Foth was retained by Xcel Energy to execute a Superfund remedial design and remedial action (RD/RA) at a former MGP site in Ashland, Wisconsin. A breakwater was needed to provide wave sheltering in order to carry out dredging of contaminated sediments in Chequamegon Bay, Lake Superior.


Foth provided the geotechnical evaluation, design and permitting services for the construction of the 840 foot-long breakwater which involved placing 56,000 tons of stone. From permitting through the end of construction, the fasttrack project was completed in 10 months. Extensive coordination was required between Foth and WDNR, USEPA, USASCOE, USCG, and the City of Ashland.

The breakwater was designed for maximum two-foot wave height behind the completed structure, as well as to withstand Lake Superior’s ice shoves. Baird & Associates provided the conceptual, preliminary and final design of the breakwater structure.


The project was completed ahead of schedule and under budget. Foth utilized a local utility bulkhead wall area for rock staging to reduce the barge transport distance. Foth worked closely with the City of Ashland to plan trucking haul routes and noise mitigation in order to maintain the 24-hour construction schedule.

The project safety record was exemplary with no recordable incidents, even given the tight time-frame in which work was completed.

Overall, the project is one of the largest coastal structures built on Lake Superior in the last 50 years. The breakwater now serves as a major public amenity for the City as they redevelop their waterfront.