Downtown Indy Canal Cleaning Project 2018

The downtown Indianapolis canal will be drained so that it can cleaned of algae and other plant growth. The cleaning will be along the entire length of the concrete-lined canal through the west side of downtown. Crews will remove the sediment by using equipment and machinery, and debris will be removed for disposal. Crews will also be improving safety grips along the canal walls.

Project Overview

Where: Downtown Canal from 11th Street to the White River State Park
Project Timeline: November 19, 2018 – February 18, 2019

Who: Department of Metropolitan Development & White River State Park

Frequently Asked Questions

How is the sediment disposed of?

It will be taken to an approved disposal site.

Where does the water go?

The water is drained into the White River. When the cleaning is finished, a city well will return water to the canal.

When was the last time this was done?

The Canal was last comprehensively cleaned in 2007. It’s recommended this cleaning take place roughly once per decade.

How long does this process take?

Approximately 90 calendar days, depending on weather.

What will happen to any fish or wildlife during the cleaning?

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) was consulted during project planning, and all native species will be returned to the White River. Crews will safely remove fish using a net during the draining process and will be returned to the White River. Migratory water fowl such as geese and ducks will not be affected.

What type of noise and air quality issues will be associated with the cleaning process?

All local noise ordinances dealing with decibel levels and hours of allowed activity will be followed. Because the project takes place during the winter months, the odor of the decomposing plant material should be minimized.


12/15/2018 – IndyStar:A decade of fish poop, algae and dirt is being scraped out of the Indiana Central Canal

12/13/2018: FOX59: Hidden treasures found in downtown Indy canal during cleanup

12/11/2018 – WTHR: All sorts of things found during cleanup of the canal

12/10/2018 – WISH: Canal cleaning turns up scooters, bowling ball, drone and wallet

11/23/2018 – WTHR: Crews begin draining downtown canal for cleaning project

11/16/2018 – RTV6: Indy canal cleaning project starts Monday

Contact info

General Contacts

Do you have a question that wasn’t covered above? Have a great photo of our crews at work? Any other comments, concerns, or media requests? Send us a message Someone from our team will get back to you as quickly as possible.

Connect Directly

Andrea Watts
Chief Communications Officer, Indy Department of Metropolitan Development
Telephone: 317-327-6709

Bradley Breedlove
Information Systems and Communications Director, Merrell Bros., Inc.
Telephone: 574-699-7782


Photo Gallery

Downtown Indy Canal Cleaning Project 2018