Toxic blob heading down the river to Cleveland

Toxic blob Cleveland

Ohio environmental regulators say sludge material dredged from the Cuyahoga  River and dumped into Lake Erie in the 1970s might be moving toward a Cleveland water treatment plant.

The state Environmental Protection Agency says a roughly two-square-mile toxic blob sits about 5 miles from an intake pipe that supplies drinking water to parts of Cuyahoga County.

The EPA says the sediment is highly contaminated with cancer-causing chemicals.

Cleveland water officials said Monday they are monitoring the water. Officials don’t know how fast the mass is moving or if it will actually reach the pipe. Officials say the city’s water is currently safe.

In their statement to customers, Cleveland water officials said they were monitoring and continuously testing the water coming from the lake as well as treated water leaving the plants “to ensure that what we deliver to you is safe, quality water that meets and exceeds State and Federal drinking water standards. We are working closely with the Ohio EPA on this issue, and have already planned to implement enhanced monitoring in this area. To date, our sampling has indicated no cause for concern. Your water is safe to drink and use as normal.”

The department also said: “Over the past 15 years, we have invested more than $650 million modernizing our water treatment plants, and years ago moved our intakes further out into the lake away from shoreline contaminants. Because of these significant investments, if elevated levels of contaminants are detected in the raw water, our conventional treatment process is designed to reduce any potential risk to our customers.”

State environmental regulators in late March approved a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers request to dredge Cleveland’s harbor and the Cuyahoga River for shipping traffic.

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