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Cleanup of chemicals at former Allied Paper Landfill site begins next month

Kalamazoo River expected to rise as creeks drain
Posted at 3:15 PM, May 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-20 15:15:31-04

KALAMAZOO, Mich. — Work will begin next month to clean up polychlorinated biphenyls at the former Allied Paper Landfill in Kalamazoo, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Thursday.

The current property owner, the Lyondell Environmental Custodial Trust, will conduct the cleanup under the EPA’s supervision, according to a news release.

The work involves consolidating and capping contaminated soil and installing a groundwater monitoring system at the site and is expected to take four years.

“EPA looks forward to the day when this old landfill site is transformed for productive reuse in Kalamazoo,” Acting EPA Region 5 Administrator Cheryl Newton said. “This cleanup is another important milestone in EPA’s extraordinary effort to restore the health and vitality of the Kalamazoo River system after decades of pollution from papermill operations.”

Historically, paper mills and landfills located along the Kalamazoo River and Portage Creek discharged PCB-laden waste and other contaminants into the waterways.

Allied Paper built its landfill adjacent to the creek to dispose carbonless copy paper contaminated with PCBs.

EPA added the site to the Superfund National Priorities List in 1990.

PCBs are a group of manmade organic chemicals that are known as chlorinated hydrocarbons.

They were domestically manufactured from 1929 until they were banned in 1979, and do not readily break down in the environment and can bioaccumulate.

EPA, EGLE and the City of Kalamazoo will discuss the upcoming cleanup and answer questions from residents during a virtual public meeting Monday, May 24. It will be recorded and available for viewing on the city’s Facebook page and YouTube channel after the livestream.

Community members can submit questions before the meeting by emailing hello@kalamazoocity.org, posting on the event Facebook page or calling 269-226-6573.