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EPA and City of Ishpeming Complete Work in Deer Lake Area of Concern

Release Date: 11/05/2013
Contact Information: (Media only) Joshua Singer, 312-353-5069, singer.joshua@epa.gov, Brian Sweeney (MDEQ), 517-284-5047, sweeneyb2@michigan.gov.

ISHPEMING – U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 Administrator / Great Lakes National Program Manager Susan Hedman joined Mayor Mike Tall today in Ishpeming, Michigan, to announce the completion of an $8 million project funded by the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative to prevent mercury contamination from reaching the Deer Lake “Area of Concern” on Lake Superior.

“This Great Lakes Restoration Initiative project has stopped the flow of mercury-contaminated water into Deer Lake and the southern Lake Superior watershed,” said Hedman. “Now we will work with the City of Ishpeming and the State of Michigan to ‘delist’ the Deer Lake Area of Concern – perhaps as early as next year.”


Deer Lake is one of 43 Areas of Concern designated under the 1987 Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. The U.S. and Canada designated sites that had the worst legacies of toxic contamination on the Great Lakes. Since then, only two U.S. Areas of Concern have been cleaned up to the point where they could be removed from the list of designated sites. Deer Lake is poised to be the third Area of Concern to be “delisted.”

In 2010, EPA awarded a $2 million GLRI grant to the City to divert Partridge Creek from abandoned mine works beneath Ishpeming, where mercury contaminated water flowed into Deer Lake. In 2012, EPA awarded an additional $6 million GLRI grant to the City to complete the project. The diversion project eliminated the last major source of mercury contamination and restored Partridge Creek, which will once again provide habitat for trout.


“So many of our communities are built around water,” said John W. Allen, director of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s Office of the Great Lakes. “Deer Lake’s contamination has for decades put Ishpeming and the neighboring areas at a disadvantage. This remarkable and diligent partnership among the Deer Lake Public Advisory Council, the EPA, MDEQ and the Office of the Great Lakes, coupled with financial capacity through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, has given this community back one of its great resources.”

“This project will be a great addition to the entryway to the city, will provide the environmental improvements targeted for Deer Lake, and improve the quality of life by providing additional access to the creek,” said Mayor Tall.

For more information about the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, visit http://www.glri.us/.