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Great Lakes AOCs

EPA Begins Cleanup Activities in Harbor Slips - Port of Duluth

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Overview of September 2018 Cleanup

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Great Lakes National Program Office is working with its non-federal sponsor, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, to clean up pollution in the St. Louis River Area of Concern. Three slips in the Port of Duluth-Superior will be cleaned up this fall, including Minnesota Slip near the downtown Duluth waterfront and Slips 3 and C. These projects are being performed under the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative’s sediment remediation component, the Great Lakes Legacy Act. The work is an important step in removing the St. Louis River AOC from a list of the most polluted places around the Great Lakes.

Minnesota Slip Cleanup

The Minnesota Slip project will result in the remediation of about 37,000 cubic yards of polluted sediment (mud) in the slip. The mud is contaminated with heavy metals and polyaromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs. Project activities include moving 2,500 cubic yards of the mud within the slip to level the bottom and allow for its current use to continue. All sediment will be left in place and covered, or “capped,” with approximately 2 feet of dredged material from clean areas of the harbor along with armoring stone.

The cap will isolate contaminants and protect against damage from boat traffic. The sediment cleanup is expected to take place in October and November 2018 and will cost about $3 million.

The dock wall along Harbor Drive in Minnesota Slip is being repaired by the city of Duluth to ensure public safety, prevent erosion into the slip and facilitate removal of the SS William A. Irvin, a retired lake freighter now serving as a museum. In September, the Irvin will be moved temporarily outside of the slip. The ship will return to the slip in spring 2019. The pedestrian bridge may be inaccessible during construction.

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Slip 3 and Slip C

Two additional slips will be cleaned up near the Minnesota Slip project area – Slip 3 and Slip C in the Duluth Harbor. Slip 3 is located next to the Pier B Resort where the retired Coast Guard Cutter Sundew is docked. Slip C is located near the former Georgia-Pacific plant and Compass Minerals. These are man-made slips, which have been altered and used by multiple industries since their construction more than a century ago.

About 116,000 cubic yards of sediment contaminated with heavy metals, dioxins, PCBs and PAHs will be left in place and capped with about 2 feet of dredged material from clean areas of the harbor along with armoring stone. This Great Lakes Restoration Initiative project will take place September through November 2018 and will cost about $3.5 million.

The projects are being conducted with the help of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Coast Guard Safety Zones will restrict public access to in-water construction areas at all three slips. Schedules allow for 24/7 activites so the cleanups may be completed quickly.

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EPA Begins Cleanup Activities in Harbor Slips Factsheet

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