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Dredging of St. Marys River/Tannery Bay to resume


U.S. Environmental Protection Agency with Phelps Dodge and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality will resume dredging contaminated sediment in the St. Marys River at Tannery Bay, Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., in early June. The bay is being cleaned up under the Great Lakes Legacy Act.

The $8 million cleanup began last July. Dredging was halted during winter months. The goal is to remove about 40,000 cubic yards of contaminated sediment from the bay and a nearby wetland including 500,000 pounds of chromium and 25 pounds of mercury. The pollution is mainly byproducts from the former Northwestern Leather Co. tannery that operated during the first half of the 20th century. Interested persons can view the dredging operation by following an access path to a deck overlooking the bay.

Congress passed and the president signed the Great Lakes Legacy Act of 2002 to address the problem of contaminated sediment in American areas of concern on the Great Lakes. Areas of concern are severely degraded sites within the lakes where there is significant pollution. Polluted sediment is a reason many Great Lakes fish are not safe to eat in unlimited quantities. It also harms aquatic life and habitat and pollutes sources of drinking water.


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