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Ohio EPA Approves Toledo Harbor Dredging

Ohio EPA has issued a water quality certification to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers authorizing the dredging of Toledo Harbor this summer. The certification allows the Corps to dispose of 1.1 million cubic yards of dredged sediment in open waters in Lake Erie.

Toledo Harbor is the shallowest and most heavily dredged port in the Great Lakes. The Corps is required to maintain sufficient water depth for commercial navigation in the federal navigation channel and 19 miles of the approach channel in Maumee Bay. During the 2013 dredging season, the Corps must conduct sampling to study the amount of bio-available phosphorus in the dredged sediments.

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

A public hearing about the application to dredge was held on Jan. 24, 2013, and public comments were received through Jan. 31, 2013.

Issuance of the certification can be appealed to the Environmental Review Appeals Commission (ERAC). Many appeals must be filed within 30 days of the issuance of the final action; therefore, Ohio EPA recommends that anyone wishing to file an appeal contact ERAC at (614) 466-8950 for more information.

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The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency was created in 1972 to consolidate efforts to protect and improve air quality, water quality and waste management in Ohio. In the past 40 years, air pollutants dropped by as much as 90 percent; large rivers meeting standards improved from 21 percent to 89 percent; and hundreds of polluting, open dumps were replaced with engineered landfills and an increased emphasis on waste reduction and recycling. Ohio EPA -- 40 years and moving forward.


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