Presque Isle Bay gets environmental boost as EPA lifts water quality impairment
The recovery of Presque Isle Bay in Lake Erie reached a milestone today when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced it has lifted one of two water quality impairments for the bay due to improvements in sediment contamination.
The sediment improvements were discovered during an EPA-funded sediment survey of the bay in 2005. The survey, which included research done with EPA’s research vessel Mudpuppy, found that contaminants in the sediment were no longer degrading the ecosystem.
“We congratulate all the federal, state and local partners who have been instrumental in helping restore the health of Presque Isle Bay,” said Donald S. Welsh, regional administrator for EPA’s mid-Atlantic region. “This action brings the bay one step closer to removal from the list of the most degraded areas of the Great Lakes basin.”
The impairment lifted by EPA concerned sediment contamination and dredging restrictions. This was one of two water quality impairments listed for the bay under its current environmental designation as an “area of concern” meaning that it is one of the 40 most degraded areas of the Great Lakes. The remaining impairment focuses on fish tumors and other deformities.
Officials credit the sediment improvements to reduced industrial discharges, upgrades in the city of Erie’s wastewater treatment plant, and actions taken by local organizations to reduce harmful storm water runoff.
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