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Kalamazoo River cleanup update: 2008 Disposal Plans; Open House Aug. 22

Release Date: 08/02/2007
Contact Information: Don de Blasio, 312-886-4360, deblasio.don@epa.gov

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
No. 07-OPA135

CHICAGO (Aug. 2, 2007) - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 today announced an agreement with Millennium Holdings and Georgia-Pacific that requires Kalamazoo River sediment dug up in the ongoing Plainwell Dam cleanup in 2008 be sent to a commercial landfill for disposal.

EPA and Michigan Department of Environmental Quality's oversight of the 2007 PCB-contaminated sediment dredging is on schedule. Before work resumes in the spring of 2008, the two companies will recommend to EPA commercial disposal facilities that have the proper permits to handle contaminated sediment removed from the river. Hazardous waste will be separated from waste not regulated by the Toxic Substances Control Act, a practice currently in effect.

Open-house-style update meetings to discuss the dredging will be held 1:30 to 3 and 6:30 to 8 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 22, at Comfort Inn, 622 Allegan St., Plainwell. Residents who need special accommodations at the meeting may contact EPA Community Involvement Coordinator Don de Blasio at 800-621-8431, ext. 64360, 10 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. weekdays, or deblasio.don@epa.gov.

Dredging work began in early June. As of the last week of July, nearly 6,200 cubic yards of material had been removed from the river and nearby banks. Of that total, about 1,035 cubic yards of sediment with PCBs above 50 parts per million was sent to Environmental Quality Co.'s Wayne Disposal Landfill in Belleville, Mich. Another 5,145 cubic yards of sediment with less than 50 parts per million PCBs, which is considered non-hazardous solid waste, was sent to Allied Waste's C and C Landfill near Marshall, Mich. More than 180 truckloads of sediment have been hauled out of the site.

Millennium Holdings and Georgia-Pacific will begin work later this year on a thorough investigation of PCB contamination along the entire 80-mile Kalamazoo River Superfund site. This is an effort to identify where PCBs are located and the extent of the contamination.

PCBs, or polychlorinated biphenyls, are a group of toxic chemicals that were widely used in carbonless copy paper and as coolants, insulators and lubricants. PCBs are of concern because they concentrate in the food chain resulting in health hazards to people, fish and wildlife. Congress banned the manufacture of new PCBs in 1976 and PCBs still in use are strictly regulated.

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