2013-08-15 / Community

DEQ project receives $1M for river project

WASHINGTON – The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality was awarded a $1 million grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to help continue the clean up of contaminated sediment from industrial waste in the Manistique River. The announcement of the grant funding came from the offices of Sens. Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow.

The funding for the clean-up effort is part of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, a competitive grant program coordinated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, to help restore and protect the Great Lakes ecosystem. Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality will use the $1 million federal grant to develop and implement measures to remediate polychlorinated biphenyls contamination in the Manistique River.

“Nestled along the northern shore of Lake Michigan where the lake meets the Manistique River, this region offers residents and tourists considerable natural beauty and countless opportunities to experience the outdoors,” said Sen. Levin, co-chair of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force. “This grant will help restore the Manistique River to its natural state and benefit Michiganians in all walks of life.”

Sen. Stabenow said: “Michigan is home to thousands of miles of coastline and rivers that attract tourists from across the country, contributing billions to our economy. This support will help clean up pollution and conserve beautiful natural resources in the Manistique watershed for generations to come.”

The Manistique River has been listed as an Area of Concern since 1987 due to repeated contamination from PCBs, oils and combined sewer overflows. In addition, debris and sawdust from more than a century of logging and milling in the region have degraded the Manistique River watershed. As a result, over the years there have been restrictions on dredging and fish and wildlife consumption, as well as beach closings.

The funding will be part of the larger, multi-million dollar project involving the EPA, Department of Environmental Quality, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Geologic Survey, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. It is expected to begin in 2014, after results for rounds of testing completed this summer are received and a remediation plan is compiled and presented to the public.

When completed, the project is expected to significantly reduce the PCB levels in the Manistique River channel and harbor. With successful remediation, dredging restrictions will be removed and fish PCB concentrations will return to safe levels. Meeting these two objectives will lead to the removal of the remaining Beneficial Use Impairments that were identified in 1987 for the Manistique River Area of Concern.

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