The Cuyahoga River has come a long way since it caught fire in 1969. The river has recovered, but the U.S. EPA and others believe work still needs to be done to meet the goals of complete restoration. After decades of improvements, one of the biggest remaining obstacles to a free flowing Cuyahoga is the largest dam left on the river, the Gorge Dam in Cuyahoga Falls.
WKSU’s Jeff St.Clair, host of ‘All Things Considered’ and producer of the ‘Exploradio’ series, will moderate a public discussion about removing the Gorge Dam and its effect on the Cuyahoga River and the community. Panelists include representatives from the Ohio EPA, the City of Akron, Summit MetroParks, and the local whitewater kayaking community.
Tearing down the dam, at a cost of around $12.5 million, may be the easy part. Preventing all the tainted sludge beneath its manmade lake from washing downstream, spreading contamination along the length of the river and undoing decades of restoration is more of a challenge. The Ohio EPA has come up with a costly solution to remove and bury the sludge. But where will the sediment disposal work? Who will be affected? How much will it cost? And who’s going to pay for it? These are some of the questions WKSU and ‘Exploradio’ will examine in a public forum on Sept. 21st at the Sheraton Suites in Cuyahoga Falls.