Dicks Creek and Monroe Ditch are small tributaries in the Great Miami River watershed in southwestern Ohio. As a result of polychlorinated biphenyl contamination, AK Steel was required to remediate, restore, and monitor segments of these streams. Remediation efforts, which included the dredge removal and disposal of approximately 174,500 metric tons of sediment and floodplain soils over nearly 4 miles of stream, were completed in three phases during 2010, 2012, and 2013. Concurrent restoration activities completed in November 2013 involved both instream and riparian improvements. The first year of instream post-construction monitoring was conducted during Summer 2014 at multiple locations upstream, within, and downstream of the restored segments of Monroe Ditch and Reach 1 of Dicks Creek. The first year of monitoring Reach 2 of Dicks Creek was completed in 2015.
As part of the restoration monitoring effort, EA evaluated the fish and benthic macroinvertebrate assemblages as well as aquatic habitat at each location. Results were compared to pre-remediation data collected by EA and Ohio Environmental Protection Agency from 1987 through 2001 as well as upstream reference locations.
Five years of post-remediation and restoration monitoring were completed in 2019 with results showing substantial and sustained improvement in terms of aquatic habitat, fish, and benthic macroinvertebrate quality compared to historic and baseline conditions. The results verified that the goals of the remediation and restoration objectives were both achieved and maintained.