US Army Corps of Engineers
Buffalo District

Corps of Engineers Releases Findings of Report on Dredging Cleveland Harbor - Open-lake placement of certain sediment “not expected to result in significant adverse effects”

Published Dec. 18, 2014

 

Buffalo, New York –In accordance with federal standards outlined in 33 Code of Federal Regulations Parts 335-337, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Buffalo District Commander, Lt. Col. Karl D. Jansen, has determined the Federal Standard for the placement of dredged sediment from Cleveland Harbor. This determination concludes that the majority of dredged sediment from Cleveland Harbor, and specifically the Upper Cuyahoga River federal navigation channel is suitable for open-lake placement.

Top scientists from the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) confirmed the determination based on available evidence, including information provided by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (Ohio EPA), that certain sediments from the Upper Cuyahoga River federal navigation channel present an acceptably low risk to Lake Erie, consistent with USACE’s overall conclusion that open‐lake placement is not expected to result in significant adverse impacts.

"We continue to actively partner with the Ohio EPA, the Port of Cleveland and other stakeholders in order to dredge in 2015 and beyond. We have now reached the point where, thanks to the cumulative impact of federal and state legislation over the years and the efforts of regulatory agencies like the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Ohio EPA, certain sediments from the Upper Cuyahoga River federal navigation channel are suitable for open-lake placement and beneficial use," said Jansen. "We are committed to dredging Cleveland Harbor both for its regional and national economic importance, and for its contribution to national security," he said. The Commanding General of the Great Lakes and Ohio River Division, Brig. Gen. Richard G. Kaiser is confident in this approach. "I have thoroughly reviewed the Buffalo District Commander’s determination and ERDC’s scientific confirmation. I am satisfied that all processes and procedures were followed according to regulation and policy and I stand by the determination," said Kaiser.

The Federal Standard is the environmentally acceptable, technically feasible, and most cost effective means for the placing of dredged sediment, which in this case is open-lake placement for approximately 80% of Cleveland Harbor’s sediment. The USACE fully supports a locally preferred plan of Confined Disposal Facility (CDF) placement and/or beneficial use, but a non-federal cost share partner is required to fund any costs exceeding the Federal Standard.

A meeting was held in November 2014 at the ERDC Environmental Laboratory to allow Ohio EPA to present the technical basis for their concerns regarding open‐lake placement of Cleveland Harbor sediments into Lake Erie. Meeting participants included the Great Lakes and Ohio River Division, Buffalo District, the EPA and Ohio EPA.

ERDC’s mission is to help solve our nation’s most challenging problems in civil and military engineering, geospatial sciences, water resources, and environmental sciences for the Army, Department of Defense, civilian agencies, and our Nation’s public good. ERDC has a staff of approximately 2,500 federal employees and contractors, and an annual research program exceeding $1.6 billion.

The report will be available on the Buffalo District homepage at:

 http://www.lrb.usace.army.mil/Portals/45/docs/Cleveland/ERDC-Cleveland-Findings-Memo-USACE-OEPA.pdf


Contact
Bruce I. Sandrers
716-879-4410
bruce.i.sanders@usace.army.mil

Release no. 14-016