EAST CHICAGO, Ind.
(AP) - The Army Corps of Engineers has resumed dredging toxic sediment from
a northwestern Indiana canal that is among the country’s most polluted
At an East Chicago
Waterway Management District board meeting Wednesday, Corps project manager
Natalie Mills said the goal is to clear about 200,000 cubic yards of toxic
material from the Indiana Harbor and Ship Canal. She said the contract
allows for up to 400,000 cubic yards to be removed annually, but the amount
that’ll be removed mainly depends on how much funding is available, The
(Northwest Indiana) Times reported.
The Corps is
removing the sediment to make the canal more navigable, but some
environmentalists think it should dredge deeper for a more permanent fix.
The materials will
be moved to a confined disposal facility nearby.
The dredging and
the facility is a joint venture between Kokosing Construction Co.’s Durocher
Marine and engineering firm O’Brien & Gere.
began in the Grand Calumet River in 2012 and has removed more than 1 million
cubic yards of toxic material. The river contains polychlorinated biphenyl
and is considered one of the most polluted rivers in the country.
said real-time air monitors will watch for elevated levels of some
contaminants that could be released during the dredging process.
Some East Chicago
residents said there should be more robust monitoring, especially since the
canal is close to several schools. Griffith resident George Smolka said he
was concerned that site workers are in danger of exposure to the toxic
If high levels of
chemicals are detected, workers are instructed to wear respiratory masks,
said Stan Neff, operations manager at Kokosing Construction.