PUBLIC INTEREST CENTER: (614) 644-2160
MEDIA CONTACT: Dina Pierce
CITIZEN CONTACT: Darla Peelle

Annual Toledo Harbor Dredging Public Meeting Set

Ohio EPA will hold a public information session and hearing at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 29, 2012, to accept comments on a proposal for the annual dredging of the Toledo Harbor federal navigational channel. The meeting will take place at Toledo City Council Chambers, One Government Center, 640 Jackson St., Toledo.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Buffalo, N.Y., has submitted an application for a water quality certification for the project, which involves dredging the lake approach channel and lower three-quarters mile of the Maumee River. The Corps’ preferred design would be to dredge approximately 1.5 million cubic yards of sediment and dispose of it in the open lake area in Lake Erie, approximately 3.5 miles from the Toledo Harbor lighthouse.

Alternative plans with less or no environmental impact also will be considered by Ohio EPA. The Corps’ minimal degradation alternative is to dredge and open lake dispose up to 1.1 million cubic yards of sediment. Dredging would not start before July 1 and would not occur during storm events.

During the information session, Ohio EPA representatives will present details about the proposed project. During the hearing, which follows the information session, the public can submit comments and questions for the record regarding the application.

The federal Clean Water Act requires anyone discharging dredged or fill material into Ohio waters to obtain a Section 401 water quality certification from Ohio EPA. Ohio EPA's review is to ensure the project will comply with Ohio's water quality standards. Ohio EPA will consider any comments received before making a decision.

The proposed discharge would result in a change from the current water quality conditions of Lake Erie’s Western Basin. Therefore, Ohio EPA is required to consider technical, economic, social and environmental aspects of the proposed project.

Ohio EPA will accept written comments on the application through April 5, 2012. Anyone may submit written comments or request to be placed on a mailing list for information by writing to: Ohio EPA, Division of Surface Water, Permits Processing Unit, P.O. Box 1049, Columbus, Ohio 43216-1049, or emailing dswcomments@epa.state.oh.us. The application and other related materials are available for review at Ohio EPA Central Office, Lazarus Government Center, 50 W. Town St., Columbus, OH, by first calling (614) 644-2001.

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