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Dredge of Buffalo River to begin

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WBFO News file photo
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Waterfront at Erie Basin Marina

By Eileen Buckley

Buffalo, NY – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is scheduled Friday to begin one of the largest cleanup efforts in the history of the Great Lakes.

The Buffalo River, designated by the Environmental Protection Agency as one of 43 toxic hot spots in the area, will be the sight of the massive clean up.

The agency will dredge a six-mile stretch of the river, and plans to remove an estimated 600,000 cubic yards of sediment.

Jill Jedlicka, Director of Ecological Programs for Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper, said the clean-up is a turning point for Great Lakes health.

"There's over 100 years of contamination locked up in the bottom of the Buffalo River and we've know about it for decades. It's a unique public-private partnership to make Buffalo River priority. The funding in place and the partners are willing to move forward and this year is a landmark and watershed moment for the Buffalo river where clean up will actually begin," said Jedlicka.

Cost estimates for the clean up are upwards of $50-million, but even after that money has been spent and this effort is complete, officials say infrastructure upgrades must take place to redirect sanitary sewers from overflowing during heavy rains into the river.