MONROE (WWJ) – With dredging in the final stages on the River Raisin, federal state and local officials announced the long-term cleanup of the waterway is only weeks from completion.
John Allen with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality says the Monroe stretch river — which was tainted by factories, municipal wastewater, landfills and farms — is to be taken off the EPA’s list of polluted site on the Great Lakes.
Allen says the project allows the environment and commerce to co-exist.
“We’re standing at the point…where were changing the narrative,” he told WWJ’s Ron Dewey and other reporters at a news conference Wednesday. “We’re not looking back in time and saying, ‘I want something that was.’ We’re changing the narrative and saying, ‘I now know now to create something that shall be.'”
The primary forms of pollution were PCBs and heavy metals, among other industrial contaminates.
After the cleanup — which took about two decades — the area will be monitored for several years to make sure its environmental problems are fixed. If so, state officials will ask to have the site dropped from a list of Great Lakes toxic spots compiled by the U.S. and Canada under a cleanup program.
It’s expected to boost the area’s recreational and economic opportunities.
Monroe native Nelson Priest believes this will bring in more visitors to fish, swim and boat in the river.
“And the water is just, you know, it’s getting very clear. The fish…I think the quality of the fish is better now. They’re a lot bigger and a lot nicer,” Priest said. “And I think it draws in a lot of people to come in from all over the country to come fishing here for walleye.”
TM and © Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.