Dredging kicking off in the Lower Rouge River Old Channel

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced the start of a $84 million Great Lakes cleanup project in Rouge River near Detroit.

Photo courtesy of EPA

Sediments in the Lower Rouge River Old Channel are contaminated with polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs, heavy metals, and polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs.

The EPA will work with Honeywell International, Inc. to complete the project. The dredging will contribute to the removal of beneficial use impairments, or BUIs, and support progress towards the future delisting of the Rouge River Area of Concern.

According to EPA, the second phase of environmental dredging work restarted this April and is projected to be completed by 2025. The dredging will remove 70,000 cubic yards of impacted sediment over 10-acres and isolate an additional 35,000 cubic yards under three engineered caps.

The first phase of the project – shoreline stabilization, was completed in 2017. Shoreline stabilization was a key component of this project due to steep side slopes and weakness and instability in the underlying shoreline and upland soils. Steep side slopes increase risk for shoreline failures during construction. Deep dredge cuts are included in the remedial design.

The second phase of the project – environmental dredging, commenced in 2018, but was paused to address unanticipated site conditions including potential shoreline stability concerns.

The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers is managing the project for the 2024 construction season. The project is one of two sediment related BUI projects in the Rouge River Area of Concern identified by the Michigan Department of Energy, Great Lakes, and Environment and the Rouge River Public Advisory Council.