WKSU Presents An Exploradio Community Forum On The Future Of The Gorge Dam

The Cuyahoga River has come a long way since it caught fire in 1969, sparking the birth of America’s environmental movement and the founding of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The river has recovered, but the U.S. EPA and others believe that work still needs to be done to meet the goals of complete restoration. After decades of improvements, one of the biggest remaining obstacles to a free-flowing Cuyahoga is the largest dam left on the river, the Gorge Dam in Cuyahoga Falls.

On Wednesday, Sept. 21, from 6:30-8:30 p.m., WKSU’s Exploradio presents a free public forum at the Sheraton Suites in Cuyahoga Falls on the past, present and future of the Gorge Dam, currently the centerpiece of Gorge Metro Park. Moderated by WKSU All Things Considered host and Exploradio producer Jeff St. Clair, the event takes place a mile from the dam and overlooks the Cuyahoga River. Registration is required through www.WKSU.org.

St. Clair’s award-winning Exploradio series focuses on science and innovation in Northeast Ohio. A former chemist, St. Clair turns his curiosity and interest in science and the natural world towards exciting discoveries that might otherwise miss the media spotlight. Exploradio airs Mondays during WKSU’s local broadcasts of NPR’s Morning Edition and Sundays during The TED Radio Hour at 4 p.m. Morning Edition airs on WKSU Mondays through Fridays from 5-9 a.m.

Built in 1913, the Gorge Dam is 57 feet high, 420 feet long and creates a lake that stretches one mile upstream and is more than 30 feet deep in places. Beneath that lake sits 832,000 cubic yards of sediment contaminated with a century’s worth of industrial pollution, with potentially harmful amounts of heavy metals, aromatic hydrocarbons and pesticides in the mix.

The projected $70 million removal plan includes tearing down the dam and dredging the accumulated sediment to prevent spreading the contamination downstream. One solution involves pumping the sludge to part of the Cascade Valley Metro Park in Akron where it would eventually be buried.

This Exploradio event provides an opportunity for the public to hear from panelists and engage in a discussion on the future of the Gorge Dam and the Cuyahoga River. Participants include Bill Zawiski from Ohio EPA, Summit Metro Parks Executive Director Lisa King, Pat Gsellman of the city of Akron’s Engineering Bureau and David Hill, a member of the American Whitewater Association.

WKSU is an award-winning public radio station and service of Kent State University that broadcasts to 22 counties in Northeast Ohio from the station’s primary signal at 89.7. WKSU content can also be heard over WKRW 89.3 (Wooster), WKRJ 91.5 (Dover/New Philadelphia), WKSV 89.1 (Thompson), WNRK 90.7 (Norwalk) and W239AZ 95.7 (Ashland). The station adds WKSU-2 Folk Alley, WKSU-3 The Classical Channel and WKSU-4 The News Channel over HD Radio and as streaming audio at www.wksu.org.