U.S. EPA Region 5 visits the historic Ashtabula harbor – The Star Beacon

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ASHTABULA — Officials from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Region 5 (Great Lakes) visited the Ashtabula Harbor on Wednesday afternoon.

Debra Shore, EPA Regional Administrator for Region 5, said that this is the second stop on a multi-stop Great Lakes tour.


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In the morning, Shore said that she, Adam Ortiz [Region 3] and Lisa Garcia [Region 2], were on the largest research vessel on the Great Lakes, The Lake Guardian, which will be doing a lot of researching, monitoring and sampling this summer.

“We’re highlighting a lot of the work that EPA is doing to revitalize brownfields that are long historic lakefronts that had been contaminated from the industrial legacy,” she said. “There are places like Ashtabula. which was once an area of concern, which is a designation for a legacy contaminated.”

The Ashtabula River was de-listed as a Great Lakes U.S. Area of Concern in August 2021.

Shore said that this means that all of the contaminated sediment has been removed and that fish habitat has improved.

“EPA has done a lot of work with our partners to clean up the river here and clean up the harbor,” said Region 5 Public Affairs Director Justin Kelley.

City manager Jim Timonere discussed the improvements made to the harbor over the years.

Elected city officials joined Timonere to give all of the EPA representatives a tour of Bridge Street.

“We’re seeing in Ashtabula and cities all around the Great Lakes, where we’ve been able to do these cleanups … there’s new access to the waterfront, there’s recreation, there’s economic development … it’s a great success story,” Shore said.

“You can see that the town is full of little restaurants and shops and it’s a bustling little town,” Kelley said.

One of the main developments to the harbor that Timonere wanted to highlight was the new hotel that is near completion, the Riverbend Hotel, which promises great views of the Ashtabula River.

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