Toxic sediment in Lake Erie moving closer to shore could threaten water quality

Toxic sediment in Lake Erie moving closer to shore could threaten water quality

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - "PAH and PCBs are long term carcinogens which means they can cause cancer," says Moegling.

That's what Scott Moegling, water quality manager for the city of Cleveland, says about miles of dredged material taken from Lake Erie decades ago that was then dumped into the lake.

The EPA says a blob of toxic sediment lying on the bottom of Lake Erie about five or so miles offshore is raising alarms. Problem is it's moving ever closer to the intake values that supply our drinking water.

"The water is safe. We've tested the water. We have no concerns with the raw water quality," added Moegling.

That's for now, but time and the waves that move Lake Erie water is not on our side.

Cleveland Water held a news conference Monday to clarify the "highly toxic" materials at the bottom of Lake Erie are a concern for the region, but Cleveland water is safe.

At issue: the toxic sediment is migrating close to an intake pipe that supplies drinking water to northeast Cuyahoga County. The sediment is within five miles of the intake pipe.

"We have more than adequate treatment," said Scott Moegling, Water Quality Manager for Cleveland Water.

"We as a society should be very proud due to the clean water act of the great progress we've made in cleaning up the water of the United States.  That's one of the reasons we're against the open dumping of this material. It seems like a step backwards," said Commissioner of Water for Cleveland, Alex Margevicius.

Cleveland doesn't want to call it a toxic blob, but whatever it is, it's big. No one knows for sure but another estimate says it could run 10-miles in each direction.

The city is working with the EPA to monitor the toxic sediment itself and its movement. It is also monitoring the water coming into its Nottingham treatment plant, plus the water once it leaves as it heads to our homes and businesses.

This is a different issue from the toxic algae Toledo dealt with last summer.

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