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EPA 2007 enforcement in Michigan benefits health and the environment

Release Date: 11/15/2007
Contact Information: William Omohundro, 312-353-8254, omohundro.william@epa.gov, Karen Thompson, 312-353-8547, thompson.karen@epa.gov

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
No. 07-OPA223

(Chicago, Ill. - Nov. 15, 2007) U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 enforcement actions in Michigan in 2007 will reduce pollution by more than 45.3 million pounds and result in regulated entities spending more than $200 million on pollution controls to correct past environmental violations and help prevent future ones.

In the past fiscal year, EPA resolved 55 actions against regulated entities in Michigan and assessed a total of $1,723,893 in civil penalties for various air, water hazardous waste, pesticide and community right-to-know violations. As part of the settlement agreements, Michigan companies agreed to spend $3,159,211 on supplemental projects to benefit the environment.

"EPA regional enforcement actions in the last year will result in real health and environmental benefits," said Regional Administrator Mary A. Gade. "EPA believes in firm and fair enforcement and working with our partners at the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality to ensure cleaner air, water and land for the people of Michigan."

Among the most notable environmental actions in Michigan were:

  • Dow Chemical Co. agreed to three EPA orders issued under the Superfund Act for sediment cleanup on the Tittabawassee River. Under the first order, Dow will clean up approximately 14,000 cubic yards of dioxin-contaminated bottom deposits and sediments in an area of the Tittabawassee River within Dow's Midland plant property. Under the second order, Dow agreed to remove a dioxin-contaminated naturally occurring levee, as well as cap one upland area and fence off another wetland area located in overbank areas on the northwest side of the Tittabawasee River 3.6 miles downstream of the confluence of the Chippewa and Tittabawassee rivers. Under the third order, Dow will remove dioxin-contaminated sediments in three locations 6.1 miles downstream of the confluence of the Chippewa and Tittabawassee rivers.
  • Two companies responsible for the cleanup at the Allied Paper/Portage Creek/Kalamazoo River Superfund site will excavate and dredge about 150,000 cubic yards of sediment, river bank and floodplain soil containing about 4,500 pounds of PCBs from the most upstream source of contamination to the Kalamazoo River. The $30 million removal will occur over a two-year period. Much of the Plainwell Dam will be dismantled, and the river will be re-routed to its original pre-dam channel. For the first time since 1902, fish, kayaks and canoes will be able to navigate freely through this area of the river.
  • Cemex has agreed to pay $1,359,422 in a Clean Air Act case involving release of particulate matter from a Charlevoix cement plant that it formerly owned. St. Mary's and St. Barbara's, the current operators, committed to installing a baghouse particulate control system costing about $11 million and to investing at least $6.2 million in a supplemental project consisting of a new indirect firing system for the plant's kiln, which is expected to cut emissions of particulates, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides.

EPA Region 5 coordinates with state environmental agencies in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin to enforce environmental laws. State agencies also have authority to pursue their own enforcement actions.

Nationwide, EPA enforcement resulted in a record $10.6 billion in pollution controls and environmental projects.

For more information about the Region's enforcement program, go to http://www.epa.gov/region5/enforcement/fy07eoy.htm.
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