EHS & Waste Management

EPA collaborates with state of Michigan on Hazardous Waste Cleanup of former Landfill

By July 12, 2021 No Comments

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the state of Michigan are collaborating on the upcoming hazardous waste cleanup of a toxic landfill in Kalamazoo.

According to the EPA, the landfill soil is contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCB, a chemical shown to cause cancer in animals. The PCB came from a landfill built by Allied Paper, who used the landfill to dispose carbonless copy paper that contained PCB, which was banned in 1979.

The hazardous waste cleanup project, which is set to begin in June, will be performed by the property owner Lyondell Environmental Custodial Trust and supervised by the EPA.

Hazardous waste cleanup crews are expected to consolidate the toxic soil, then put layers of clean soil over it. As reported by WWMT, the clean soil will 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 will be 6 inches of topsoil.

“This is going to be a vast improvement over what it is now,” Kalamazoo Mayor David Anderson said. “This is not going to be a dangerous area, a toxic area. It will be regulated. It will be monitored.” He adds that once the hazardous waste cleanup is complete, the land could accommodate a “variety of uses.”

The EPA said the hazardous waste cleanup was expected to take four years. Although truck traffic would increase around the work site, crews would monitor noise levels and wet down the soil to prevent toxic particles from going airborne. It is planned to manage the project using a hazardous waste management software system that will track and report on all waste removed from the site.

“When we transform this area, that’s going to be transformative for the neighborhood and other adjacent businesses around it,” Anderson said. “I think it will now come to be seen as a place to be in Kalamazoo.”

The former Allied Paper Landfill is part of the Allied Paper Inc.-Portage Creek-Kalamazoo River Superfund site, which is comprised of six segments in Kalamazoo and Allegan counties. Since 1998, the EPA says it has removed almost 470,000 cubic yards of contaminated material from the site, cleaned up and restored 12 miles of the Kalamazoo River and its banks, and capped 82 acres in contaminated material.

 

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