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Waterway stays closed as more Kalamazoo River cleanup begins

Image of the Kalamazoo River in Saugatuck.
Terry Johnston via Wikimedia | CC BY 2.0
flickr.com via Wikimedia.org

The south banks of the Kalamazoo River will remain closed this summer as work begins upstream on four more areas needing cleanup and restoration.

The Kalamazoo Gazette reports that sediments, riverbanks and floodplains from Kalamazoo to Lake Michigan are contaminated with toxic waste from paper mills that once dotted the river from Kalamazoo to Otsego. The 1.7-mile cleanup of polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, started in Kalamazoo and has continued for the past few years in sections.

Representatives from multiple environmental agencies, paper companies paying for the work and construction companies performing met this week.

They unveiled plans for this summer's work that began this week. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on-scene coordinator Paul Ruesch says work will continue to completion regardless of funding news from Washington.