to implement the project — the largest non-federal sponsor contribution to a Great Lakes Legacy Act cleanup. EPA will contribute an estimated $275 million in funds from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to cover the approximately $450 million project, with final project cost estimates to be determined following the bidding and procurement process.

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