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Indiana residents oppose canal dredging dump facility

June 23, 2017

EAST CHICAGO, Ind. (AP) — Northwest Indiana residents say they’re fed up with toxic waste in their city.

The (Northwest Indiana) Times (http://bit.ly/2s3E2OR ) reports the Army Corps of Engineers is looking to permanently store approximately 60,000 cubic yards of toxic sediment at a disposal facility in East Chicago. The site has been used to contain such sediment dredged from the Indiana Harbor and Ship Canal since 2012.

Corps officials are seeking permission from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management to implement the plan. It includes protective measures such as containment walls as well as air and water monitoring.

The goal is to prevent the sediment from flowing into Lake Michigan and make commercial navigation in the canal safer and more efficient, said Jean Greensley, a project manager for the EPA. Steps will be taken to ensure the contaminants are properly covered with water to stop air pollution, she said.

East Chicago residents said they’d prefer the sediment be cleaned up and removed.

“We are absolutely, vehemently opposed to any higher levels of any contaminants,” said the Rev. Cheryl Rivera with the Northwest Indiana Federation of Interfaith Organizations. “We are fed up with the assault of toxic contamination on our city, our neighborhoods and our people.”

Thomas Frank, environmental activist and former director of the Indiana Harbor Shipping Canal, said the EPA should consider the city’s status as an environmental justice community, which means it’s a predominantly low-income, minority community disproportionately affected by industry pollution.

State and federal officials said they haven’t approved the permit yet and that they’re reviewing public comments.

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Information from: The Times, http://www.nwitimes.com

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