Dredging of ‘Football Field’s’ Worth of Contaminants Begins in Superior’s Howards Bay
The project aims to remove thousands of cubic yards of contaminants left there by fossil fuels like coal, gas, and oil over the years by previous industries.
SUPERIOR, Wis.- A dredging project in Howards Bay along Connor’s Point aims to remove thousands of cubic yards of contaminants left there by fossil fuels like coal, gas, and oil over the years by previous industries.
“The main goal is to cleanup Howard’s Bay,” said Corey Weston, P.E., Chief of Construction and Survey Section with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Using an excavator out on the water scooping the sediment into a barge, the cleanup will extend from the Hughitt Slip to the head of Howards Bay near Fifth and Main Street.
A big area — to remove roughly 75,000 cubic yards of pollutants by this Fall.
“To put it in perspective: the amount of material that will go out through the environmental process will be the equivalent to one football field, approximately 45 foot tall,” Weston said.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Wisconsin DNR and other agencies are all working on the $12.1 million cleanup.
“The St. Louis River was listed as one of the areas of concern on the Great Lakes and this slip in particular because of the contaminants that are in there, was one that required to be cleaned up so this is one of many within the area that will be cleaned up in the next few years,” said Weston.
Once the environmental dredging gets going, the sediment will be loaded into these concrete blocks, when it will then be trucked out to Wisconsin Point.
“Some of it will go to the Wisconsin Point landfill, some of it will go to an offsite disposal facility such as Vonco,” Weston said.
Officials say they hope to transport about one thousand cubic yards a day, which equals roughly a hundred truck loads to the dump sites, daily. “Disposal at the landfill and grading at the landfill,” said Weston.
“So it’s a very complex project,” he said.
Water removed with the contaminated sediment will go through several different filters and treatment before being pumped back into the bay — returning to the ecosystem free of pollution.
“The cleanup will then hopefully take care of that, and make it safer for the critters,” said Weston.