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News Releases from Region 05

Significant Cleanup Progress Made at the Kalamazoo River Superfund Site

Superfund Task Force Announces One-Year Anniversary

07/24/2018
Contact Information: 
Rachel Bassler (bassler.rachel@epa.gov)
312-886-7159

For Immediate Release    No. 18-OPA37

CHICAGO (July 24, 2018) – One year after U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Superfund Task Force identified the Kalamazoo River Superfund site in Otsego, Mich., as a site of emphasis, EPA Region 5 Administrator Cathy Stepp joined state officials and community members to tour the site and view progress.

“Last year, EPA focused on finding ways to accelerate and streamline the Kalamazoo River Superfund cleanup and since then we’ve made tremendous progress,” Stepp said. “EPA is committed to working with our state partners and local communities to pick up the pace of Superfund cleanups so that more sites can be removed from the National Priorities List and more land can be returned to productive reuse.”

Over the past year, EPA removed the Otsego Township Dam, restored native plants and grasses, and stabilized the eroded riverbank soils near the M-89 bridge. This summer, EPA will finish building a parking lot which will provide residents with easy access to the river. 

“Bringing a timely resolution to these long-standing environmental concerns in Michigan creates significant benefits for natural resources, citizens and local economies,” said Michigan Department of Natural Resources Director Keith Creagh. “We welcome the opportunity to return some of these locations to recreational use, which will improve the future for local communities.”

“Michigan is committed to revitalizing contaminated lands for future productive use,” said Michigan Department of Environmental Quality Director C. Heidi Grether. “In only one year, the Task Force’s recommendations have led to a material improvement in our Superfund work here in Michigan. We look forward to the continued implementation of these recommendations and the accelerated revitalization of the Superfund sites in this state.”

EPA’s Superfund Task Force was charged on May 22, 2017, to provide recommendations on how EPA could streamline and improve the Superfund program. One year ago, on July 25, 2017, EPA issued the Superfund Task Force Report, which included 42 recommendations in five goal areas:

  • Expediting Cleanup and Remediation;

  • Re-Invigorating Responsible Party Cleanup and Reuse;

  • Encouraging Private Investment;

  • Promoting Redevelopment and Community Revitalization, and

  • Engaging Partners and Stakeholders.

EPA’s new “Superfund Task Force Recommendations 2018 Update” is available at: https://www.epa.gov/superfund/superfund-task-force-recommendations-2018-update 

A video highlighting Superfund success stories from across the country can be found here: https://youtu.be/btUramqS7G4 

The Agency’s new informational mapping tool on the Redevelopment Focus List is available at: https://arcg.is/vn8H5

EPA will continue will continue to post opportunities for external stakeholders to participate in the Task Force work on the Superfund Task Force web page at: https://www.epa.gov/superfund/superfund-task-force-public-participation-opportunities.

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