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2008 Kalamazoo River cleanup work begins; Plainwell meeting April 2

Release Date: 03/17/2008
Contact Information: Don de Blasio, 312-886-4360, Phillippa Cannon, 312-353-6218, Mick Hans, 312-353-5050,

No. 08-OPA039

(Chicago, Ill. - March 17, 2008) U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 today announced that 2008 Kalamazoo River environmental cleanup work near the Plainwell Impoundment is underway. Construction vehicles and workers in required protective equipment will be visible for months to come in the area near the Highway 131 Bridge and the Plainwell Dam.

An informational meeting will be held Wednesday, April 2, from 6:30 to 8 p.m., at the Comfort Inn, 622 Allegan St., Plainwell, Mich. Representatives from partner agencies including Michigan Department of Environmental Quality are expected.

The work represents the second and final year of an estimated $30 million PCB-contaminated sediment removal project. It will be performed by Georgia-Pacific and Millennium Holdings contractors under EPA and MDEQ oversight. The complete Kalamazoo River Superfund area stretches 80 miles from Saugatuck on Lake Michigan to the Morrow Dam.

Site activities over the next few weeks include construction of temporary roads, clearing river edges, building an in-river curtain and preparing three staging pads for drying sediment. Shore restoration from the 2007 work season, including replanting vegetation, is also under way.

The in-river dredging will begin in mid-April. Sediment with more than 50 parts per million PCB content will be sent to EQ's Wayne Disposal facility in Belleville. Less contaminated material below 50 ppm will be sent to Allied Waste's C & C Landfill near Marshall and its Ottawa Farms Landfill near Coopersville.

During 2007, about 37,000 cubic yards of PCB-contaminated soil and sediment were removed. About 3,150 cubic yards of this was 50+ ppm material sent to Wayne Disposal. By fall 2008, about 120,000 cubic yards of sediment containing 4,400 pounds of PCB's will have been removed. With the site now established, work is expected to proceed at a faster pace during 2008.

On a separate track, work is also proceeding on a supplemental river investigation. The first phase of this project - collecting sediment samples from the Morrow Dam to Plainwell, and Portage Creek - was completed last fall. Data is now being analyzed. A second phase of sampling in these areas will occur in late spring 2008.

Site information is at Residents with questions may contact EPA community involvement coordinator Don de Blasio at 800-621-8431, ext. 64360 (weekdays, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.) or

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