Dredging Fox River (Green Bay Wisconsin)

GREEN BAY, Wisconsin: The dredging season along the Fox River in Green Bay is underway.

For the 10th year, the equipment is back in the water, dredging PCB sediment left behind from decades of pollution by the paper industry.

Big red barges crept along the Fox River in Green Bay Monday morning, vacuuming up sediment.

“The dredging aspect of it is really to reduce the impact of PCBs on the environment and human health,” said Scott Stein, Fox River Cleanup Project Spokesman.

Stein says much of this year’s work will take place from Porlier Street and run north toward the mouth of the Fox River.

“There will also be activity early in the season out near the bay, as the bigger dredge, the 10-inch dredge, does work out in that area,” he said.

The dredging isn’t the only activity on the river. Anglers are also on the Fox, looking for walleye, as part of the spawning run for that fish.

“There are a lot of signs out there. We want people to treat it almost like a construction zone on the highway,” said Stein.

Some fishermen say they are familiar with the river, and the changing conditions.

“If it is a slow no wake zone or not. Otherwise you can usually stay away from the buoys, and keep on going through. You’ll see where they are, and you can see boats going through, they try to keep the channel open, so you can go through it,” said Tyler Bartz, Pulaski.

“You just got to plan ahead, and make sure you’re planning your course accordingly. Should be all right. You don’t want to run into them,” said Ben Jarolimek, Appleton.

Back on the shore, people are taking in the sights.

“They’re a little noisy. But just noticed them today,” said Tory Kemp, Green Bay.

Kemp says she will be able track the dredging each day.

“Something cool, some action along the river during at least the lunch hour, when we’re out walking the trails,” she said.

Under the current work plan, dredging is expected to continue into 2019.

What are Poly-Chlorinated Biphenyls or PCBs?

They’re man-made chemicals that entered the river as run off from the paper mills.

Since 2009, more than 4.8 million cubic yards of sediment have been dredged.

More than 2.7 million tons of sediment has been processed and taken to the landfill for disposal.

That adds up to more than 117,000 truckloads.

Nearly seven billion gallons of water have been treated and put back in the river.

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