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Great Lakes AOCs

Howards Bay Remediation

Photo of Howards BayPhoto credit: Illinois-Indiana Sea GrantHowards Bay is an industrialized embayment located in the Superior, Wis., portion of the St. Louis River AOC. This site has been the location of multiple shipyards, commercial shipping activity, and other industry since the early 1800s and continues to be an important workhorse for the city of Superior. Maritime needs in the bay are met by a federal navigation channel and private slips used for loading and unloading ships. Ownership of adjacent lands around Howards Bay is a mix of industrial and city-owned property. 

Elevated levels of heavy metals including mercury, lead and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) have been detected through a series of sampling programs conducted by EPA and WDNR beginning in 1993 and extending through 2013. They are the primary constituents of concern (COCs) for this Great Lakes Legacy Act project.  Concentrations of the COCs vary within Howards Bay due to its history of dredging and other activities and have been documented by the historical studies.

Following completion of the remedial design, the planned project includes dredging 75,000 cubic yards of sediment and placement of a sand cover to control lingering dredge material as needed. Removal of contaminated sediment will result in a cleaner, safer environment for both aquatic organisms and humans alike. It will aid in the removal of BUIs linked to sediment contamination including: Fish Consumption Advisories, Fish Tumors and Other Deformities, Degradation of Benthos, Restrictions on Dredging, and Loss of Fish and Wildlife Habitat. The EPA is currently working with WDNR and Fraser Shipyards  to complete the remedial design. It is anticipated the planned project could begin in 2019 or 2020.