An official website of the United States government.

This is not the current EPA website. To navigate to the current EPA website, please go to This website is historical material reflecting the EPA website as it existed on January 19, 2021. This website is no longer updated and links to external websites and some internal pages may not work. More information »

Great Lakes AOCs

Detroit Riverwalk Great Lakes Legacy Act Project in the Detroit River AOC

Contact Us

Rose Ellison

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Great Lakes National Program Office is working with its non-federal sponsor, the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy, to clean up pollution in the Detroit River Area of Concern. A 1.2-acre contaminated sediment site in the Detroit River upstream of downtown Detroit will be cleaned up in 2020. This project is being performed under the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative’s (GLRI) sediment remediation component, the Great Lakes Legacy Act (GLLA). The work is an important step in removing the Detroit River AOC from a list of the most polluted places around the Great Lakes.

Detroit River – Riverwalk Clean-Up

Drawing of The Future of the Detroit RiverwalkFuture of the Detroit Riverwalk. The Detroit River - Riverwalk project will result in the remediation of about 13,000 cubic yards of polluted sediment (mud). The mud is contaminated with heavy metals, including lead, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Sediments will be capped in place.  The cap will isolate contaminants from the aquatic environment and eliminate exposures to contaminants. The sediment cleanup is scheduled to take place during the 2020 construction season and will cost about $2.9 million.

Completing this remedial action will contribute to the removal of the Restrictions on Dredging Beneficial Use Impairment (BUI), the Fish Tumors and Other Deformities BUI, and Degradation of Benthos BUI in the Detroit River AOC.  Additional sediment remediation actions will be necessary to fully address these.