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EPA Removes Allied Paper, Inc./Portage Creek/Kalamazoo River Site from Administrator’s Superfund Emphasis List

04/16/2020
Contact Information: 
Francisco Arcaute (arcaute.francisco@epa.gov)
312-886-7613, 312-898-2042 cell

For Immediate Release No. 20-OPA-028

EPA Removes Allied Paper, Inc./Portage Creek/Kalamazoo River Site from Administrator’s Superfund Emphasis List

KALAMAZOO, Mich.— (April 16, 2020) U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler has announced the eighth update to the Administrator’s Emphasis List of Superfund Sites Targeted for Immediate, Intense Action. In this latest update, the Allied Paper, Inc./Portage Creek/Kalamazoo River site in Michigan, was removed from the list.

“EPA is delivering on its promise to accelerate cleanup progress at Superfund sites on the Administrator’s Emphasis List,” said EPA Region 5 Administrator Kurt Thiede.  “After long negotiations, the people of Otsego and Trowbridge Township will soon be able to appreciate the beauty of the restored river and shoreline and enjoy recreational activities there.” 

After decades of working to cleanup this mega-site, EPA used the Administrator’s Emphasis List to bring needed attention to the site, specifically to the negotiation activities. The focused attention concluded 1.5 years of negotiations that culminated in an agreement that addresses many cleanup elements of the site, and for the first time, requires the NCR Corporation to perform and finance cleanup work at the site. The agreement with NCR Corporation, worth more than $244 million, provides funding to cleanup three areas of Operable Unit (OU) 5, pay for past and future EPA and State of Michigan costs and natural resource damages and claims. The OU 5 cleanup includes the removal of the Trowbridge dam, the largest dam within this portion of the river. Removing this dam allows access to remove contaminated sediments to prevent further contamination downgradient, as the dam continues to deteriorate. Additionally, this effort aligns with the State of Michigan’s effort to re-establish natural flow conditions of the river.

Background

EPA established the Administrator’s Emphasis List in December 2017 in response to recommendations from EPA’s Superfund Task Force. The list is comprised of sites identified by Administrator Wheeler and EPA regional offices that will benefit from the Administrator’s immediate attention or action to move site cleanups forward.

The list serves as a mechanism to address site-specific issues that may cause delays in a site’s cleanup progress. EPA considers removing a site from the list once the milestone is achieved and the cleanup activities are back on track. Sites move on and off the list as needed, and removal from the Administrator’s Emphasis List does not change the site’s status on the National Priorities List. 

The updated Administrator’s Emphasis List is available on the agency’s website at

https://www.epa.gov/superfund/administrators-emphasis-list.

For more information on the Kalamazoo site: http://www.epa.gov/superfund/allied-paper-kalamazoo

To read the Kalamazoo site fact sheet, visit: https://semspub.epa.gov/work/05/952642.pdf

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