Dredge Dirge

Authorities are in a pickle over where to dump the toxic sludge soon to be scraped from the Miami River

And then there's (e), certainly the most creative, if desperate, disposal idea to date. This proposal would involve filling in the slip with earth and then burying the toxic material about three feet below the surface. "That would be by far the cheapest and quickest [disposal site]," says Jerry Scarborough, the Army Corps' project manager for the Miami River. Instead of $100 million, Scarborough estimates, the dredging would likely cost less than $30 million. "You cap it with clean sand," explains corps scientist Glen Schuster. "We do that in the Northeast all the time."

"That is the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard!" exclaims Don Chinquina, executive director of the Tropical Audubon Society. He also believes environmental groups have been almost entirely left out of the decision-making process. He notes the majority of the river commission's dredging committee -- shippers, engineers, and consultants -- represent companies that stand to gain commercially from the sludge removal. "That's a fine motive," says Chinquina, "but don't promote dredging under the banner that it's for environmental reasons. If dredging is going to do more damage ... then just leave it on the bottom."

If you picked (f), your neighborhood, call Roger Hernstadt immediately. He is the county official in charge of the disposal site search.

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