Mystery barrels in Lake Superior investigated

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For five years the Red Cliff Band of Chippewa has investigated the more than 1,400 barrels that have sat at the bottom of Lake Superior (near the Duluth-Superior Harbor) for decades.

Last year, sonar was used to survey 96 square miles of lake bottom. Nearly 600 Cold War-era barrels were located. Pictures show scrap metal  believed to be from a 1950s grenade project the U.S. wanted to keep secret from the Soviet Union.

Beginning this summer, about 70 of the barrels – off the Lester River,

Sucker River and Talmadge River – will be brought to the surface and

their contents examined.

The recovery effort will be paid for with $1.2 million from the U.S.

Department of Defense, which has a fund to clean up ammunition dumps on

reservations and on ceded Indian territories. Red Cliff is seeking an

additional $365,000 for a toxicology study of Lake Superior sediment to

detect whether contaminants were left by any barrels.