EPA proposes plan to dig more PCBs out of Kalamazoo River for $20 million

May 19, 2015

The EPA breaks up the 80-mile Kalamazoo River Superfund site into "operable units" or OUs. The EPA is taking comment on its plan for Area 1 of OU5.
Credit Enivronmental Protection Agency

The Environmental Protection Agency is hosting a meeting in Kalamazoo tonight to get feedback on its proposed plan to clean up a 22-mile section of the Kalamazoo River.

For decades, paper mills dumped waste into the Kalamazoo River. Some of it had polychlorinated biphenyls; or PCBs.

People can be exposed to PCBs mainly by eating fish from the Kalamazoo River. An advisory warning people not to eat fish from an 80-mile stretch of the river has been in place since the 1970s.

The EPA has already dug up 300,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil upstream. In this stretch of the river, from east of Kalamazoo over to Plainwell, the agency wants to dig up another 30,000 cubic yards of polluted sediment from the river bottom and in the flood plains. This option would cost at least $20 million.

The agency is taking public feedback on the options it’s presented through June 3.