Decades-old aluminum cans deposited on Minnesota Point

People have been finding decades-old cans embedded in the sand on Minnesota Point since dredge material was placed there last year. People have been finding decades-old cans embedded in the sand on Minnesota Point since dredge material was placed there last year. |  Photo: Submitted

Created: January 22, 2021 11:40 AM

An effort to replace eroded sand also brought decades-old garbage to a popular Lake Superior beach.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said Friday it is working to clean up aluminum cans and can fragments that were "inadvertently deposited" on Minnesota Point near the shipping canal last year. At the city's request, the Corps placed 49,000 cubic yards of dredge material on the beach in August and September. Residents began to notice shredded cans and metal shards in October.

"The debris likely resulted from dredge equipment encountering an area containing trash discarded in the harbor in the 1970s based on aluminum can vintage," the Corps said in a news release.

The city is urging residents to watch out for shredded aluminum cans on the lake side of the point between the shipping canal and 13th Street South. The Corps said it will clean up the debris as weather permits.

The Corps believe about half of the dredge material used in the project came from the area with debris and said it is developing a plan to mitigate the possibility of dredging up debris in the future. 

The Park Point Community Club and residents of the neighborhood had asked the city to conduct the "beach nourishment" project after years of erosion caused by near-record-high water levels on Lake Superior.

"The Park Point Community Club is encouraged by the USACE's ownership of this unfortunate situation and their commitment to improving sediment testing and methodology designed to prevent similar situations in the future," Park Point Community Club President Dawn Buck said in a news release.

The club said it will provide volunteers to work with the city and the Corps to return the beach to a safe condition.

"Park Pointers join the City in taking great pride in providing active and vigilant stewardship of Lake Superior and its shores. Our efforts will continue as long as the cans and shards continue to surface on the beach and wash up on the shoreline," Buck said.

The Corps conducts dredging to maintain navigation in the Duluth-Superior Harbor and has placed 1.1 million cubic yards of dredge material for habitat restoration and remediation projects since 2013.



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