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Indiana Harbor and Canal,
Northwest Indiana

Indiana Harbor and Canal

The Indiana Harbor is located in East Chicago, Lake County, Indiana, on the southwest shore of Lake Michigan, 4-1/2 miles east of the Indiana-Illinois State line.  Indiana Harbor has an entrance channel and outer harbor, and an inner harbor, which consists of the Indiana Harbor Canal and its two branches.  The main channel extends from the E.J. & E. Railway Bridge to the Forks, a distance of 7,400 feet.  From the Forks, the Lake George Branch of the Indiana Harbor extends west for a distance of 6,800 feet, and the Grand Calumet River Branch extends south for about 2 miles, where it joins the Grand Calumet River.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (The Corps) has proposed to carry out dredging of sediments from the Indiana Harbor and Canal (IHC) to allow its continued use as a navigable waterway.  Some of these sediments are contaminated by toxic chemicals, including polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polycylclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and heavy metals.  The principal source of sediment and sediment contamination is due to combined sewer overflows, municipal and industrial discharge, and urban runoff.  Because of the contamination in the sediments, U.S. EPA has examined, and is continuing to examine, the environmental impacts of the project, particularly the risks to people and the environment.

The Corps plans to place the sediments that are dredged into a confined disposal facility (CDF).  The Corps has proposed to build the CDF on the former Energy Cooperative Industries (ECI) property (see Figure 1), the site of a former petroleum refinery.  The site has “open” status as a federally permitted facility because it requires further cleanup work.  The Corps sees the CDF as part of the required cleanup activities on the ECI property.

Residents of northwest Indiana have requested Technical Outreach Services Communities (TOSC) Program assistance concerning the dredging of sediments from the IHC and the construction of a confined disposal facility in East Chicago, Indiana.

Click here for the proposal submitted by TOSC to the Great Lakes National Program Office (GLNPO) of U.S. EPA. TOSC will provide technical assistance to the general public, local government and other stakeholders on the remediation of contaminated sediments in the Indiana Harbor and Ship Canal (IHC), and in the Grand Calumet River (GCR), in and near the cities of Hammond, East Chicago and Gary, IN.

Click here for TOSC Outreach Brief, which provides a background on the project and a listing of concerns that have been expressed by community members.

Click here for the TOSC Dredging Alternatives Report, which represents an independent examination of key questions and concerns expressed by residents regarding the U.S Army Corps of Engineers plan to dredge sediments from the Indiana Harbor and Canal.

If you have questions regarding TOSC's involvement at Grand Calumet AOC, please contact Kirk Riley at 800-490-3890 or send e-mail to rileyki@egr.msu.edu.

The Midwest Hazardous Substance Research Center, Michigan State University.
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