11th Biennial Report on Great Lakes Water Quality

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Chapter 3


Contaminated Sediment

Funding for Sediment Remediation

Wastewater Infrastructure Maintenance and Upgrades

Fish and Wildlife Habitat

Waste Sites and Nonpoint Source Pollution

Accountability and Responsibility for Remedial Action Plans

United States Approach

Canadian Approach

Community-based Alliances

Confirming the Status of Restoration Efforts

Keeping the Focus on Beneficial Uses

Funding for Remediation and Planning Efforts

Corporate/Private Spending on Remediation


Progress Toward Restoration


Governments and stakeholders in the Great Lakes basin have initiated or completed a wide variety of remedial actions in various Areas of Concern in the United States and Canada, representing considerable investment with some well-documented successes, such as:

  • The governments no longer consider Collingwood Harbour and Severn Sound (Ontario) to be Areas of Concern because conditions have improved to the point that beneficial uses have been restored (Box 4). The Commission concurred.
  • The two governments have recognized Spanish Harbour in Ontario and Presque Isle Bay in Pennsylvania as Areas of Concern that are in a recovery stage (Box 4).
  • The U.S. government has reported that at a cost of nearly $130 million (USD), more than 1.27 million cubic meters (1.6 million cubic yards) of sediment contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) have been removed from the Kalamazoo River, Manistique River, Maumee River, Rouge River, Saginaw River, Saginaw Bay, and the United States side of the St. Lawrence River.
  • The Canadian government reports that approximately $270 million (CAD) has been invested by the federal and provincial governments over the last 10 years to improve the condition of wastewater infrastructure in various Canadian Areas of Concern. The United States government reports investing $3.4 billion (USD) to upgrade wastewater infrastructure in two United States Areas of Concern.

The status of activities directed toward remediation of contaminated sediment, wastewater infrastructure, and fish and wildlife habitat and restoration of other beneficial uses are discussed in the following sections of this report.

Box 4 :
Restoration Achievements Noted in Both Canada and the United States

Recently, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recognized Presque Isle Bay as an Area of Concern in a recovery stage-the first such designation of an Area of Concern in the United States. In Canada, Collingwood Harbour and Severn Sound have been designated as restored and have been delisted as Areas of Concern, and Spanish Harbour has been recognized as an Area of Concern in a recovery stage.

Progress in improving water quality in this bay surrounded by Erie, Pennsylvania, is a microcosm of work done basinwide. In this case, for example, $100 million (USD) has been invested to upgrade Erie's sewer system, and pollution from major industrial sources and runoff was stopped.

In Presque Isle Bay, as in many Canadian Areas of Concern, natural recovery has been chosen as the consensus strategy for dealing with contaminated sediment because widespread low levels of pollutants do not pose a direct threat to the biota living in the bay.