The Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa report nothing hazardous was found, in a second recovery of 22 barrels dumped in Lake Superior in the 1950s. The barrels containing munitions parts were initially pulled from the lakebed in 2012 – but were returned to the water because Red Cliff staffers and contractors did not have proper permits or equipment to deal with the Cold War vintage munitions, and were not sure they could handle them safely.
Crews placed the potentially explosive contents in tubs and sank them back in the lake, marking the spot on GPS. Up to 700 ejection cup assemblies for cluster bombs, manufactured by the Honeywell Corporation, were found in the barrels. The munitions were still considered to be live, the Duluth News Tribune reports.
Crews returned to the site this past September and retrieved the tubs containing the explosives, transferring them into lined salvage barrels, including the ejector cups and any water in the tubs, according to a report the tribe issued on Tuesday. The salvage barrels were sent to a staging area in Duluth and eventually went to a special disposal facility in Sauget, Illinois where they were destroyed. Non-hazardous materials found in 2012 were eventually trucked to a landfill in Menomonee Falls for disposal.
The Red Cliff tribe received federal funding to retrieve and examine the barrels. The report said no toxic materials were found and there is no “immediate cause for concern regarding the safety of water and fish consumption.”