Lack of funds for disposal site could slow Indiana Harbour project

News – June 18, 2008

nwi.com in the US reports that construction of a disposal facility to hold contaminated dredgings from the Indiana Harbour and Ship Canal “could stop as soon as next month” if local sponsors of the project don’t come up with some money.

According to the report, the US Army Corps of Engineers plans to remove some 4.6 million cubic yards of polluted sediment from the waterways and store the dredgings at a former refinery site on Indianapolis Boulevard at Riley Road.

However, said the report, the Army Corps’ project manager last week told the East Chicago Waterway Management District board – the local sponsor of the 30-year, US$130 million project – that contracts for key components for the disposal facility can’t be put up for bidding without some nonfederal funding.

“We’re running very short on time this fiscal year,” David Wethington said.

“This is a real need – it’s possible construction could cease on July 31.”

No actual dredging is scheduled until 2010 at the earliest, and full funding for the project was picked up by the federal government as of 2005, but the Army Corps claims the waterway district owes some US$12.9 million for work at the old Sinclair Oil site completed prior to that time.

Said The Times Online: “The waterway board last week approved paying attorney Thomas John, a partner with the Indianapolis law firm Ice Miller, US$242,750 to put together a team of accountants and appraisers in an attempt to secure funding to settle up with the Army Corps.”

“Exigencies on the site could slow down its movement,” John said. “We’re looking for ways for the project to move forward without costing the city of East Chicago.”

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