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EPA completes cleanup work on Torch Lake Superfund site

Release Date: 08/14/2006
Contact Information: CONTACT: Mick Hans, (312) 353-5050, William Omohundro, (312)353-8254, Dave Novak, (312) 886-7478,

No. 06-OPA138

CHICAGO (Aug. 14, 2006) - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced completion of cleanup work on the Torch Lake, Mich., Superfund site in Houghton County on the Keweenaw Peninsula, contaminated from more than 70 years of copper mining, milling and smelting.

EPA completed the project almost $3 million under budget. As of last September, cleanup costs, originally estimated at $15.2 million, totaled $12.3 million.

Since 1986 when the site became eligible for cleanup under the EPA Superfund program, EPA has removed toxic waste and cleaned, cleared, graded and covered about 800 contaminated acres with clean soil and vegetation.

The Torch Lake site is actually 15 separate areas ranging in size from 10 acres to more than 100 acres. In 1999, EPA began removing debris, adding at least 6 inches of clean soil cover stabilized with vegetation and providing for deed restrictions to ensure that the contaminated areas remain covered.

EPA will maintain the cleanup work at the Torch Lake site for at least two years. After two years, EPA, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and the federal Natural Resources Conservation Service will inspect the cleaned areas to determine whether they are stable and can withstand weathering and erosion on their own. Then, with the agreement of MDEQ and after notifying the landowners, the site will be deleted from the Superfund list.

More information on the cleanup is at Site-related documents are at the Lake Linden/Hubbel Public Library, 601 Calumet St., Lake Linden, and at the Portage Lake District Library, 58 Huron, Houghton. For more information, contact Remedial Project Manager Brenda Jones, (312) 886-7188, or Community Involvement Coordinator Dave Novak, (312) 886-7478, Toll-free calls can be made on weekdays, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., to (800) 621-8431.

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