11th Biennial Report on Great Lakes Water Quality


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Chapter 3

Introduction

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

Waste Sites and Nonpoint Source Pollution

The remediation of hazardous waste sites that contribute contamination to the Areas of Concern is necessary to reduce the exposure of fish, wildlife and human populations to persistent toxic substances because land-based sites can leach contaminants into groundwater and surface water or release contaminants to the atmosphere. There are multiple hazardous waste sites in several United States Areas of Concern. The cost to date for remediation on the United States side of the Niagara River Area of Concern alone has been $382 million (USD), and future outlays are estimated at $249 million (USD), excluding long-term operation, maintenance and monitoring costs for the sites. Hazardous waste sites identified in United States Areas of Concern are illustrated in Figure 4f. Because the geographic boundaries of some of the United States Areas of Concern are uncertain, it is not possible to determine how many such sites are located within the Areas of Concern. Canada has reported that contaminant levels are such that remedial actions related to hazardous waste sites are not necessary in Canadian Areas of Concern16.

    Figure 4 :
    Hazardous waste sites within the United States Areas of Concern.
    (Click on the picture for a larger version).

Reductions in phosphorus and sediment inputs from agricultural nonpoint sources have been a part of government-funded programs in both countries since the mid-1980s. Environment Canada reports spending over $20 million (CAD) since the inception of the Remedial Action Plan program to curtail these types of inputs within Canadian Areas of Concern. Although there are several United States federal programs supporting reductions of nonpoint source pollution, the United States government has not identified expenditures within United States Areas of Concern. As previously noted, because the geographic boundaries of Areas of Concern in the United State are not clearly defined, the extent of nonpoint source pollution in the Areas of Concern is difficult to determine.