chosen to dredge canal questioned
By Michael Puente
EAST CHICAGO - After months of studying several alternatives,
the U.S. Army Corps plans to use a mechanical clamshell
method to dredge the contaminated Indiana Harbor and Ship
The corps announced Friday that mechanical, or clamshell,
dredging was chosen from several other alternatives in
part because it will result in less volatile impurities
But some in the city say hydraulic dredging would have
been the best method.
They are doing it (the mechanical method) because itís
the cheapest way possible. They donít care. None of the
people making these decisions live here, they donít send
their children to school here,Ē said Colleen Aguirre,
a member of the East Chicago Waterway Management Board.
Aguirre is also an outspoken community activist of the
placement of the confined disposal facility that will
store the contaminated sediment about 800 feet north of
East Chicago Central High School.
Nobody is objecting to the dredging, but we only want
the best equipment and the latest technology. This is
not the latest technology,Ē Aguirre said.
Tim Raykovich, special assistant to Mayor Robert A. Pastrick,
also believes the hydraulic method would have been a better
approach because it is likely to produce less airborne
emissions, which runs contrary to the corps findings.
There are clearly benefits to hydraulic method. We support
whatever technology is the best and most cost effective,Ē
Raykovich said Friday. The canal needs to be dredged.
There is no doubt about that. ... We defer to the corpsí
judgment. ... Our preference would have been to use the
According to the corpsí findings, the mechanical method
is $16 million to $27 million less than using the hydraulic
The corpsí announcement came Friday in its release of
a study examining four possible methods to dredge the
federal waterway that has not been cleaned since 1972.
The canalís current state of impurity is considered a
threat to Lake Michigan drinking water and makes navigation
of cargo ships to companies that line the canal difficult.
According to corps officials, a number of other dredging
technologies were considered including hydraulic and special
purpose dredging. Dredging could begin in 2005.
The corps and the waterway district will discuss the
findings at a meeting at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at East Chicago
The study is available to the public at the East Chicago
Public Library, main office, 2401 E. Columbus Drive.