The existing federal navigation project at the Indiana Harbor and Canal (IHC) was authorized by the River and Harbor Acts of 1910 and subsequent Acts of 1913, 1919, 1922, 1925, 1930, 1932, 1935, 1937, 1960 and 1965; Water Resources Development act of 1986 and 1996; Emergency Supplemental Apportions Act dated 12 May 2005.
The project consists of a north breakwater (1,120 feet of rubblemound structure); an easterly breakwater (2,524 feet rubblemound structure); an approach channel 800 feet wide at –29.0 ft. Low Water Datum (LWD); an anchorage and maneuver basin at project depth of –28.0 ft. LWD; a harbor entrance 280 feet wide at –27.0 ft. LWD; and a main canal at –22.0 ft. LWD; and a confined disposal facility (CDF) with a storage capacity of 1.9M cubic yards
Contaminated sediment and a lack of a suitable storage place for the sediment lead to the harbor not being dredged from 1972 to 2012. Since 2012, 'over' 1.58 million cubic yards (CY) of sediment has been removed from the waterway and confined, greatly reducing the contaminants that had previously been washing into Lake Michigan and improving the efficiency of deep draft commercial navigation.
This project is designed to dredge and dispose of Indiana Harbor sediment in a way that:
- Is safe to human health
- Improves the environment
- Is economically beneficial
Accurate and timely information is critical to the effective resolution of the many issues associated with the Indiana Harbor Project. This web site has been established to provide you the information you need to stay informed about this effort and related issues. The site will be updated based on the needs of our site visitors. Please let us know what you need and we will attempt to provide it on the site for you.
Over the next year, the entire federal channel will be dredged to Congressionally authorized navigation depths, including the removal of sediments in adjacent berthing and docking areas at the local sponsors (non-federal) expense. The project includes the operation and maintenance of the CDF on an USEPA Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) site in East Chicago, Indiana. In addition to providing storage for the dredged sediment, the CDF isolates and contains the existing on-site soil and groundwater contamination in compliance with RCRA requirements. The CDF includes the following features:
- A slurry cutoff wall
- Outer clay dikes with interior disposal cells
- Ground water gradient control system
- A cut-off wall barrier at the canal
- An interim wastewater treatment plant
- Dredging off-load facilities
- Administration building
Dredging operations at IHC were completed by Joint Venture (Kokosing and O'Brien & Gere) in November 2020 for the current contract, and for Phase 1 of the CDF. The Corps has removed a total of 1,705,186 CY of sediment (including federal and nonfederal) from the IHC. Dredging will resume in 2024.
The IHC CDF Phase 2 dike raise construction began last month and is scheduled for completion by 2023.
The Corps awarded a construction contract to Integrated Environmental Solutions, Inc. for CDF Phase 2 in September 2020 to raise the dike up to 11 feet (and is dependent on available funds). Once completed, the CDF will have a total capacity of 4.8 million CY, and allow maintenance dredging for approximately 20 to 30 more years before closure.
Questions can be directed to the Public Affairs Office at (312) 846-5330, email at ChicagoDistrict.PAO@usace.army.mil.