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Sediment sampling underway in Detroit, Rouge rivers

Crew setting up the core prior to sediment sampling on the Detroit River

Sediment sampling in the Detroit and Rouge rivers started September 8 to gather data on the nature and extent of the chemical contamination in the sediments there. With a long history of industrial development, a legacy of pollution remains in the sediments of both rivers.

Scientists have been on the Detroit River in the area of the Trenton Channel and on the lower Rouge River to gather samples that will be taken to a laboratory for analysis.

The sampling work is led by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) through the contract firm EA-Engineering, Science and Technology and in collaboration with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency using funding from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

"Sediment characterizations are the first step in a long remedial process in a river that has historically been the recipient of industrial waste for decades," notes Sam Noffke, senior aquatic biologist. This remedial investigation is designed to fill data gaps between previously collected sediment locations within the Rouge and Trenton Channel areas. The goal is to have a more complete picture of the potential contamination in the Trenton Channel and Lower Rouge River so EPA can move forward with next steps.

All samples will be taken by boat or barge with crews taking both surface samples and sediment cores up to 10 feet deep. Sediment traps will also be left on the river bottom for a few weeks to collect sediment as it gets deposited.

Sampling is expected to be complete by the end of September, and results from this sampling are expected to be ready for public distribution by June next year.

Photo caption: Crew setting up the core prior to sediment sampling on the Detroit River.

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