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Are there risks at the site now?

The primary risk at the site is through the consumption of PCB contaminated fish. Fish advisories have been developed by the State of Michigan and fish advisory signs are posted throughout the Kalamazoo River. Other risks and pathways addressed by the cleanup include health risks from people, birds and animals ingesting or touching PCB contamination contaminanted soil and sediment.

The primary site contaminant is polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), a hazardous substance and probable human carcinogen. PCBs were introduced to Portage Creek and the Kalamazoo River through past discharges and disposal of PCB-contaminated paper residuals by the paper industry. The five disposal areas are situated on the river banks and contain millions of cubic yards of PCB-contaminated waste. It has been estimated that the river sediments contain more than 120,000 pounds of PCBs. The contaminated sediments have largely been deposited in four impoundment areas within the river.

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Community Resources

Michigan Department of Community Health's fish advisoryExit EPA Disclaimer

Michigan Department of Environmental Quality's Web site on this projectExit EPA Disclaimer

Kalamazoo Project Environmental Glossary

Kalamazoo River Environment Natural Resource Damage Assessment - U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry

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Redevelopment Activity

The Allied Paper, Inc./Portage Creek/Kalamazoo River Superfund site is located in the counties of Allegan and Kalamazoo in Michigan. The site includes 80 miles of the Kalamazoo River, adjacent river banks and floodplains, a 3-mile stretch of Portage Creek, five landfills and one paper mill property. The paper mill and the landfills on site discharged and disposed of contaminated paper residuals into Portage Creek and the Kalamazoo River, resulting in soil and sediment contamination. The State of Michigan identified contaminated river sediments in 1971. EPA added the site to the Superfund program’s National Priorities List (NPL) in 1990. Cleanup activities included soil removal, stabilization, capping and installation of groundwater monitoring systems at four of the five landfills. In 2006, the City of Plainwell purchased a portion of the site a where paper mill formerly operated. The former paper mill area is now on the National Historic Registry. EPA provided reuse planning assistance to support the City's evaluation of reuse opportunities in 2008. Redevelopment work began in 2010, when the City of Plainwell and Conestoga-Rovers & Associates (CRA) entered into an agreement for the redevelopment of the 36-acre former paper mill. CRA relocated its U.S. Construction headquarters to the site in 2012, relocating 50 jobs to the site. The City of Plainwell completed a $1.7 million renovation of the former de-watering building for the purpose of housing its Public Safety Department. The City has moved City Hall to the site and has obtained a grant to expand parking for employees at the site. Local artists are used some of the salvaged materials from the site to create a sculpture near the new main entrance into the mill complex. CRA and city officials remain focused on filling the property with various residential and commercial facilities. The Kalamazoo River is used for recreational purposes including swimming, boating and fishing.

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