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Published: Thursday, 8/16/2007

Dike fails at Maumee Bay s Grassy Island letting potentially contaminated water into Lake Erie

BLADE STAFF

Officials today are reporting that a dike failure at Maumee Bay s Grassy Island resulted in a breach that let tons of potentially contaminated water out into that part of western Lake Erie earlier this month.

Ohio Environmental Protection Agency spokesman Dina Pierce said the breach occurred at a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers confined-disposal facility on the island sometime between Aug. 2 and last Saturday.

That disposal facility holds tons of contaminated soil dredged from the Toledo shipping channel, much of it from more than 30 years ago.

It was not immediately known if the escaped water came in contact with the dredged material on the island. The state agency is now having tests performed to determine if the bay was polluted by the incident.

Corps spokesman Bruce Sanders said his agency would issue a prepared statement about the incident later this afternoon. A spokesman for U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo) said the Corps first heard about the breach from the Coast Guard on Saturday, but was unable to get out to the island until Monday because of high winds and inclement weather.

Officials are awaiting test results before deciding whether special boating or fishing precautions need to be taken in that part of the bay.

Read more in later editions of The Blade and toledoblade.com.



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