Saturday, March 14, 2009

Portion of Kalamazoo River Reopened for Public Use

new path of the Kalamazoo River around Plainwell Dam
the Kalamazoo River now flows freely past the previous site of Plainwell Dam
(from Kalamazoo River Webline)
compiled from several sources

The Michigan DNR has announced that a one and one-half mile stretch of the Kalamazoo River that had been closed in June of 2007 for the removal of PCB-contaminated sediments is now reopen to public use

The stretch between the city of Plainwell and the city of Otsego has been the site of remediation work to remove river sediments contaminated with PCBs. PCBs are polychlorinated biphenyls, which are toxic organic pollutants.

The final activities on the river were completed in February. The old Plainwell Dam also was removed, and now the Kalamazoo River flows freely in its historical channel for the first time in more than 100 years.

Although LyondellBasell Industries, one of the two companies that had been paying for the work filed for bankruptcy last month, the $25 million cleanup of the section has been wrapped up. This leaves Georgia Pacific as the lone source of revenue for future cleanup projects scheduled both up and downstream.

The EPA, with help from Georgia Pacific, is continuing to try identify other companies that might have polluted the river with PCBs. The timeline for future work divides the river into annual project areas starting from the Plainwell Dam to Otsego City Dam in 2010 and ending with Lake Allegan Dam to Lake Michigan in 2015.

Some work will progress in spite of the reduced funding. Native vegetation, including shrubs, trees and grasses, will be planted along the renovated waterway near Plainwell this spring. A three-year water monitoring program along the 1.5-mile stretch has been instituted.

"With the cleanup complete and vegetation restoration underway, the public can once again enjoy this stretch of the river," said Sharon Hanshue, DNR Fisheries Habitat Unit supervisor.

See Michigan DNR, "Portion of Kalamazoo River Reopened to Public Use"
See Kalamazoo News, "Bankruptcy brings cleanup of Kalamazoo River nearly to a halt"
See Kalamazoo River Webline
These links are checked on the date of the article. As the article ages, some links may become invalid

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