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Published: Tuesday, 12/23/2008

Toledo offers landfill use for cleanup dredgings


Cleanup of the Ottawa River, polluted by decades of dumping from Toledo's manufacturing economy, could move ahead with an offer by the city of Toledo to use its Hoffman Road Landfill to dispose of material dredged from the waterway.

Mayor Carty Finkbeiner said yesterday the city has offered landfill space to help cover the city's cost burden for the cleanup, about $4 million.

The cleanup would begin next June and is expected to cost about $40 million; half that will come from a grant from the Great Lakes Legacy Act.

"For many years in Toledo's manufacturing and industrial past, many companies inadvertently added great amounts of pollutants into the Ottawa River. Highway construction and bank stabilization projects also contributed to the Ottawa River's problems," Mr. Finkbeiner said yesterday.

The city is a member of the so-called Ottawa River Group, comprising entities that may have a share of responsibility for the river's pollution

Other members named by the city are Chrysler LLC; Allied Waste North America; GenCorp, Inc.; Honeywell Inc.; Illinois Tool Works Inc., and United Technologies Corp. The city's share is about 20 percent.

Casey Stephens, commissioner of public service for Toledo, said city responsibility stems from pollutants that leached into the river from the Dura, Stickney, Tyler, and North Cove landfills.

He said the group has accepted, in principle, the city offering space in the landfill for nontoxic dredged materials. The dredgings would take up about a year's worth of space in the landfill. Hazardous contaminants would have to be taken to an approved site for hazardous materials.

He said the $20 million grant has been applied for but not yet approved.

The area of the Ottawa River to be cleaned goes from Lagrange Street to Suder Avenue.

District 6 City Councilman Lindsay Webb said cleanup of the river is important, as is a related project, dredging a navigational channel near the Ottawa's mouth. She said she's reserving judgment on whether giving up a portion of the city landfill is a good trade-off.

"If we really want to talk about green jobs and greening the economy and being a good steward of the environment, we have got to start with a discussion on how do we clean up the Ottawa River," Ms. Webb said.

A public hearing on this project is set for 6 p.m. Dec. 30 in Lucas County board of commissioners' chambers in Government Center.

Mr. Finkbeiner said he would urge City Council to approve this arrangement

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