Officials with the Environmental Protection Agency and the State of Michigan took part in a virtual public meeting to answer questions regarding the upcoming cleanup of a toxic stretch of land in Kalamazoo. The area is between Cork Street and East Alcott Street, with Portage Creek running through it. The soil there is contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCB, a chemical shown to cause cancer in animals according to the EPA. The PCB came from a landfill built by Allied Paper that was adjacent to Portage Creek. The EPA said Allied Paper used the landfill to dispose carbonless copy paper that contained PCB. The chemical was banned in 1979.
On Monday, officials with the EPA, the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy, and the City of Kalamazoo participated in a virtual meeting to discuss the cleanup project, set to begin in June 2021. They also answered questions from the public. The property owner, the Lyondell Environmental Custodial Trust, was expected to perform the cleanup while the EPA supervises. Crews would consolidate the toxic soil, then put layers of clean soil over it. The clean soil would include 12 inches of backfill soil to serve as an interim cover and gas collection layer, a linear low-density polyethylene liner on top of that, then another 24 inches of backfill soil on top of the liner. The final layer would be 6 inches of topsoil.