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EPA Sets Aside $13.8M For Cleaning Up Howards Bay

May 08, 2019 01:21PM ● By Editor
Great Lakes vessels the Lee A. Tregurtha and Kaye E. Barker are docked at Fraser Shipyards in Howards Bay in this file photo taken in March 2019. Photo: Danielle Kaeding/WPR

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Tuesday it has awarded $13.8 million for cleanup of a contaminated bay on Lake Superior.

The federal government is funding roughly two-thirds of the $18.5 million cleanup of Howards Bay in Superior as part of efforts to remove the St. Louis River as a contaminated hotspot on the Great Lakes.

The river is one of 43 sites that were designated the most polluted areas on the lakes under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. The cleanup project will remove sediments from the bay contaminated with metals like lead, mercury and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.

Darienne McNamara, environmental regulatory manager for the city of Superior, said the EPA’s announcement is a significant step forward for the cleanup.

"They were the last signature to go on the project agreement, which is the agreement between the EPA and all of the nonfederal sponsors," she said. "That’s the agreement we needed to have in place to get those funds earmarked for our project."

In March, the Superior City Council approved signing onto a project agreement to conduct the work, marking the city’s contribution of around $2.6 million through in-kind contribution. The city of Superior will pay for the cost of stormwater treatment related to the project, as well as some road repairs from hauling dredged material.

The city will also accept dredged material at the Wisconsin Point landfill, which has been closed for almost 40 years. Around 87,000 cubic yards of dredged material will be placed at the landfill.

"The Howards Bay project is yet another example of progress being made through public-private partnerships under the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative," said Cathy Stepp, EPA regional administrator in a release. "Cleaning up decades’ worth of contaminated sediment in the bay is a critical step in restoring the St. Louis River Area of Concern."

To read more of the original story and read related reporting, follow this link to the Wisconsin Public Radio News website.

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