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Contact information
For information on this project, please contact:
Xiaochun Zhang
Project coordinator
Office of Great Waters

Kinnickinnic River Legacy Act Cleanup



The Kinnickinnic River Project area relative to the Milwaukee Estuary AOC.

The Kinnickinnic River project area relative to the Milwaukee Estuary AOC. (Link opens in a larger image)

The Kinnickinnic River project area.

The Kinnickinnic River project area. (Link opens in a larger image)

The Kinnickinnic (KK) River is one of the three rivers that flow into the Milwaukee Estuary at Lake Michigan. The project area, part of the Milwaukee Estuary Area of Concern (AOC), was a section approximately 2,000 feet long and 200 feet wide, located between KK Avenue, the downstream limit, and Becher Street, the upstream limit. In 2009, through the Great Lakes Legacy Act Program contaminated sediment cleanup was implemented in the area.

Key partners on cleanup project.
Organization Contact
U.S. EPA Great Lakes National Program Office [exit DNR] Ajit Vaidya
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers [exit DNR] David Bowman
Port of Milwaukee [exit DNR] Larry Sullivan
Kinnickinnic River Business District [exit DNR] David Ferron

Remediation process

Throughout the years, sediment accumulated in the KK River, resulting in poor conditions for navigation. Prior to the project’s completion, the project area was very shallow. Additionally, the sediment was contaminated, primarily with PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) and PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons), as a result of evolving urban growth and development, industrial activities, and a lack of effective regulations before the mid–1970s. The cleanup helped jumpstart a local economic and commercial revitalization by removing nearly 170,000 cubic yards of contaminated sediment, with approximately 1,200 pounds of PCBs and 13,000 pounds of PAHs removed, and restored the functionality of the navigation channel in the section of the river.

The sediment cleanup cost was about $23 million dollars, with the state acting as the nonfederal sponsor and contributing the 35 percent nonfederal cost share required under the Great Lakes Legacy Act.

Last revised: Wednesday May 24 2017