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Flint River dredging project will begin soon

steve carmody
Michigan Radio
Just upstream from the Hamilton Dam, crews are in final preparations for a major dredging project

A major river dredging project is nearly ready to begin in downtown Flint.

In about two weeks, crews will begin removing river sediment contaminated with coal tar from a section of the Flint River.   The coal tar was a by-product produced by a gas plant that was located along the river a century ago. Consumers Energy bought the plant in the 1920s.  The utility is handling the cleanup.

Kevin Keane is a Consumers Energy spokesman. He says, before crews can begin excavating tons of contaminated sludge from the river, they have to prepare a place to put the muck.

“The company is completing the construction of the de-watering pad, where the spoils of the river bottom will be allowed to drain,” says Keane. “The water will be treated before it is either returned to the river or placed in the sanitary sewer system.”

Work dredging and repairing the river bottom is expected to drag on into the fall.

Once the contaminated river sediment is removed, crews will line the river bottom with clay, sand and rock. 

Keane declines to say how much the dredging is expected to cost.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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