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Kalamazoo River update: new plan for 2007 dredge disposal announced

Release Date: 04/25/2007
Contact Information: Anne Rowan, 312-353-9391, rowan.anne@epa.gov Mick Hans, 312-353-5050, hans.mick@epa.gov (MDEQ) Bob McCann, 517-241-7397

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
No. 07-OPA068

(Chicago, Ill. - April 25, 2007) U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 today announced a tentative agreement with two companies that PCB-contaminated sediment removed this year from an area around the Plainwell Impoundment will not be sent to the Allied Paper disposal area in Kalamazoo, Mich.

"EPA has clearly heard the concerns of Kalamazoo officials and residents," said Regional Administrator Mary Gade. "This agreement allows more time to better address local concerns about disposal without further delaying the time-critical cleanup work at the Plainwell Impoundment."

No determination has been made regarding a disposal site or sites for material excavated during 2008. EPA will solicit public input on all disposal options considered.

"The agreement ensures this important cleanup project will move forward while addressing the concerns that we have heard," said Steven E. Chester, director of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. "I look forward to keeping an open dialogue with the community as we continue our efforts to restore the Kalamazoo River."

The 2007 cleanup work - which was halted on April 13 to allow for additional community input - will resume on May 2. EPA expects that about one-third of the sediment will be removed during 2007. Under the new plan, material excavated from the river during 2007 will be sent to permitted commercial landfills.

The alternative plan for 2007 was proposed by Georgia-Pacific and Millennium Holdings. The companies agreed to perform the $21-25 million cleanup under EPA and Michigan DEQ oversight earlier this year. The government agencies and companies agreed to the new disposal approach this week. A variety of technical, logistical and financial details will be addressed over the next few weeks.

Under a cleanup plan announced February 28, an estimated 132,000 cubic yards of sediment was to be sent to Allied Paper's existing disposal area during the 2007-2008 construction seasons. Though the disposal plan for 2007 has been revised, both EPA and Michigan DEQ firmly believe the original work plan presented in February is fully protective of human health and the environment and would have presented no negative impacts to the Kalamazoo community, environment or economy.

More information about the Allied Paper/Portage Creek/Kalamazoo River Superfund site may be found at http://www.epa.gov/region5/sites/kalproject/

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