Kalamazoo Superfund site on US list for accelerated cleanup

The Kalamazoo River.

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (AP) — A toxic waste site in southwestern Michigan has been placed on a national priority list for accelerated cleanup work.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency last week included the Kalamazoo River project among 21 slated for special attention under the Superfund program, which provides federal resources to deal with some of the nation’s most contaminated locations.

The site is located in Allegan and Kalamazoo counties.

It includes soil and sediment tainted with PCBs in landfills, paper mill properties, about 80 miles of the Kalamazoo River, adjacent riverbanks and contiguous floodplains, as well as a three-mile stretch of Portage Creek.

EPA has identified seven areas of the Kalamazoo River requiring cleanup and has made final decisions on two of those areas. Some interim cleanup actions have been taken.

U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, provided this statement on the designation Sunday:

“We’ve been working alongside Kalamazoo leaders for years on this important issue. Everyone involved understands that it is essential that the final remedy protects the health and safety of Kalamazoo residents and allows for the site to be redeveloped and put to good use for the community.

“With this new priority designation, I am glad to see the site is to receive ‘immediate and intense attention.’ Our Southwest Michigan community is eager to see this property cleaned up and put back to productive use and this the new priority designation is certainly welcome news for all involved, particularly those of us who have been working diligently on this issue.”