Ohio agencies at odds over sediment in Lake Erie

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CLEVELAND (AP) -- Two government agencies are locked in a disagreement over whether dredged sediment from the Cuyahoga River and Cleveland Harbor are clean enough to be dumped miles out in Lake Erie.

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have had numerous discussions and exchanges of letters on the issue since August with no agreement.

The Ohio EPA is worried the sediment dumping will increase toxicity in Lake Erie fish, such as walleye and perch, that are popular with sportsmen, the Akron Beacon Journal (http://bit.ly/1hf9h03 ) reported. The state says the plan would establish a "worrisome precedent."

The Army Corps says moving the dredged sediments to two lake sites 5 to 9 miles offshore for disposal would create "no significant impact." The agency says the quality of Cleveland Harbor sediments has improved and now meets federal guidelines for "open-lake placement."

The Ohio EPA remains concerned about the levels of polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, residual DDT and other chemicals in the sediments and is against putting the sediments in the lake. The state also disagrees with the federal testing methods and says the sediments fail to meet federal PCB limits and are a threat to fish.

The state agency also is concerned that the in-lake dumping could affect water supplies, including Cleveland's.

Ohio EPA approval is needed before the federal project can proceed. If the state were to reject the plan, the corps could file an appeal with a state appeals board.

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Information from: Akron Beacon Journal, http://www.ohio.com