EPA invites input on Kalamazoo PCB cleanup

U.S. EPA will begin a 30-day public comment period on the proposed cleanup plan to address polychlorinated-biphenyls, or PCB, contamination in Area 3 of the Kalamazoo River Superfund site in Otsego, Michigan.

Area 3 is a 3.4-mile stretch between Otsego City Dam and the former Otsego Township dam that flows through forested wetland areas predominately for recreational land use, although some residential parcels exist.    

EPA proposes to excavate approximately 58,500 cubic yards of floodplain soil and 11,300 cubic yards of riverbank soil and sediment along 6,600 feet of the river containing PCBs.

The plan also includes site controls and capping or removal of floodplain soil from private recreational areas and long-term monitoring, inspections and maintenance of riverbank erosion controls.

In 1977, a public health advisory was issued recommending residents to not eat fish caught from the Kalamazoo River due to PCBs found in the fish. In 1990, the Kalamazoo River, as part of the Allied Paper Inc./Portage Creek/Kalamazoo River Superfund site, was placed on the National Priorities List, a list of the nation’s most contaminated sites.

Since 1998, EPA has removed nearly 470,000 cubic yards of contaminated material from the site, cleaned up and restored 12 miles of the Kalamazoo River and Portage Creek (including banks), and capped 82 acres of contaminated material.

EPA will accept comments on the proposal from July 8 to August 6. 

Photo: epa.gov