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Work on Kalamazoo River cleanup delayed until 2017

Dec 13, 2014

KALAMAZOO   (AP) - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced it will be several more years before cleanup work begins on the next phase of an 80-mile stretch of the Kalamazoo River.

  According to agency officials, it will take at least until 2017 to select and implement a plan for cleaning 22 miles of the Kalamazoo River Superfund site.

Jim Saric, an EPA remedial project manager who's leading the effort, says it typically takes about six months to reach an agreement and another six months of work.

Kalamazoo River
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The bottom and banks of the river have been contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls, or man-made organic chemicals, for some time.

  Saric tells the Kalamazoo Gazette about $65 million has already been spent on direct cleanup efforts, including the removal of contaminated sediment from a 1.8-mile stretch of Portage Creek.