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GLIN==> BPAC Collects Signatures to Clean Up River



Submitted by Mike Ripley <mripley@sault.com>



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Press Release



St. Marys River Binational Public Advisory Council



Contact Mike Ripley

BPAC Chair

c/o Inter-Tribal Fisheries and Assessment Program

(906) 632-0072



BPAC Collects Signatures to Clean Up River





Prompted by reports of sewage washing up on Sugar Island and other areas of the river, the Binational Public Advisory Council (BPAC) for the St. Marys River Remedial Action Plan has been circulating a petition to the governments of Canada and Ontario requesting them to make good on promises to address remaining contaminated sediments. Recent investigations indicate that plenty of contaminated sediments still exist on the bottom of the St. Marys River and periodically make their way to the surface to cause problems again.



Pollution problems in the St. Marys River, which is listed as one of 47 Great Lakes Areas of Concern by the International Joint Commission, were first reported in a document published way back in 1992. The second report, which was supposed to list the actions needed to address those pollution problems was not published until 10 years later in 2002 and was then found to be incomplete because it did not address clean up of the remaining contaminated sediments.



Canada and Ontario have the bulk of responsibility to clean up the river under an agreement with the State of Michigan and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.



Plans are in the works to dredge contaminated sediments this summer from the Algoma Steel slip which contains layers of pollution released in past years before the steel plant installed pollution control measures. Dredging of this area will help to clean up one pocket of contamination in the upper river, however, these efforts will not address the layers of sewage below the outfall of the East End Sewage Treatment Plant nor will it address numerous other areas of contamination remaining such as the Belleview Park Marina and the north shore of Lake George.



The full text of the petition reads as follows:



We, the citizens of the St. Marys River Area of Concern, petition the Governments of Canada and Ontario to promptly complete a comprehensive plan to adequately identify and remediate contaminated sediments remaining in the St. Marys River, in cooperation with the Governments of the United States and Michigan, and that the plan be successfully executed in a timely manner. Further, the plan should especially focus on the removal or remediation of contaminated sediments related to the City of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario's East End Sewage Treatment Plant which continue to threaten the health of residents living downstream of that area.



The St. Marys River BPAC is composed of stakeholders from both sides of the river representing local agencies, American Indian tribes, municipalities, universities, industry and citizens concerned about the river ecosystem and health of its residents. BPAC would especially like to thank the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians for collecting signatures and all the people who signed the petitions in our community on both sides of the border. Efforts to collect more signatures will continue with a public information session being planned in Sault, Canada for some time in February.



For more information on BPAC and the St. Marys River AOC see:

http://www.epa.gov/glnpo/aoc/stmarys.html

http://www.lssu.edu/bpac/



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