EPA Announces Kalamazoo River Cleanup Agreement

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced a $245 million agreement for the cleanup of the Allied Paper Inc./Portage Creek/Kalamazoo River Superfund Site.

The agreement marks a milestone in efforts to clean up Superfund sites in the Great Lakes region, and especially to address the legacy of paper mill generated PCB contamination in the Kalamazoo River watershed.

This agreement is a big step towards cleaning up the Kalamazoo River,” said EPA Regional Administrator Cathy Stepp. “This Administration is committed to cleaning up and restoring contaminated sites so they can be put back to productive use in the community.

Under the deal, NCR Corporation will take specific cleanup actions to address PCB contamination in and near the Kalamazoo River that will protect the public health and the environment.

The Allied Paper Inc./Portage Creek/Kalamazoo River Superfund site is in Allegan and Kalamazoo counties and is divided into six segments, or operable units (OUs), that require cleanup.

According to the settlement terms, NCR Corporation has agreed to spend approximately $135.7 million cleaning up three areas of OU 5. OU 5 includes 80 miles of the Kalamazoo River and three miles of Portage Creek.

In addition, NCR will pay:

  • $76.5 million to EPA for past and future costs in support of river cleanup activities;
  • $27 million to natural resource trustees of the Kalamazoo River Natural Resource Trustee Council for natural resources damage assessment and claims; and
  • $6 million to State of Michigan for past and future costs.

So far, EPA working along with the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE), has cleaned up three of the six operable units, removed nearly 450,000 cubic yards of contaminated material from the site, cleaned up and restored seven miles of the Kalamazoo River and banks, and capped 82 acres worth of contaminated material.