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EPA discusses options to clean up toxic chemicals from the Kalamazoo River

Allied Landfill near Alcott and Cork Streets.
David Kinsey
Creative Commons
Allied Landfill near Alcott and Cork Streets.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is ready to select one of four options to clean-up one of the main contaminators of the Kalamazoo River. The Allied Landfill is full of waste from old paper factories that contain the toxic chemicals.

At a public meeting Thursday night, EPA officials asked for feedback on the plans. The options range from doing nothing (EPA officials said that's not really an option), to capping the dump, to hauling the one-and-a-half-million-cubic-yards of contaminated waste off to a safer location.

Bruce Merchant is Kalamazoo’s director of public services. He’s been familiar with the site for more than 3 decades.

“The ideal option is total removal. That totally takes care of the problem. I think if they’re going to leave the waste in place they have to get it out of the ground water. Because they’re option of leaving the waste in place still leaves the waste in the ground water and there still exists a potential of contaminants migrating off site.”

Completely removing the waste is also the most expensive option. EPA officials say the cost is a factor in their decision, but it’s not the deciding factor.

EPA officials may not announce their decision until April.

Lindsey Smith helps lead the station's Amplify Team. She previously served as Michigan Radio’s Morning News Editor, Investigative Reporter and West Michigan Reporter.