Unnamed tributary sheds its old identity
When an unnamed tributary of Ohio’s Ottawa River was named for retired University of Toledo biology professor Peter Fraleigh, the gesture was considered quite an honor. There was a time, however, when it would have been an insult.
Fraleigh, whose students had been analyzing water samples in the area, had helped create the Maumee Remedial Action Plan, a movement to get residents and public officials working together to clean up local waterways. Partly as a result of his efforts, in September 1996, the U.S. EPA provided the state with a grant for the remediation of the tributary. As a condition of the grant, the local government was required to form partnerships with potentially responsible parties to rehabilitate the tributary.
Toledo officials met with site owner GenCorp; Syracuse, N.Y.-based environmental engineer Blasland, Bouck & Lee; the state and federal EPAs; and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to discuss and plan remedial strategies necessary to complete the project. In January 1998, the tributary was dammed, and the water flow from the storm sewers was diverted to a newly constructed channel flowing into the Ottawa River. >From January through May, contaminated sediments were removed, and the site was backfilled with clean material.
By the end of the project, 16,000 tons of contaminated sediment had been excavated and sent to an approved landfill for disposal. The remediation was, according to USEPA Region 5 Administrator David Ullrich, “pound-for-pound, the best I’ve ever seen.”