KALAMAZOO,Mich. — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will begin the final stage of cleanup work on Portage Creek, which flows into Michigan’s Kalamazoo River. Approximately 4,000 cubic yards of contaminated sediment will be removed from the creek. EPA expects to complete the Portage Creek cleanup this year — months ahead of the initially-projected Summer 2014 completion date. The cost of the cleanup is being covered by EPA’s Superfund program.
The Kalamazoo River Valley Trail underpass and pedestrian bridge behind Veteran’s Park will be closed from August through October, while the cleanup is underway. Trail detour signs will be posted. Parts of Veteran’s Park will also be closed to the public during the project, but the monument area will remain open. Crews may need to shut down one lane of westbound Michigan Avenue when entering or exiting the work area with heavy equipment.
The nearly $16 million Superfund cleanup of two miles of Portage Creek began in September 2011. So far, EPA has removed approximately 17,000 cubic yards of sediment contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) from former paper processing operations. EPA has also stabilized creek banks to prevent erosion, filled excavated sections with clean rock and sand, and planted native vegetation.