Crews complete final phase at Ashland Lakefront Project

2015 file photo courtesy of Xcel Energy 

Geotechnical engineers used a boring machine to gather lakebed samples east of the marina where a permanent breakwater was installed as part of the sediment cleanup. 

After more than seven years of work that involved the safe removal of tens of thousands of tons of contaminated sediment and debris and the installation of a long-term monitoring and treatment system, crews have completed the final phase of active construction at the Ashland Lakefront Project, Xcel Energy announced.

This effort was taken up after the site was identified as property requiring cleanup by The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR). 

“The entire area looks great and has met or exceeded all of our goals for the project,” Mike BeBeau, project manager, said in a news release. “This could not have happened without the strong partnership with the community. We greatly appreciate everyone’s support and are excited to move forward after many years of working on this project.”

Over the years, uses of the property that potentially contributed to the contamination of the filled lakebed soils, near shore sediments and groundwater along the lakefront include a manufactured gas plant, a lumber and wood processing company, a loading area for railroads, a wastewater treatment plant and a landfill. 

Over the past year, crews worked closely with the city of Ashland to restore the on-land area in a manner that would allow for future activities without adversely impacting any elements of the completed remediation. These elements include several control features such as wells and utilities that will remain in place for long-term, active monitoring at the site.

One of the most visible features is a new, 12-foot-wide concrete apron adjacent to the installed sheet pile wall. This concrete apron will help prevent erosion and protect the area from crashing waves. About 85 percent of the 11-acre area is covered in grass with the remaining area finished with gravel for an access road, proposed parking and boat storage. By year-end the project team will submit a remedial action completion report to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

The agencies will then prepare a final close-out report that will review all remedial actions taken at the site including Phase 1 (on-land remediation), Phase 2 (sediment remediation) and the restoration of Kreher Park. The on-land area will be fenced until all regulatory approvals are received at which time the company will transfer control of the area to the city of Ashland. Final approvals are expected by mid to late 2020.