EcoTrack 11: River Raisin undergoing major cleanup

By Chris Vickers - email | bio

Posted by Kate Oatis - email

TOLEDO (WTOL) - For decades, the area of the River Raisin near the mouth of Lake Erie has been contaminated with PCBs. But, recently, that section has been removed from a list maintained by the International Joint Commission to target contaminated bodies of water.

"The EPA was trying to get these cleaned up," said Richard Micka with the City of Monroe. "In 1997 they worked with Ford Motor Co. on a volunteer basis to do the first cleanup operation on what they call the hot spot. And they did that very successfully."

In total, 45,000 to 50,000 cu. yds. of material were removed from the river. But more needs to be done.

"So all of that was the hot spot and is no longer a hot spot. It is just residuals that have to be cleaned up and we are going to do that next October," Micka said.

The dredging will be the final phase of the cleanup.

"It would be a tremendous success because we have spent now over $150 million in the process of cleaning up the river and removing some of the contaminated material," Micka said.

As part of the restoration process, more than 2,500 acres of wetlands are going to be restored. Once the cleanup is complete, this environmental area of concern can be removed from a list established by the International Joint Commission.

"Once we do the remediation of the river and we can declare that it's been cleaned up, then I think we will be de-listed. We may be the very first one in the country to do so," Micka said.

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