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Grand Calumet River Area of Concern

Grand Calumet River AOC Boundary Map

The Grand Calumet River flows into Lake Michigan.

Grand Calumet River AOC Boundary Map (PDF) (1pg, 91K About PDF)

Grand Calumet shape file (ZIP) (23K)

Key Documents
Contact Us

Scott Ireland
(ireland.scott@epa.gov)
(312) 886-8121

Restoration and remedial efforts are in progress in the East Branch (Zone B) of the Grand Calumet River. The 1.8-mile stretch of the river from Indianapolis Blvd. to Hohman Ave. is undergoing projects designed to remove contaminants and restore habitat. 350,000 cubic yards of sediment is slated to be dredged and a cap will be placed over the dredged sediment.

Wetlands and nearshore habitats will be restored with native plants followed the completion of the dredging, expected in 2016.

aerial photo showing zone B

Zone B - East Branch of the Grand Calumet River - click for larger image

Zone C is currently in the design phase, while the specifics of zones D and E are being negotiated among federal and non-federal entities.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is currently carrying out multiple projects in the Area of Concern. Navigational dredging began in summer 2013. USACE is also conducting habitat restoration work at the Marquette Park Lagoon (Gary Lagoons Superfund removal site), which will be completed in 2013.

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About the Grand Calumet River

The Grand Calumet River, originating in the east end of Gary, Indiana, flows 13 miles through the heavily industrialized cities of Gary, East Chicago and Hammond. The majority of the river's flow drains into Lake Michigan via the Indiana Harbor and Ship Canal, sending about one billion gallons of water into the lake per day.

The Area of Concern begins 15 miles south of downtown Chicago and includes the east branch of the river, a small segment of the west branch, and the Indiana Harbor and Ship Canal. Today, 90 percent of the river's flow originates as municipal and industrial effluent, cooling and process water, and storm water overflows. Although discharges have been reduced, a number of contaminants continue to impair the AOC.

The largest extent of the impairment to the AOC comes from legacy pollutants found in the sediments at the bottom of the Grand Calumet River and Indiana Harbor and Ship Canal. Contaminants include PCBs, PAHs, and heavy metals such as mercury, cadmium, chromium and lead. High fecal coliform bacteria levels, biochemical oxygen demand, suspended solids, and oil and grease create additional problems. These pollutants originated from both point and nonpoint sources.

Nonpoint sources include 5 to 10 million yards of contaminated sediment, industrial waste site runoff, CERCLA sites (five of which are on Superfund's National Priority List), RCRA hazardous waste sites, underground storage tanks, atmospheric deposition, urban runoff and contaminated groundwater. Point sources are limited to industrial and municipal wastewater discharges and combined sewer overflows. All 14 beneficial uses were determined to be impaired in the 1991 remedial action plan.

Beneficial Use Impairments

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Efforts towards restoration

The Indiana Department of Environmental Management is responsible for preparing remedial action plans, which began in 1991. The Citizens Advisory for the Remediation of the Environment Committee plays a very active role in implementing the RAP and works closely with IDEM to make updates and future plans for the AOC.

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Documents Exit disclaimer

You will need the free Adobe Reader to view some of the files on this page. See EPA's PDF page to learn more.

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Partners Exit disclaimer

In 1991, IDEM opened a regional office in Gary to act as a liaison with local officials, concerned citizens, and industry, including the involvement of concerned citizens through the Citizens Advisory for the Remediation of the Environment Committee. CARE plays an active role in implementing the RAP and consists of subcommittees to direct their focuses in specific BUIs. They also educate the public about the changing status of the Grand Calumet.

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