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Great Lakes Article:

Air, sludge issues debated in canal cleanup
Army Corps pushes less expensive monitoring method
By Jim Masters
Northwest Indiana Times

EAST CHICAGO -- The East Chicago Waterway Management District Board of Directors discussed testing procedures involving ambient air monitoring and dredging of sediments from the Indiana Harbor and Shipping Canal at Tuesday's meeting.

Board members sparred with each other and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers representative Bill White over whether the proposed method for testing sediments dredged from the canal were tough enough.

Board member Colleen Aguirre was joined by audience members in asking the Corps of Engineers to consider a Level 1 testing, rather than Level 3, which is less comprehensive.

"People here are going to feel it's appropriate," she said.

White said a Level 3 testing of the sediment is in line with the requirements of the Indiana Department of Environmental Management and still an effective level of analysis. A Level 1 testing would be much more expensive, he said.

Board member Don Koliboski, who lives near the Confined Disposal Facility, said he was satisfied with Level 3 testing.

On the air monitoring front, the Corps of Engineers began air monitoring in the vicinity of the CDF at the former Energy Cooperative Inc. site in November 2001. Data has been collected on the presence of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), volatile organic compounds, particulate matter and metals.

The five monitoring stations will be reduced to two, including one at Central High School, during the construction phase and continue through interim periods. The monitoring will operate on a six-day schedule.

As the dredging and disposal phase approaches, the Corps of Engineers will develop a plan for air monitoring using the data already collected. Each future construction contract will include a separate monitoring plan.

The results of the data will be distributed to the community in an annual report and on the Corps of Engineers' Web site.

In other announcements, the board is considering hiring around-the-clock security for the ECI site.

The CDF's slurry wall is substantially complete, and construction awards to remove pipe obstructions in the canal are forthcoming.

A meeting is tentatively set for March 30 to discuss purchase of the CSX Railroad spur easement, which runs through the ECI site.

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