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Ohio EPA Issues Certification Allowing Fairport Harbor Dredging
Maintenance dredging of the Fairport Harbor federal navigation channel has been authorized by Ohio EPA in the central basin of Lake Erie and the navigable channel of the Grand River.
The project will allow the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to dredge 250,000 cubic yards of sediment from Fairport Harbor in 8,300 feet of the Grand River to maintain sufficient water depth for commercial navigation. Sixty thousand cubic yards will be placed in the near shore area to provide beach nourishment; the rest will be placed in the open water of Lake Erie.
The water quality certification complies with Governor Kasich’s executive order, signed on Feb. 11, 2015, which requires Ohio EPA to prohibit the open lake disposal of dredge material in Lake Erie if the dredge material could result in higher levels of a chemical in fish that bioaccumulate throughout the food chain, or the disposal of dredge material would violate any international treaties or compacts. These requirements are part of the state’s Coastal Management Program, which is enforced through the federal Coastal Zone Management Act.
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.
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. Since then, 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.