Superfund Site Profile

The Allied Paper Inc./Portage Creek/Kalamazoo River Superfund Site is located in Allegan and Kalamazoo Counties, Michigan. The site includes soil and sediment contamination in disposal areas, paper mill properties, about 80 miles of the Kalamazoo River (from Morrow Dam to Lake Michigan), adjacent riverbanks and contiguous floodplains, as well as a 3-mile stretch of Portage Creek. EPA has identified six areas, or operable units (OUs), requiring cleanup. Cleanup has taken place at three of the six areas; operation and maintenance activities and groundwater monitoring are ongoing at these locations. Final cleanup decisions have not been made at the remaining three OUs.  However, several interim cleanup actions have been conducted. 

At this time, the site is divided into six cleanup projects known as operable units (OUs):

  • OU #1, Allied Paper Property/Bryant Mill Pond Area;
  • OU #2, Willow Boulevard and A-Site Landfill;
  • OU #3, King Highway Landfill;
  • OU #4, 12th Street Landfill;
  • OU #5, Portage Creek and Kalamazoo River sediments; and
  • OU #7, Plainwell Mill.





October 2016 Update

Allied Paper Landfill update 
EPA has finalized a cleanup plan for the Allied Paper Landfill. EPA’s cleanup plan will include excavation of contaminated soils in portions of the landfill next to Portage Creek and consolidate the soil in one central location within the landfill. This work will prevent human and ecological exposure to the contamination and will also prevent erosion and the re-release of contaminants from the landfill into the creek. The landfill will be capped, and a groundwater monitoring network will be installed. Future reuse and redevelopment of the site will be considered throughout the cleanup process. Next steps will include the design and implementation of the remedy. 

Otsego Township Dam - Time-Critical Removal

EPA is overseeing the removal of PCB-contaminated sediment and soil along the Kalamazoo River between the M-89 bridge and the Otsego Township Dam in Otsego Township.  Georgia-Pacific LLC, Weyerhaeuser Co. and International Paper Co. were required to carry out all cleanup activities.  EPA is coordinating closely with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and Michigan Department of Natural Resources during implementation of the project.

The cleanup is focused on a 1.7-mile long area of PCB-contaminated sediment and soil immediately upstream of the Otsego Township Dam. This portion of the Kalamazoo River is located in what EPA calls Area 3 of Operable Unit 5 at the Allied Paper Inc./Portage Creek/Kalamazoo River Superfund site. 

Field activities began on the south bank of the Kalamazoo River between the Pine Creek Dam and M-89 in August 2016.  The entire project is on schedule to be completed in 2018.

August 23, 2016 Public Meeting Presentations

Kalamazoo River cleanup progress 
In September 2015, EPA signed a document called the “record of decision” for Area 1 of the river. (Area 1 is the portion of the Kalamazoo River between Morrow Dam and the former Plainwell Dam, and includes Portage Creek between Cork Street and the Kalamazoo River.) The cleanup for Area 1 includes excavation of PCB-contaminated hot spots in a 2-mile section of the Kalamazoo River near the confluence of Portage Creek, and floodplain soil removal in the Plainwell Impoundment near the former Plainwell Dam Work should start in 2018.

In October, EPA received a document called the “feasibility study report” for Area 2 of the river. (Area 2 is the Kalamazoo River between the former Plainwell Dam and the Otsego City Dam). This report details various cleanup alternatives for this area.  EPA will present a proposed cleanup plan in summer 2017. 
Last February, EPA approved the Area 3 site investigation report. This report also shows high levels of PCB-contamination in soil and sediment. (Area 3 is the Kalamazoo River between the Otsego City Dam and the Otsego Township Dam.) This June, Georgia-Pacific submitted the Alternative Screening Technical Memorandum, which evaluates various technologies that may be available to manage contamination in this area.  In August work began on a Time-Critical Removal Action in the Kalamazoo River upstream of the Otsego Township dam and the M-89 bridge (see Otsego Township Dam - Time-Critical Removal update above).

Georgia-Pacific submitted the draft Area 4 site investigation report in September. This document shows where and how soil and sediment sampling was conducted in Area 4 of the river. (Area 4 is the Kalamazoo River between the Otsego Township Dam and Trowbridge Dam.)

In November, the investigation of Area 5 is scheduled to begin. (Area 5 is the Kalamazoo River between the Trowbridge Dam and Allegan City Dam.)

Plainwell Mill update 
EPA signed a record of decision for the former Plainwell Paper Mill in September 2015. The selected cleanup plan requires the excavation and off-site disposal of contaminated soil from the former mill site. The Remedial Design Work Plan and Pre-Design Investigation Work Plan were finalized in September.  A Pre-Design Investigation will be conducted in November 2016.








Contaminated Ground
Water Status
Under Control
Site-Wide Ready for
Anticipated Use?