International Joint Commission Hosts Workshop on the Management of Contaminated Sediment

Contact: Jennifer Day Windsor, Ontario (519) 257-6733   John Hartig Windsor, Ontario (519) 257-6711


International Joint Commission Hosts Workshop on 
the Management of Contaminated Sediment

Sediment found at the bottom of tributary rivers, harbors and connecting channels throughout the Great Lakes and contaminated with persistent toxic chemicals are the topic of a one-day workshop hosted by the International Joint Commission (IJC). The workshop is being held on Wednesday, June 18 at the Blue Mountain Conference Centre in Collingwood, Ontario. The media is invited to attend the kick-off reception beginning at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, June 17 at the same location.

Approximately 40 experts and individuals from across the Great Lakes basin are expected to participate including IJC Commissioners Alice Chamberlin and Dr. Pierre Béland, Collingwood Mayor, Doug Garbutt and members of Collingwood's municipal council.

Contaminated sediment is a significant and continual source of problems affecting the safety of the fish we eat, the water we drink and the health of fish, animals and humans that live near and depend on water in these contaminated areas. Recognizing this, The International Joint Commission identified the cleanup and management of sediment as one of its top priorities.

The workshop will address the many obstacles to remediating contaminated sediment and what the IJC can do to help alleviate several barriers that currently prohibit or slow down cleanup in all Great Lakes Areas of Concern. It will help the IJC to identify what it can do to advance the difficult process of cleaning up these areas and lay the foundation for a plan of action working with local communities and governments to manage contaminated sediment.

"The IJC has organized and hosted this workshop on contaminated sediment to draw attention to this problem and determine how we can be of the most help to all Areas of Concern in the Great Lakes in overcoming this obstacle to area restoration and significant threat to ecosystem health," says Canadian Commissioner Dr. Pierre Béland.

The removal of contaminated sediment from Collingwood Harbor is one of the many successful efforts among the Great Lakes Areas of Concern. The project succeeded to bring funding from all levels of government and the private sector, assisting in delisting Collingwood Harbour as an Area of Concern. Mayor Garbutt said, "The town of Collingwood was and continues to be a strong supporter of cleaning up our part of the Great Lakes and continues to sustain the recovery of our harbour and surrounding watershed."

The International Joint Commission is a binational Canada-United States organization established by The Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909 to help the two Governments prevent and resolve disputes over use of waters along the U.S. and Canada Boundary. Under the 1978 Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, the Commission assesses progress by the two counties to restore and maintain the chemical, physical and biological integrity of the waters of the Great Lakes Basin ecosystem. Additional information about IJC is available on the Internet at