A call for safety on the Fox River

GREEN BAY, Wis (WBAY) - A warning to boaters ahead of a busy Memorial Day weekend on the Fox River.

With the 10th year of PCB dredging underway on the river in Green Bay, heavy equipment and underwater pipes pose a number of hazards.

That's why dredging crews joined law enforcement Tuesday to urge boaters to use extreme caution.

What's remarkable, they say, is that since the project began in the spring of 2009 to remove polluted sediment from the river, there has not been one serious accident.

But the message of safety, they add, cannot be stressed enough.

"At any moment the equipment could be moving. We don't see them, and if they're having a good time and not paying attention, that's the makings of a catastrophic event that we don't want to happen," says Dezy Hajos, JF Brennan Project Safety Officer.

Signage, markers and flags make known where the dredgers are located, as well as underwater pipelines and, occasionally, divers.

And throughout the river, red and green navigation buoys mark a clear path boaters must travel.

"The red and greens are the key, so when you're in the construction area go through the red and greens, you've got a safe passage. The orange, if you're around an orange, then it's time to stop and figure out where the red and greens are and get back there, and do that very slowly because there could be pipes floating or some other construction equipment there that they're not aware of," says DNR Warden Supervisor Chris Groth.

With all dredging operations taking place in the downtown Green Bay area this summer, congestion is unavoidable.

But for law enforcement and dredging crews, safety is paramount, and they're urging boaters to do there part to make this summer and other safe one.

"The people are well aware of it, it's just let's keep the track record going," says Groth.

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