- The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has finalized an approximately $65 million cleanup plan for the closed Allied Paper landfill in Kalamazoo, MI, which is part of a larger Superfund site, as reported by WKZO.
- Soil contaminated by polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) will be moved away from a nearby creek and open up about 20 acres for redevelopment. The soil will be consolidated into a large pile elsewhere on the site, sealed under a plastic cap and covered in clean topsoil to create a hill for potential recreation use.
- The larger Allied Paper/Portage Creek/Kalamazoo River Superfund site has been on the National Priorities List since 1990 and many remediation plans have been discussed over the years. The landfill cleanup is expected to begin in about 18 months.
The PCB leaks came from recycling operations at paper mills along the river during the 1950s through the 1970s in yet another example of industrial effects lingering for decades. These incidents of contamination from PCBs and a variety of other substances are often damaging to local environments and prohibit local governments' ability to remediate.
These sites can be hard to live with during the many years it takes to remediate them and the EPA has been working to show their potential reuse benefits — which can include increased tax revenue, new jobs and additional green space. The EPA has also been working to help train local residents in these affected communities to get these jobs through its Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training program.
More than 850 of the total 1,388 uncontrolled hazardous waste sites in the U.S. now have some form of current or planned reuse.