Mystery barrels in Lake Superior investigated


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.