Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Cleaning Up Minnesota Slip

DULUTH, Minn. – An update tonight on the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

It’s one of the largest projects of its kind and the goal is to clean up pollution in the St. Louis River.

This multi-partner project includes the state, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the city of Duluth.

These type of projects provide multiple benefits, like taking care of past pollution problems so they’re not a problem in the future and protecting the area so it’ll be clean and healthy going forward.

The project is in the early stages and it starts with the Minnesota Slip.

It will cost about $3.5 million.

“The investment with state bonding and constitutional amendment funding and then local investment as well from the city and the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center and also the efforts from partners like the St. Louis River Alliance. It takes all of that to make this happen,” said Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Assistant Commissioner for Water Policy Shannon Lottmiller.

Under this initiative the focus is the remediation and restoration of the Great Lakes with emphasis on areas of concern.

EPA staff tell us the St. Louis River is one of those areas.

Contamination from the water can have impacts on wildlife among other things.

Crews are essentially creating a clean layer on top of contaminants so they don’t come in contact with aquatic creatures.

“The St. Louis  River is one of the most productive estuaries in the Lake Superior basin and, so this is still a highly productive ecological system, but it’s being impacted by some of the contaminated areas,” said EPA Remediation & Restoration Section Chief Scott Cieniawski.

The Minnesota Slip 3 and C are also part of the process.

The project is expected to be complete in November.

There were contaminated sediments underneath the William Irvin ship.

That’s why the Irvin had to be moved so crews could remove the contaminated material.

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