Ottawa River Contaminated Sediment Removal

Project – Ottawa River

In 2010, approximately 250,000 cubic yards of contaminated sediments were removed from the upper reaches of the lower 9 miles of the Ottawa River around Suder Ave bridge to Auburn Ave bridge. The lower 3 miles were not dredged but monitored for natural recovery to support the removal of Beneficial Use Impairments.  In 2020 remedy effectiveness assessment (REA) sampling was completed by U.S. EPA Office of Research and Development in areas that were dredged. The REA report will be available in 2023. Also, in 2020 sampling for remedy confirmation was completed by U.S. ACE in the monitored natural recovery (MNR) area.  A link to the MNR remedy confirmation report is available below.

Project Location

The Ottawa River clean-up was divided into four reaches. Reach 1 being the most downstream reach, extending from the mouth of the Ottawa River to approximately river mile 3.5. Reaches 2, 3, and 4 extending, approximately, from river miles 3.5 to 9.

Project Benefits

• Reduce or remove impairments negatively affected aquatic communities.
• Improve overall environmental health and usability of this area.

Project Objectives and Milestones

• Encourage economic development and reuse of the area.
• Removal of Ottawa River sediments contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), heavy metals (primarily lead), and oil and grease was completed in 2010 to improve water quality, habitat, and biological communities.
• Contact and consumption advisories were reduced in 2012 and 2017.
• BUI 1: Restrictions on Fish and Wildlife Consumption was removed in August 2022.

Project Partners

U.S. EPA and the Ottawa River Group (comprised of seven industries & the city of Toledo) worked with community partners and other federal, state, and local governmental agencies to evaluate and clean up contaminated sediments utilizing the Great Lakes Legacy Act (GLLA) and other non-federal funding.

Photo credits:
All page photos: Ohio EPA