Ohio EPA Director Craig Butler said he's "very disappointed " the federal agency continues to insist it's safe to put "contaminated material" in the lake that could escalate PCB levels in fish by 10 to 20 percent.
said the Corps previously used more stringent testing standards designed for the fragile Great Lakes ecosystem when deciding whether to dispose of material in Lake Erie, but it used a more generic set of standards called the "Inland Testing Manual" in making this decision.
believes they used the looser standards because the results they obtained using the standards designed for the Great Lakes "didn't fit their desired outcome."
The Army Corps
is contemplating dumping the material in a spot about nine miles north of Cleveland
, where they've previously put contaminated material.
"We don't want to see them continue to put contaminated material there," said Butler
on Wednesday sent the Army Corps his
own letter arguing that the federal agency has the flexibility to boost its share of project costs "to address reasonable and technically appropriate State water-quality concerns.
asked that it use federal money to put all the sediments dredged from the area in 2015 in the existing disposal facility.
agency believes the Army Corps
needs an state permit to dump sediment in the lake, but Army Corps officials said they could "disregard that and take action on their own," although they'd prefer not to do that.
said the Ohio EPA
, the Port of Cleveland, the Army Corps
and other interested parties will continue to meet to discuss potential solutions, including a "five stage" strategy that would divide the 230,000 cubic yards of dredge material into five pieces and dispose of them in different ways, such as recycling or beach nourishment.
hopes the Army Corps
agrees to cooperate with a sediment disposal plan the Port of Cleveland approved to extend the life of the disposal facility by revamping how it is used.
That plan calls for collecting as much silt as possible before it ends up in the shipping lane, selling that silt for uses including compost and road fill, and draining water from sediment that's already in the facility to gain capacity.
"We are absolutely committed to keeping the ship channel open," Butler