Cleanup set for St. Louis River sawmill debris

DULUTH, Minn. (AP) — The sawmills that buzzed away along the St. Louis River in Duluth are long gone, but the debris they left behind is still there.

An estimated 41,000 tons of sawmill waste still cover the bottom, intact even after a century under water and ice. In some places, test borings showed debris packed 8 feet thick in what’s now called Radio Tower Bay, and it’s preventing fish and aquatic habitat from reclaiming the 45-acre bay.

The Duluth News Tribune reports that the cleanup in the bay is scheduled to begin this month, part of a 20-year effort to clean up the lower St. Louis River. Federal and state funding is in place to remove 460 pilings weighing some 100 tons, using giant equipment while the harbor is covered in ice.