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Ruddiman Creek cleanup finished on schedule

Release Date: 05/15/2006
Contact Information: (EPA) Phillippa Cannon, 312-353-6218 cannon.phillippa@epa.gov; (MDEQ) Robert McCann, 517-335-7217

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
No. 06-OPA081

(Muskegon, Mich., May 15, 2006) - Federal and state government officials and local citizen groups today celebrated the successful completion of a $13.5 million cleanup of Ruddiman Creek and Pond. The nine month long project finished on schedule this month and about 90,000 cubic yards of contaminated mud were removed. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Great Lakes National Program Office and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality supervised the cleanup effort.

"This project shows what can be accomplished when we join together to accelerate the pace of environmental protection," said EPA Acting Regional Administrator Bharat Mathur.

"I extend my thanks to our partners at EPA, as well as the many people throughout this community who worked so hard to make this cleanup a success," said MDEQ Director Steven E. Chester. "This project has transformed a polluted waterbody into one that the community can truly be proud of."

EPA and MDEQ developed the cleanup plan in partnership with the Muskegon Lake Public Advisory Council and the Ruddiman Creek Task Force. Mathur praised the efforts of the citizens groups. "They kept the cleanup on EPA's radar screen for years. When the funding became available, they were prepared to use it, allowing this cleanup to get moving quickly."

The federal Great Lakes Legacy Act paid for 65 percent, or about $8.8 million, of the cleanup. The other 35 percent, or $4.7 million, came from the state's Clean Michigan Initiative. It is the third completed project funded by the Great Lakes Legacy Act, which President Bush signed in 2002 to address the problem of contaminated sediment in 31 toxic hot spots known as "areas of concern" around the Great Lakes. The other two are Black Lagoon in Trenton, Mich., and Hog Island Inlet in Superior, Wis. The Legacy Act strives to streamline the cleanup process while emphasizing collaboration among governments and community groups.

The sediment was contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polyaromatic hydrocarbons (a byproduct of petroleum) and toxic metals such as chromium, cadmium and lead. Under the project, 126,000 pounds of lead, 2,800 pounds of cadmium, 204,000 pounds of chromium and 320 pounds of PCBs were removed.

After dredging was completed, the creek and pond were reconstructed and water flow patterns restored. Workers are currently replanting bare sections of the banks and construction roads with native species of flowers, trees and grasses.

Contaminated sediment is a problem in rivers and harbors throughout the Great Lakes. It is a reason why many fish in the lakes are not safe to eat in unlimited quantities, harms aquatic life, degrades habitat and affects the quality of sources of drinking water.

For more information about this cleanup go to: epa.gov/glla/ruddiman

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