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EPA Announces $84 million Dredge Clean up Project of Lower Rouge River near Detroit

Posted on April 17, 2024

Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the start of dredging in the Lower Rouge River Old Channel near Detroit, Michigan.

Sediments in the channel are contaminated with polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs, heavy metals, and polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs. These contaminants are toxic to invertebrates, fish, and other wildlife. They also present risks to human health and the environment.

The EPA will work with Honeywell International, Inc. to complete the project. Under the Great Lakes Legacy Act, the EPA must obtain a percentage of funding from non-federal sponsors. For this project, the EPA will provide $51 million of funding through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and the Great Lakes Legacy Act.

This investment will contribute to the removal of beneficial use impairments, or BUIs, and support progress towards the future delisting of the Rouge River Area of Concern.

The second phase of environmental dredging work restarted this April and is projected to be completed by 2025. The dredging will remove 70,000 cubic yards of impacted sediment over 10-acres and isolate an additional 35,000 cubic yards under three engineered caps.

The first phase of the project – shoreline stabilization, was completed in 2017. Shoreline stabilization was a key component of this project due to steep side slopes and weakness and instability in the underlying shoreline and upland soils. Steep side slopes increase risk for shoreline failures during construction. Deep dredge cuts are included in the remedial design. The second phase of the project – environmental dredging, commenced in 2018, but was paused to address unanticipated site conditions including potential shoreline stability concerns.

The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers is managing the project for the 2024 construction season. The project is one of two sediment related BUI projects in the Rouge River Area of Concern identified by the Michigan Department of Energy, Great Lakes, and Environment and the Rouge River Public Advisory Council. Substrate enhancements in conjunction with engineered capping has been designed to tie into nearby spawning reefs in the adjacent Detroit River Area of Concern to increase connectivity between restoration sites to further improve aquatic wildlife populations for both areas of concern.

EPA’s website provides more information on the Great Lakes Legacy Act  and Great Lakes Legacy Act Funding Authorities.

EPA’s website also has more information on the Rouge River AOC.


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