EAST CHICAGO, Ind. - On Oct. 29, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Rep. Peter Visclosky (IN-1), and officials from Indiana held a ribbon cutting ceremony to mark the construction completion at the confined disposal facility (CDF) and the start of dredging at Indiana Harbor and Canal. Groundwater pumping and treatment is also underway, and air monitoring activities are occurring.
“We’re eager to start dredging here at Indiana Harbor and Canal,” District Engineer Col. Frederic Drummond Jr. said. “This harbor hasn’t been dredged since 1972, but thanks to a truly collaborative effort involving federal, state and local government, private industry and members of the local community, we are ready to get dredging underway and to safely remove and contain the thousands of yards of polluted sediment from this harbor and canal. This project will not only restore navigation but will improve water quality in southern Lake Michigan."
The type of dredging being used is mechanical dredging with an environmental (closed clamshell) bucket. Dredged material will be placed in barges and transported to the CDF, where it will be off-loaded hydraulically (pumped in pipes) using water recirculated from the CDF.
The initial dredging operation will be in the Lake George Branch of the canal, in front of the CDF. The dredging of this small area will not require the Indianapolis Bridge to be opened regularly, because the barges will be next to the CDF. The second dredging location for this year is out in the harbor, by the turning basin and the ArcelorMittal “6 Dock” area. This second location will provide relief for boats that currently need to be light-loaded to enter the harbor. Due to the location, the various bridges along the canal will need to open for the barges to move sediment.
"Many private organizations and government agencies at all levels, including IDEM, are actively working to address sediments in the Grand Calumet River area of concern," said IDEM Commissioner Thomas Easterly. "This complex and challenging project is an important step towards remediation and restoration efforts to improve water quality."
“The last time this East Chicago waterway was dredged was in 1972,” Executive Director Fernando Trevino, East Chicago Waterway Management District, said. “The dredging project will certainly improve our local economy and help clean our waterways, and the East Chicago Waterway Management District is proud to be part of the diverse and hard working team that's making this happen.”
“After several years of cooperative effort from Federal, state, and local officials, the Indiana Harbor Ship Canal will be dredged for the first time since 1972,” Rep. Peter Visclosky said. “Dredging the canal will mean far more than a deeper waterway; it will mean faster, more efficient transport of the cargo bound for local manufacturing facilities, which will mean more work, more business, and more jobs for generations to come. Additionally, by removing sediments from the Ship Canal, the migration of sediment into Lake Michigan, our largest body of fresh water, will be prevented. I thank Mayor Anthony Copeland, the City of East Chicago, the East Chicago Waterway Management District, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for their hard work in service of this effort. We have proven what so many in Northwest Indiana have long understood: nothing is impossible if we work together.”
The dredging and CDF operation contract has been awarded to Kokosing, and O’Brien & Gere.
Air monitoring results at the CDF are available in real time and additional project information is available at the dredging air monitoring data website http://www.indianaharbordredge.com and the Indiana Harbor project website http://www.lrc.usace.army.mil/Missions/CivilWorksProjects/IndianaHarbor.aspx.