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Dredging, shipwreck removal resumes on Fox River

Brennan dredging unitswork on the Fox River near Wisconsin 172, as part of the PCB removal project. Six companies, the city of Appleton and a sewerage commission have offered to pay a total of $56 million to help with the massive cleanup of contaminants in the Fox River in northeastern Wisconsin. If a federal judge approves the settlement with state and federal authorities, the entities could be released from claims that they were partly responsible for polluting the river. The pollutants were discharged into the river during manufacturing between 1954 and 1971. The cleanup is estimated to cost $1 billion. (AP Photo/The Green Bay Press-Gazette, H. Marc Larson)

J.F. Brennan Co. dredging units work on the Fox River near Highway 172 in 2012 as part of the PCB removal project. (AP Photo/The Green Bay Press-Gazette, H. Marc Larson)

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Dredging and shipwreck removal has resumed on the Fox River near Green Bay.

Press-Gazette Media reported Sunday that dredging resumed last week after workers called it quits for the winter last fall. Tetra Tech, the company overseeing the work, also plans to resume removing tugboat and barge wreckage behind its Green Bay facility.

Green Bay-area paper companies are under federal orders to remove polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, from the river. PCBs are chemicals used in the 1950s and 1960s to produce carbonless copy paper and have been linked to cancer and other health problems.

Workers have dredged more than 2.16 million cubic yards of sediment, hauled more than 1.1 million tons to a landfill and treated and discharged about 3.5 billion gallons of water since cleanup began in 2009.

They expect to remove about 670,000 cubic yards before ending work for the season this fall, said Tetra Tech spokesman Scott Stein. Dredging is expected to be finished after the 2015 season. The entire project is expected to wrap up in 2017.

Tetra Tech’s subcontractor, J.F. Brennan Co. Inc., also must remove a cluster of sunken vessels as part of the cleanup. The ships include 19th-century tugboats, including the Bob Teed and the Satisfaction, a barge known as the Texas and several other unnamed barges.

The crafts were sunk in the 1940s after they outlived their usefulness. The area where they went down is on the National Registry of Historical Places.

Under an agreement with the state and federal government, Brennan hired Commonwealth Cultural Resources Group, an archaeological and historical services company out of Jackson, Mich., to record the removal and construct a display for an exhibit at the Neville Public Museum.

Contamination prevents the wreckage itself from being salvaged or put on display. It will end up in a landfill.

Information from: Press-Gazette Media,

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