Fox River cleanup just months from completion

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Dredging barge on the Fox River (WBAY file photo)

Posted April 24, 2020

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) One of the nation's largest Superfund cleanup projects in history is down to its final few months.

Dredging operations on the lower Fox River have resumed, for a 12th year, to remove cancer-causing PCB's in river sediment.

Started in 2009, the EPA says the total cost to clean-up decades of pollution on a 13-mile stretch of the lower Fox River will exceed one billion dollars.

Footing the bill are paper companies, who anticipated the clean-up would be completed last year.

"The biggest factor last year was the weather and the weather just didn't cooperate, and as such we have some work to get done this year again," says Fox River Cleanup Project Spokesperson Scott Stein.

Stein says dredging, capping and covering operations are underway between downtown Green Bay and the mouth of the Fox River.

He expects the final work to wrap up in late June, and in the meantime, is urging boaters to use caution.

"There's buoys and markers out there again where the equipment for the project is in operation so anybody who's using the river for recreational purposes just please use caution and pay attention to the signs and buoys that are out there so we don't have any problems as we wrap up the project this year," says Stein.

Stein says during the first 11 years of the cleanup effort, 5.9 million cubic yards of sediment has been dredged from the river, producing nearly 3.3 million tons of material that been hauled to a landfill.

In addition, about 880 acres of river bottom have been capped or sand covered.

"The project has gone well and people will be happy with the results, there will be long-term monitoring that is going on long after the project to make sure that the goals of the project have been met," says Stein.

Source: wbay