Officials test water after Paw Paw dam breach

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Paw Paw

PAW PAW, Mich. (AP) — Officials are testing water in southwestern Michigan after a dam holding back contaminated sediment was breached following heavy rainfall.

Village officials in Paw Paw said the breach was discovered early Sunday. The breach didn’t pose a threat to residents or properties due to flooding, but the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality wants to know whether water quality was affected.

A 113-year-old dam separating Briggs Pond and Maple Lake ruptured after weekend storms brought several inches of rain. Environmental Quality Analyst Derek Haroldson told the Kalamazoo Gazette that samples were sent this week to be analyzed.

The sediment in Briggs Pond is contaminated with arsenic, PCBs and other harmful materials. The village of Paw Paw is working with engineers to determine how to repair the dam.

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