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U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Awards $3.7 Million Contract to Dredge Cleveland Shipping Channel

Posted on October 18, 2016

By James F. McCarty, Cleveland Connects

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said Wednesday that it has awarded a $3.7 million contract to dredge Cleveland Harbor and the six-mile Cuyahoga River shipping channel.

The dredging work is expected to begin by Nov. 1, and be completed by Dec. 15.

Under terms of the agreement, Ryba Marine Construction of Cheboygan, Mich., will dispose of the dredged sediment in a confined disposal facility on the Lake Erie shoreline near Burke Lakefront Airport, said Army Corps spokesman Andrew Kornacki.

The Army Corps had preferred to dump the sediment directly into Lake Erie, but reached a settlement with the Ohio EPA and the Port of Cleveland to store the sediment on land, with the Army Corps paying the additional cost of about $2.1 million, Kornacki said.

The Ohio EPA agreed to reimburse the Army Corps if it fails to prevail in a pending lawsuit in federal court.

An EPA spokeswoman said the agency would have preferred that the Army Corps had acted quicker on the contract.

“We are disappointed that it took the entire seven days allowed by the court for the Army Corps to award the contract to dredge the Cuyahoga River shipping channel,” said spokeswoman Heidi Griesmer. “We expected the Corps to move quickly to begin dredging the channel as soon as possible to ensure it is navigable.”

The Army Corps said its tests have shown the sediment is clean enough for open-lake placement. The EPA said its tests found the sediment too polluted with PCBs for the open lake.

The Army Corps is required to maintain the upper reaches of the shipping channel to a depth of 23 feet. High water on Lake Erie had kept the river navigable until now, but a recent buildup of sediment near the ArcelorMittal steel mill docks had made dredging necessary.

Had the Army Corps and EPA failed to reach the agreement, it would have been the first time in at least 30 years that the Corps had failed to dredge the shipping channel and harbor.


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