I think the contamination from years and years ago is still a threat to this river. I mean like I said, I wouldn't eat the fish out of it myself.
- Duluth resident, 2013
Proposed Cleanup Plan
US EPA and U.S. Steel proposed a remedy for the sediment cleanup at the former U.S. Steel Duluth Works site near Spirit Lake. A fact sheet for the site and the cleanup plan is available for download. The plan includes the following:
- Creation of a shallow sheltered bay and shallow open water habitats
- Net gain of 30 acres of open water
- Dredging to remove nearly 700,000 cubic yards of contaminated sediment
- Confined Disposal Facility built in the delta above the ordinary high water level
- Two upland Confined Disposal Facilities
- Inclusion of remedial and engineered natural recovery caps
- Potential for recreational access and habitat enhancement post-cleanup
The former U.S. Steel Duluth Works site is located near Spirit Lake and Lake Superior. The site is within the St. Louis River estuary which is the largest Great Lakes Area of Concern in the United States.
If the proposed cleanup plan is approved, it will likely take about 12 months to design.
Additional sediment sampling is expected to take place throughout the design process to ensure the cleanup will be safe and effective. A design is anticipated by December 2017, with a cleanup to commence shortly thereafter. The cleanup will take two field seasons to complete. A field season typically lasts 4-10 months and can be shortened due to fish spawning windows and winter weather. The schedule is subject to change.
The project is currently in the feasibility study stage. More technical information will be provided once available.
- Addendum to feasibility study former U.S. Steel Duluth Works Spirit Lake sediment site (PDF, 30p, 2.67KB) December 2015
- Revised feasibility study former U.S. Steel Duluth Works and Spirit Lake sediment site (PDF, 136p, 40.3 MB ) July 2015
- Revised feasibility study appendices
- Public Meeting Invitation (PDF, 2p, 294KB) August 2016
- Spirit Lake Proposed Plan Fact Sheet (PDF, 2p, 227KB) August 2016
- Outreach needs assessment for St. Louis River (PDF, 17p, 903KB) October 2013
- U.S. Steel Spirit Lake site habitat characterization (PDF, 61p, 34MB) May 2013
- U.S. Steel Spirit Lake site habitat wetland delineation (PDF, 82p, 31MB) April 2013
- Former U.S. Steel Duluth Works Spirit Lake sediment remedial investigation report (PDF, 292p, 44MB) March 2013