Grand Calumet River cleanup to begin

Image: Wikimedia Commons/Visviva
Image: Wikimedia Commons/Visviva – Grand Calumet River

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has confirmed that a US$26 million cleanup project will begin this month on Lake George Canal in the cities of East Chicago and Hammond, Indiana.

The waterway is part of the Grand Calumet River Area of Concern on Lake Michigan, identified by the United States and Canada as one of 43 toxic hotspots in the Great Lakes basin.

Work will be funded through a cost-sharing partnership with the East Chicago Waterway Management District (ECWMD), Atlantic Richfield Company, and BP Products North America.

The EPA anticipates the cleanup will be completed in 2020.

Approximately 45,000 cubic metres of contaminated sediment will be dredged from the Lake George Canal. Any material that may remain will be capped and controlled, as needed.

The Grand Calumet River flows 20 kilometres through the heavily industrialised cities of Gary, East Chicago, and Hammond. The river is recognised as one of the most contaminated in the United States and consists mostly of drainage from nearby cities and industries.

Historical activities such as steelmaking, meatpacking, and oil refining contaminated the river’s sediment with heavy metals, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and oil and grease.

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