Kalamazoo River Webline

FAQ — The Operable Units (OUs)

What is an "Operable Unit?"
What is the status of work at the Allied OU?
What is the status of work at the Willow Boulevard/A-Site OU?
What is the status of work at the King Highway Landfill OU?
What is the status of the ongoing monitoring program the King Highway Landfill OU?
What has been going on recently at the King Highway Landfill OU?
What is the status of work at the 12th Street Landfill OU?
 

What is an "Operable Unit?"

Since the Superfund Site covers such a large geographical area, it is divided into several Operable Units, or OUs. Four of these OUs were used as disposal sites for paper-making residuals and were considered to be potential sources of PCBs to the Kalamazoo River and Portage Creek. The OUs were established to allow remedial investigation and feasibility study activities at the landfill disposal sites in particular to proceed on a separate schedule from the work for the Kalamazoo River itself. The four landfill OUs are:

The status of work at each of the landfill OUs is summarized in the questions and answers below.

What is the status of work at the Allied OU?

Major work at the Allied Paper, Inc. (Allied) OU began in 1998 with cleanup of the former Bryant Mill Pond portion of the OU. The USEPA excavated PCB-containing soils and sediment from the area encompassed by the former pond and consolidated the materials under an impermeable waterproof cap that was constructed between 2000 and 2004. After the removal activities, the Bryant Mill Pond area was restored with clean fill and revegetated with native wetland plants.

During 2000, the earthen berm between much of the OU and Portage Creek was stabilized with a ½-mile-long steel sheetpile wall. In addition, a groundwater recovery system was installed along a portion of the OU to collect groundwater that may contain PCBs. Since that time, a storm water management system for the impermeable cap was completed, and a new wastewater treatment plant began operation in February 2005 to treat groundwater recovered at the site. In the fall of 2006, remaining historical buildings and structures were cleared from the site.

The Remedial Investigation Report for the OU, which was released in March 2008, is available on USEPA´s website – click here, scroll down to "Technical Documents," and select "Allied Paper Inc. Operable Unit Remedial Investigation Report – March 2008 – report text only."

USEPA is now managing all work at the Allied OU, and they are currently evaluating cleanup alternatives. A cleanup plan is expected to be issued for public comment in 2013. Visit USEPA’s website for information and updates.

What is the status of work at the Willow Boulevard/A-Site OU?

After a number of interim response actions at the Willow Boulevard/A-Site Operable Unit beginning in 1998 and the issuance of the final Remedial Investigation/Focused Feasibility Study (RI/FFS) Report in 2004, the USEPA issued a proposed cleanup plan (the Proposed Plan) in July 2005 that outlined the elements of a remedy for the OU.

The Proposed Plan was followed by a Record of Decision (ROD) (the document that formally explains the cleanup plans for a site) in September 2006, and Georgia-Pacific worked with USEPA and the Department of Justice to reach agreement on the details of the cleanup plan described in the ROD. Final agreement was reached in September 2009.

Between May 2011 and December 2012, Georgia-Pacific conducted work to close the Willow Boulevard and A-Site Landfills. Work included consolidation of PCB-containing materials in the landfills, installation of permanent caps, incorporation of long-term storm water and erosion control measures, installation of a gas monitoring system, and removal of the sheetpile wall along the river. Georgia-Pacific has begun to restore wetlands, woodlands, and shoreline habitat in designated areas. These activities will be completed in 2013 along with the installation of a groundwater monitoring system.

Read more at the Cleanup Projects page.

What is the status of work at the King Highway Landfill OU?

King Highway Landfill cap

Remediation of the King Highway Landfill OU was largely completed in 2003. Work on the site began in 1996 with installation of a steel sheetpile wall to prevent soil erosion and to stabilize the earthen berm that separates the OU from the Kalamazoo River. Since that time, PCB-containing materials were removed from the King Street Storm Sewer area, the former King Mill lagoons, the former Georgia-Pacific Mill lagoons, and other areas in the floodplain and adjacent to the landfill. These materials were consolidated at the OU as part of the site's overall closure plan. The OU was then covered with a state-approved landfill cap made up of layers of soil, an impermeable plastic liner (PVC), a drainage layer of native sand, and topsoil planted with native vegetation (see cross section of a typical cap at right).

From 2006 to 2011, Georgia-Pacific conducted various activities at the King Highway Landfill OU to prevent the migration of methane gas and to address the presence of residuals in the right-of-way along King Highway. In January 2012, Georgia-Pacific submitted an updated draft of the Completion of Construction Report for MDEQ review and approval. After MDEQ issues a "Certificate of Completion of Construction" for the OU, Georgia-Pacific will continue to conduct routine groundwater sampling, landfill gas monitoring, and site inspections at the landfill.

In 2012, the USEPA conducted its second 5-Year Review of the remedy, and determined that the remedy was performing as intended. Click here to see USEPA's report.

What is the status of work at the 12th Street Landfill OU?

The Final Construction Completion Report summarizing construction activities was submitted to the USEPA in December 2011 and approved by the USEPA in January 2013. For more information, contact Mr. Michael Berkoff, USEPA′s remedial project manager, at berkoff.michael@epa.gov.

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