Updated: June 24, 2014 7:38AM
A bill that would prohibit the Army Corps of Engineers from dumping dredged material into the Lucas-Berg Nature Preserve in Worth passed the U.S. House this week.
That’s good news for the village, which has seen its citizens and elected officials fight for decades over control of the 74-acre site, a former sand and grave quarry that the Army corps leases from the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District.
The proposed federal law would prevent the Army Corps, which manages the property near 111th Street and Southwest Highway, from dumping silt and other material dredged from the Calumet Sag Channel there.
“Since I was first elected to Congress, one of my top local priorities has been to remove Lucas-Berg as the Army Corps’ designated site for dumping dredged materials from the Cal Sag,” said U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski, D-3rd.
Worth officials and some residents want to see the land become a village park. Concerns about pollutants from the dredged silt leaking into the aquifer that runs beneath Lucas Berg, or leaching into nearby area, prompted the opposition from some residents.
Lipinski said he will continue to work with the Army Corps to find a place for the dredged material.
If passed by the Senate, the law will help make improvements to local waterways, specifically the Calumet Sag Channel and the Chicago Sanitary & Ship Canal, to allow for better movement of freight and commodities by barge, Lipinski said.
The bill also contains language that requires the use of American-made iron and steel for construction of locks, dams and ports. Additionally, it will improve multi-agency collaboration to address the invasive Asian carp threat to the Great Lakes.