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Great Lakes AOCs

Restoring White Lake AOC (timeline)

Year Critical Actions
2018 Guidance for Delisting Michigan’s Great Lakes Areas of Concern  (PDF) (65 pp, 1.2 MB, About PDF

The last four BUIs are removed. AOC delisting process begins.

  • Restrictions on drinking water consumption, or taste and odor - March 2014
  • Degredation of fish and wildlife populations - April 2014
  • Degradation of aesthetics - March 2014
  • Loss of fish and wildlife habitat - April 2014


On Oct. 30, 2014, EPA announces that the White Lake AOC has been removed from the binational list of toxic hotspots that were targeted for cleanup in the U.S.-Canada Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. The White Lake Area of Concern is the first U.S. site in the Lake Michigan basin to be delisted.

White Lake AOC Final Delisting Report


The fourth BUI is removed.

  • Restrictions on fish and wildlife consumption - February 2013

Using $2.5 million in Great Lakes Restoration Initiative funds, EPA removes contaminated sediment along the Tannery Bay shoreline in White Lake.

White Lake Tannery Bay Remediation Project


The second and third BUIs are removed.

  • Degradation of benthos - June 2012
  • Eutrophication or undesirable algae - April 2012

Muskegon Conservation District completes the White Lake AOC Habitat Restoration Project

  • Over 8000 linear feet of shoreline improved
  • Restored or created over 38 acres wetland habitat
  • Restored nearly 15 acres of riparian and upland acres
  • Removed nearly 52,000 cubic yards of shoreline/submerged debris
  • Removed 500 lineal feet of sheet-pile seawall

White Lake Remedial Action Plan update completed.

White Lake AOC Remedial Action Plans - see Stage 2 RAP July 2011

The first BUI is removed.

  • Restrictions on dredging activities - September 2011

MDEQ (MDNRE at the time) releases an updated BUI Restoration guide for each of the BUIs in the Michigan Areas of Concern.

Muskegon Conservation District receives a $2.1 million GLRI grant for habitat restoration projects.


MDEQ issues updated Guidance for Delisting Michigan’s Great Lakes Areas of Concern.


MDEQ issues Guidance for Delisting Michigan’s Great Lakes Areas of Concern


Koch Chemical agrees to install a new well for the City of Whitehall due to groundwater contamination overlapping with the city’s “groundwater protection area.”

A habitat assessment completed by the Muskegon Conservation District evaluates areas for littoral/riparian zone contiguity. The assessment illustrates the importance of responsible development and appropriate land use within the AOC.

The 2002 reprinted remedial action plan update has a stronger focus on public interest in White Lake, also addressing projects regarding the restoration of the AOC.


Occidental/Hooker Chemical dredges 12,000 cubic yards of contaminated sediment from the lake near their outlet discharge pipe.


MDEQ and Genesco Inc. pay for removal of 91,000 cubic yards of contaminated sediment through Tannery Bay.


Tannery Investigation begins.

Remedial Action Plan Update. Further assessment and analysis of BUIs leads to adding the Drinking Water BUI.


White Lake Public Advisory Council is formed.


Stage I of the Remedial Action Plan is published. The document identifies impairments and describes the history of contamination in the AOC.