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EPA announces the Kalamazoo River Superfund site will be on the list of sites targeted for immediate, intense attention

Contact Information: 
Rachel Bassler ( )

For Immediate Release: No. 16-OPA091

CHICAGO (Dec. 8, 2017) – Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency named the Kalamazoo River site in Kalamazoo, Mich. to the list of Superfund sites that Administrator Pruitt has targeted for immediate and intense attention. The 21 sites on the list – from across the United States – are in direct response to the Superfund Task Force Recommendations, issued this summer, calling for this list.

“By elevating these sites we are sending a message that EPA is, in fact, restoring its Superfund program to its rightful place at the center of the Agency’s mission,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “Getting toxic land sites cleaned up and revitalized is of the utmost importance to the communities across the country that are affected by these sites. I have charged the Superfund Task Force staff to immediately and intently develop plans for each of these sites to ensure they are thoughtfully addressed with urgency. By getting these sites cleaned up, EPA will continue to focus on ways we can directly improve public health and the environment for people across America.”

The Allied Paper Inc./Portage Creek/Kalamazoo River Superfund site is located in Allegan and Kalamazoo Counties. The site includes PCB-contaminated soil and sediment in landfills, paper mill properties, about 80 miles of the Kalamazoo River, adjacent riverbanks and contiguous floodplains, as well as a 3-mile stretch of Portage Creek. EPA has identified seven areas of the Kalamazoo River requiring cleanup, and has made final decisions on two of those areas. However, several interim cleanup actions have been conducted along the river. Cleanup has taken place at three of the five contamination source areas; operation and maintenance activities and groundwater monitoring are ongoing at these locations. In addition, interim actions conducted at the remaining two areas have eliminated them as sources of contamination to the river.  

In developing this initial list, EPA considered sites that will benefit from Administrator Pruitt’s direct engagement and have identifiable actions to protect human health and the environment. These are sites requiring timely resolution of specific issues to expedite cleanup and redevelopment efforts. The list is designed to spur action at sites where opportunities exist to act quickly and comprehensively. The Administrator will receive regular updates on each of these sites.

The list is intended to be dynamic. Sites will move on and off the list as appropriate. At times, there may be more or fewer sites based on where the Administrator’s attention and focus is most needed. There is no commitment of additional funding associated with a site’s inclusion on the list.

EPA remains dedicated to addressing risks at all Superfund sites, not just those on the list. The Task Force Recommendations are aimed at expediting cleanup at all Superfund sites and Administrator Pruitt has set the expectation that there will be a renewed focus on accelerating work and progress at all Superfund sites across the country.

The Task Force, whose work is ongoing, has five overarching goals:

  • Expediting cleanup and remediation;
  • Reinvigorating cleanup and reuse efforts by potentially responsible parties;
  • Encouraging private investment to facilitate cleanup and reuse;
  • Promoting redevelopment and community revitalization; and
  • Engaging with partners and stakeholders.

The Task Force will provide the public with regular updates as it makes progress on the Administrator’s Emphasis list and other Task Force activities.

The list of sites can be found here.

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