Conservation groups sue EPA to stop dredge dumping in lake

By TOM JACKSON tomjackson@sanduskyregister.com SANDUSKY Even as local conservationists fight to prevent soil from washing into creeks that drain into Lake Erie, the Army Corps of Engineers has been dumping hundreds of thousands of cubic yards of lake sediment into the lake's western basin.
Sandusky Register Staff
May 27, 2010

 

By TOM JACKSON

tomjackson@sanduskyregister.com

SANDUSKY

Even as local conservationists fight to prevent soil from washing into creeks that drain into Lake Erie, the Army Corps of Engineers has been dumping hundreds of thousands of cubic yards of lake sediment into the lake’s western basin.

 

Environmental groups fed up with the practice have filed a legal action, seeking to force Ohio’s state government to halt the practice.

 

The National Wildlife Federation, joined by allies such as the Ohio Environmental Council, filed an appeal May 13 at the Environmental Review Appeals Commission, demanding that the Army Corps halt the practice of putting sediment back into the western basin of Lake Erie when it dredges Toledo’s harbor.

 

The groups are appealing a decision by Ohio EPA director Chris Korleski to allow the Corps to put up to 800,000 cubic yards of soil into the western basin after it has hauled it up dredging a navigation channel for Toledo’s harbor.

 

Korleski dislikes the practice but recognizes that the work has to be done every year to keep the harbor open. He’s been trying to work out an agreement without being “adversarial,” Ohio EPA spokeswoman Dina Pierce said.

 

The Corps puts 100,000 cubic yards a year of contaminated dredging sediment into a containment facility on land, but putting all of the sediment on land would likely cost a large amount of federal and state money, she said.

 

“Nobody has money at this point,” she said.

 

Pierce said that while dredging is carried out in other areas of the western basin, such as Huron and Sandusky, it has less impact than the work in Toledo. Sandusky is dredged only once every few years, and the amount is much less — 115,600 cubic yards in 2006, the last time the work was carried out, she said.

 

“Also, staff pointed out that in addition to the volume of material, and the very ecologically sensitive area of the extreme western basin, the material that is taken from Sandusky and Huron harbors is different than what comes from Toledo Harbor,” Pierce said. “Sandusky Harbor sediment is granular (sandy) and a lot of it is disposed of near the shoreline to replace sand that has washed out.”

 

Traci Clever, deputy district engineer for planning, programs and project management at the Army Corps’ Buffalo office, said the permit the Corps uses authorizes it to put sediment in a particular place if it meets water quality standards. She said the corps followed the rules in obtaining the permit.

 

Lake Erie provides drinking water for 11 million people and supports both a commercial and tourist fishing industry.

 

The washing of soil into the lake is considered one of the area’s biggest pollution problems. Much effort is expended by government agencies such as the Erie Soil and Water Conservation District in trying to reduce soil runoff.

 

The environmentalists say it makes no sense to battle soil pollution on land but allow the Army Corps to dump huge amounts of sediment into the lake.

 

“All they like is to say, I moved this many thousands of cubic yards,” said Rick Graham of Oxford Township, the president of the Izaak Walton League in Ohio, referring to the Corps of Engineers. “The more they can do, and the cheaper they can do, the better they look.”

 


Comments

hancrack me up

 I don't like this new setup this way at all. Poof! G'bye!

NineMM

I don't care for it much either my friend............It appears we have no choice.

 

Getting to the story at hand, What would the conservation groups have the Corps of  Engineers do with it? The channels must be dredged for the safe passage of coal ships to come and go with thier cargo. This bay is a naturally protected harbor, and should be maintained. A bigger worry should be invasive species to our Great Lakes..........Zebra Mussles, Gobies, and the threat of Asian Carp. Let's not forget the combined sanitary/sewer system in Sandusky that releases raw sewage into the bay, and the suspected coal tar plume. Most of the waste is silt and sediment that the currents carried in here from the lake anyways.

old dog

 

Well, everyone is always trying to make things more gooder better. I saw nothing wrong with the old postings. But, what ya gonna do!!!

The Huron River has been dredged for as long as I can remember. The government just had to spend money many years ago and build their spoil site, off of the pier. When filled, the property would be turned over to the City. I remember the BIG plan was to build an access path out to it and it was going to be turned into a huge park. Well, they pumped stuff out into it for several years, thennever to be used again. So, that being said, I will not live long enough to see it filled in or every build on and used. Just another huge waste of money.

Like NineMM stated, the Great Lakes have bigger fish to fry right now, as far as other stopping other species from entering our lakes.

 

chongo

Old Dog, you took my thoughts a bit right out of my head.  My first thought when I saw this story was..  "why not finish out the spil stie in huron."..   The Cor of Engineers should have been the target of the city here years ago when they abandoned the idea of the site here.   It's half finished, they left most of the equipment and pumping tubes still sitting out there rusting away.  Along with the rest of their huge tires and such, it's just a dump.  With this new thought in mind, why don't they come back and finish what they started years ago and give the city what they were told they were getting for their waterfront.   Just an eye sore out there when you walk by the place.. 

old dog

If my thinking is correct, that site was started well over 20 years ago. It is somewhat of a hazard for people fishing from the rocks going around the site.

But, with that being said, what else is new with Government spending! Its only money!!!

Well, at least it gives the Fire Dept. practice every year, burning off the grass and weeds.

man4451

 

It's NOT about CHOICE, it.s about SOCIALIZED CONTROL.

 

They should just STOP dredging period. They pull dirt sand what ever they call it, from the middle of the pond, naturally the edges starts to cave in. You can do this in any mud puddle.