All That Jazz and Dredging
The federal government has earmarked $370 million to clean up the waterways of East Chicago, one of the most polluted areas in the Great Lakes region — and the town’s citizens are unhappy about it. Local residents and environmental groups say the remediation solution proposed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is as hazardous to the community’s health as the original problem. The corps plan calls for dredging millions of cubic yards of toxic sediment that have been lying beneath the Indiana Harbor and Ship Canal for 30 years. The sludge would then be transferred to a landfill outside of East Chicago, just a half-mile from a high school and elementary school. Critics say the plan does not make use of the best dredging technology available; they also say the corps and other backers of the project believe they can get away with cutting financial corners because East Chicago is 85 percent minority.