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.