URBANA – Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant (IISG) sediment specialist Susan Boehme and her colleagues at the U.S. EPA Great Lakes National Program Office (GLNPO) have won the National Association of Environmental Professionals 2009 National Environmental Excellence Award for their remediation project on the Tannery Bay/Wetland in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan.

In response to the 2002 Great Lakes Legacy Act, which authorized $270 million to remove contaminated sediments from local waterways, EPA identified 31 Areas of Concern in the U.S. portion of the Great Lakes. Boehme and GLNPO worked closely with communities that went through the restoration process.

“It is wonderful when our Great Lakes Legacy Act projects receive recognition,” said Boehme, who assisted with technical support and community outreach. “Although this is a relatively new program, we have made great progress in cleaning up contamination in the rivers and waterways of the Great Lakes.”

The community saw the removal of 44,000 cubic yards of impacted sediment, containing approximately one million pounds of chromium and 70 pounds of mercury from St. Mary’s River, a local waterway.

“There is still much to be done,” said Boehme. “But when these sites are recognized, I think it helps spread the word to other communities that there is hope for their waterways.”

Along with IISG and GLNPO, the award will be presented to Phelps-Dodge Mining Company, environmental consultants Conestoga-Rovers and Associates, and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, which helped fund the project.

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