Kalamazoo River Webline

Site Overview

About the Kalamazoo River Superfund Site

The Kalamazoo River Superfund Site, formally designated as the Allied Paper, Inc./Portage Creek/Kalamazoo River Superfund Site, is located in Kalamazoo and Allegan Counties in southwestern Michigan. The area was designated a Superfund Site because of PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) in the river′s fish, sediment, and surface water.

Since the river was designated a Superfund Site in 1990, a number of different companies have worked together at various times to conduct investigation and cleanup work. Currently, Georgia-Pacific LLC and Weyerhaeuser are continuing work to address PCBs in various areas of the Site. To learn more about PCBs, visit the Background FAQ and the associated links under the "Resources" menu.

The Site includes several former paper mill properties and associated disposal areas; 80 miles of the Kalamazoo River from Morrow Dam to Lake Michigan; and a three-mile reach of Portage Creek from Cork Street to where it joins with the Kalamazoo River.

The Site covers a large geographical area and is divided into several operable units, or OUs. Four of these OUs were used as disposal areas for the paper mills, and were established to allow investigation and cleanup work at these locations to proceed on a separate schedule from the Kalamazoo River work. Georgia-Pacific has recently completed major construction work on a closure and restoration plan for the Willow Boulevard/A-Site Operable Unit, and is working with MDEQ to complete response work at the King Highway Landfill Operable Unit. Weyerhaeuser has completed cleanup work at the 12th Street Landfill Operable Unit. The USEPA has assumed responsibility for completing the Feasibility Study at the Allied Paper, Inc. Operable Unit and is leading a cleanup project at Portage Creek that is expected to take 2-4 years to complete. Visit USEPA′s website for information and updates on the Portage Creek project. To learn more about the OUs, read the FAQ on the Operable Units and visit the River Tour.

Under the terms of an agreement (referred to as an AOC) established in February 2007, USEPA divided the Kalamazoo River portion of the Site into seven distinct areas (take a photographic tour of the river). Plans call for Supplemental Investigations, Feasibility Studies, and potential cleanup work to proceed sequentially from the most upstream (Area 1) to the most downstream (Area 7).

The photographs above depict sampling and investigation work in Areas 1 through 3, the cleanup projects at the Plainwell dam sites and the WB/A-Site OU, and some downstream areas that will be the subject of future investigations. Visit the Investigations and Feasibility Studies page for more on the work in Areas 1 through 4, the Cleanup Projects page for more on active and completed cleanup efforts across the Site, and the River Tour for photographs of the entire 80-mile Site.

More details can be found at Resources—Timeline and Resources—Useful Links.