Brenda R. Jones
Great Lakes National Program Office
Lincoln Creek & Milwaukee River Channel Legacy Act Cleanup
Since 2008, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Milwaukee County Parks, and U.S. EPA Great Lakes National Program Office have been working together on the Lincoln Creek and Milwaukee River Channel Great Lake Legacy Act sediment project. The project included characterization to determine the extent of sediment contamination and a feasibility study to determine and ultimately select an appropriate clean up for the area. In 2009, WDNR and GLNPO signed a Project Agreement to design and perform the selected remedy. Cleaning up the contaminated sediment in this area is considered essential to restore the Milwaukee Estuary Area of Concern (AOC).
The Lincoln Creek and Milwaukee River Channel Great Lakes Legacy Act sediment site is located on the Milwaukee River, in the towns of Glendale and Milwaukee.
- The Phase I portion of the site includes Lincoln Creek from Green Bay Avenue and the Western Oxbow of the Milwaukee River.
- The Phase II portion of the site includes the Milwaukee River from the railroad bridge north of the Park down to the Estabrook dam fixed crest spillway and the Eastern Oxbow of the river.
Cleaning up the contaminated sediment in this area is considered essential to restore the Milwaukee Estuary AOC.
Historic data indicated that polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were the contaminant of concern at this site. WDNR estimated that almost 70% of the PCBs in the Milwaukee River were in the Phase I area. However, during the Phase I sediment excavation, an oily-based material, termed non-aqueous phase liquids (NAPL), was found mixed with the excavated sediments. A significant portion of the NAPL is polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).
In January, 2012, the excavation of almost 140,000 cubic yards of contaminated sediment in the Phase I portion of this project was completed. This amounts to almost 10,000 dump trucks of contaminated material including 5,000 pounds of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and 4,000 pounds of polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) removed from the area.
Habitat restoration is planned to be completed during the 2012 growing season. A large part of the effort necessary to support the habitat restoration was completed at the same time as the sediment excavation portion of the project. This included the stabilization of the banks and shaping of the bottom of the channels in Lincoln Creek and the Western Oxbow. It also included planting of hundreds of individual native trees and shrubs, laying down seeds of native grasses and non-woody plants, and protecting them all with a biodegradable cover to keep the seeds and banks from eroding.
The work still to come includes planting of additional native trees, shrubs and non-woody species.
Working closely with WDNR and Milwaukee County Parks, GLNPO performed a site characterization of the Phase II area in 2010 and 2011. The characterization looked for PCBs, PAHs and heavy metals.
Under a GLLA Project Agreement signed in 2012, GLNPO, WDNR and Milwaukee County expect to complete a feasibility study and remedial design for Phase II area. The feasibility study will evaluate different clean up strategies and techniques, while the remedial design will be the design of the remedy selected from the feasibility study.
The remedial action is expected to follow in 2013.
- 2012 - Feasibility study and remedial design for the Phase II area
- 2012 - Phase II GLLA Project Agreement signed
- 2012 - Excavation and habitat restoration of Phase I area
- 2010-2011 - Site characterization of the Phase II area
- 2009 - EPA & WDNR project agreement to design and carry out selected remedy on Phase I area
- 2008 - Phase I sediment project begins with characterization and feasibilty study to select cleanup remedy for the area
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