EPA Superfund Cleanup

From Mlive.comriver-options-tablejpg-e4b363a145cb1bf2
By Rosemary Parker

KALAMAZOO, MI — Options being considered for next summer’s Kalamazoo River cleanup will be the topic of a public meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 11, at the Radisson Plaza Hotel in downtown Kalamazoo.

river flood plain table.JPGThe flood plain around the river needs work, too.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will provide information and answer questions about cleanup options for the portion of the Kalamazoo River from the Morrow Dam in Comstock Township to Plainwell.

The EPA expects to propose a cleanup plan next summer.

The Kalamazoo River’s bottom and banks, contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls, PCBs, has been under study, and cleanup, since even before the 80-mile stretch of river from 10 miles east of Battle Creek to the Lake Michigan shore in Saugutuck was declared a federal Superfund site in 1990. A fish consumption advisory has been in place since the 1970’s.

According to a fact sheet from the EPA, Georgia-Pacific LLC, one of several parties legally responsible for the site, produced a feasibility study that describes and analyzes several cleanup options for Area 1. Those range from “no further action” to massive multi-million dollar excavations.

The EPA will evaluate the feasibility study and develop a proposed cleanup plan
for Area 1, expected to be released and explained next summer, at which time there will be a public comment period and a formal public hearing to
explain the proposed plan and accept oral comments.

Written comments may be submitted any time during the public comment period.

Cleanup of floodplain and sediment areas

Cleanup of the river has generally progressed downstream from the contaminated sites upstream.

The EPA has divided Area 1 of the Kalamazoo River into eight sections.

After EPA evaluating sediment concentrations of PCBs in each section and hot spot areas, cleanup options were developed for Sections 2, 3, and 4, as well as floodplain soil. The federal agency plans to require more testing in the natural floodplain upstream of Plainwell to ensure the natural floodplain is clean enough for intended human use.

Cleanup goals

The EPA’s goals for reducing the amount of PCBs in soil and sediment are set to protect people’s health and the environment, comply with state and federal regulations for PCBs in soil and sediment, ensure that fish caught in the river or creek are safe to eat, and that people who live, work and play along the riverbanks
are protected from PCBs.

People with questions about the meeting, or who need special accommodations, may contact Dianne Russell at 989-401-5507 or russell.diane@epa.gov by Tuesday, Dec. 9.

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