U.S. Water News Online
WASHINGTON -- The United States needs to spend at least
$7.4 billion to completely clean some of the most contaminated sites
on the Great Lakes, according to a report released by the commission
monitoring the work.
Canada and the United States have agreed to clean up 43
contaminated sites -- 26 in the United States, 12 in Canada and five
in channels shared by both countries.
In its first progress report since 1994, the International Joint
Commission said Canada's Collingwood Harbour and Severn Sound have
been completely cleaned and Spanish Harbor in Canada and Presque Isle
Bay in Pennsylvania are close to being cleaned.
``Clearly, not enough progress is being made in the Great Lakes
areas of concern,'' said Sen. Mike DeWine, R-Ohio.
DeWine said he will continue working to secure funding for the
Great Lakes Legacy Act, which was passed last year and provides $50
million annually for five years for cleanup.
The report said it's difficult to determine the cost of the
remaining work because of gaps in the commission's information.
However, costs could top $7.4 billion in the United States and $1.3
billion in Canada, the report said.
``As the federal governments are considering an investment in the
Great Lakes, they are going to need dollar figures,'' said Margaret
Wooster, executi ve director of Great Lakes United, an environmental
watchdog group based in Buffalo, N.Y. ``So at least we have a
According to the report, the U.S. government has spent $3.4
billion to upgrade wastewater infrastructure at two contaminated
sites and $130 million to clean more than 1.6 million cubic yards of
contaminated sediment from several waterways, including the Maumee
River in Ohio. Canada has spent about $190 million on wastewater
``We have mixed feelings. We're glad to note the progress that has
been made,'' said commissioner Herb Gray. ``But the information we
have gathered, however incomplete, indicates that ... there is still
a lot more to be done.''
The progress report said ``significant challenges'' remain in
determining what work has been done, setting priorities, getting more
funding and coordinating cleanup efforts between local, state and
The commission was created in 1972, and Wooster said those details
are long overdue.
``For the IJC to be making these recommendations now as if it's
something new and not something that should have been done a long
time ago is disappointing,'' she said.
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