PCBs-contaminated paper waste disposed in the Willow Landfill, shown here on the bank of the Kalamazoo River in Kalamazoo Charter Township, Michigan, is one of the sources of hazardous substances injuring natural resources in Portage Creek and Kalamazoo River. Photo credit: FWS.
On April 4, 2012 the federal and State natural resource trustees opened a 60-day public comment period on the “Draft Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment, Portage Creek and Operable Unit 1 – Allied Paper Property, Allied Paper, Inc./Portage Creek/Kalamazoo River Superfund Site.” The natural resource trustees in this case include:
In 1990, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency placed the Kalamazoo River in Kalamazoo and Allegan Counties, Michigan, on the National Priorities List because of PCBs contamination in the sediment and floodplain soils. The NPL site encompasses a 3-mile stretch of Portage Creek and the lower 80-mile stretch of the Kalamazoo River to the mouth of the River at Lake Michigan.
EPA has divided the Kalamazoo River NPL site into five Operable Units plus two paper mill properties. Operable Unit 1, including the Allied Paper property and the former Bryant Mill Pond area, is located within the City of Kalamazoo, next to Portage Creek. The natural resource trustees have concluded that natural resources -- including surface water, sediment, soils, fish, benthic invertebrates, birds and mammals -- have been injured by hazardous substances releases at Operable Unit 1 into Kalamazoo River and Portage Creek and their floodplains.
The purpose of the proposed restoration actions in this Draft Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment is to compensate the public for injuries to natural resources and natural resource services. The natural resource trustees do not necessarily expect to be able to implement all of the proposed restoration projects described in the Draft Restoration Plan. Ultimately, the restoration projects implemented will depend on available funding from the settlement of natural resource damage claims with responsible parties. Public input regarding favored potential restoration projects is encouraged.
The deadline for submitting written comments to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality on the Draft Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment is Friday, June 1, 2012.