Cleanup of Milwaukee River, Lincoln Creek nearly complete

MILWAUKEE -- They've been some of the most polluted places around the Great Lakes, but after months of work, the Lincoln Creek and Milwaukee River are one step closer to being taken off that list.

The EPA removed about 140,000 cubic yards of contaminated sediment from the waterways over the last months. That's enough to fill an eight-story building the size of a football field! In the sediment, officials removed nearly 9,000 pounds of industrial chemicals that had been used in several manufacturing processes before being banned in the 1970s.

This cleanup project has cost an estimated $25 million. That includes cleaning up toxic areas and restoring areas of Lincoln Park.

Milwaukee County Parks Director Sue Black spoke about the difference a year makes. That included grading and stabilizing the stream banks, planting native seeds and adding rocks to protect those banks from erosion.

Black hopes the new look will get more people back to enjoying the Milwaukee County Parks. "This summer when everything starts to bloom and people are playing out there and they're like, 'oh my gosh, I never knew this was here,' that's going to be the really fun part," Black said.

The federal government picked up 65 percent of the cost of this cleanup project. The rest was picked up by the Department of Natural Resources.