The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced on Aug. 5 the completion of all cleanup work required to remove Waukegan Harbor from the bi-national list of Great Lakes Areas of Concern.
Waukegan Harbor was one of 43 contaminated sites on the Great Lakes designated as a Great Lakes Area of Concern by the United States and Canada under the 1987 Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement.
Since the early 1990s, EPA, the State of Illinois, and parties responsible for contaminating the Area of Concern have spent approximately $150 million to remove or cap PCB-contaminated sediment, to clean up the Outboard Marine Superfund Site and to restore habitat in the Waukegan Harbor Area of Concern. Funding for this work was provided through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, the EPA Superfund program and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The city of Waukegan also worked with federal and state agencies to eliminate combined sewer overflows, to improve beaches and to create valuable dune and swale habitat.
“Illinois families, wildlife and businesses benefit when Waukegan Harbor is safe and open for business,” Gov. Pat Quinn said. “Working tirelessly with federal and local partners, we have been able to turn a once heavily contaminated site into a safer destination for humans and wildlife alike. Cleaning up PCB waste and protecting the Great Lakes is the right thing to do for Illinois and our nation.”
For more information about the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and the Waukegan Harbor cleanup visit glri.us, epa.gov/greatlakes/aoc/waukegan, or epa.gov/region5/cleanup/outboardmarine.