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August /
September 2011

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Sediment Sampling on the Maumee River and Swan Creek

The U.S. EPA work vessel the Mudpuppy was in Toledo in August taking samples of riverbed sediment in the Maumee River and Swan Creek. The work is federally funded through the Great Lakes Legacy Act, which is specifically dedicated to cleaning up dangerous sediments in the Great Lakes area. Analysis of the samples will show if there is any problem that needs to be further researched. TMACOG Maumee River Coordinator Matt Horvat will review the data gathered to see if there is any remediation needed that he can push forward.

The work team took core samples in a tight grid from the Walbridge Park area to the I-280 bridge, about 5 miles. On the Swan Creek, the team used another boat (a pontoon) to take samples from the mouth of the creek in downtown Toledo and upstream to Hawley Street, about 2.7 miles. The Mudpuppy has a four-man crew on board to collect samples. The cores are four-inch diameter tubes, about six feet long. Clean tubes are dropped by a GPS-guided crane and pushed into the riverbed. A small john boat circulates between the Mudpuppy and a work station on shore, dropping off the sediment-filled tubes and picking up new empty tubes. On the shore, another team slices open the tubes and begins the analysis. A geologist first identifies the type of soils contained in the column of sediment. Then samples are scooped into jars and the jars sent out for analysis. The analysis is looking for PCBs, PAHs, heavy metals, and other dangerous pollutants. Excess sediment is returned to the part of the river from where it was taken.


Preparing to collect a sediment sample.


A geologist cuts open a sample tube to begin analysis



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