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It’s convenient to think of fixing a problem and it’s done. But that doesn’t apply to the long-neglected legacy polluted sites in the Great Lakes region.
In simple terms we think of a cleanup as removal of something that, left unattended, will become a nuisance or a problem. But cleanup of toxic sites, especially in water, is not that simple.
A cleanup generally refers to dredging the site until the toxins are removed or have been removed to an acceptable level. That was the case in 2005 in an area of the Detroit River known as the Black Lagoon, so named for the color of the water polluted with 103,000 cubic yards of contaminated sediment.
That small project by today’s standards is a landmark as it was funded by the newly passed Great Lakes Legacy Act, setting the table for much broader restoration of the Great Lakes.