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Allied Paper Landfill To Be Capped, Consolidated

The EPA's current plan for Allied Paper Landfill
courtesy photo

It looks like the hazardous waste at Kalamazoo’s Allied Paper Landfill is here to stay. On Friday, the EPA released their final cleanup plan for the Superfund site. The mound of PCB contaminated soil will be consolidated to about half its size, leaving some of the land for redevelopment. 

The $63 million plan is similar to a proposal by the City of Kalamazoo to allow commercial and industrial businesses to move into the area. The EPA says the mound itself could become something like a park - with things like a walking trail, sledding, or a Frisbee golf course.

Kalamazoo assistant city manager Jerome Kisscorni says he was pleased with the EPA’s decision.

“It tells you that yes we can get involved when the federal government comes in and we can sit down and work some things out. So it was a compromise and I think it’s a good one,” he says.

Many residents fought for removing all the waste. Others suggested hiring the bioremediation company BioPath Solutions - which uses microbes to neutralize toxic chemicals. Michael Berkoff is the EPA’s remedial project manager for Allied. He says BioPath Solutions could not prove to the EPA that their product works on PCBs.

“We asked them to come to Chicago and A) Explain to us how their technology would work - how it would break down PCBs - and B) To present a bench scale study. They were unable to do either of those things,” says Berkoff.

Once work at Allied starts, moving the waste will likely kick up some toxic PCBs into the air. Berkoff says the EPA will do its best to make sure the noise and dust doesn’t reach residents:

“We have proven technologies we can use to control dust like wetting down excavation areas and doing air monitoring to confirm that we’re actually being successful in that effort,” he says.

The work will take about three years, which the EPA says is much less than many of the other cleanup options proposed.

Rebecca Thiele was an environmental reporter and producer of Arts & More for WMUK. She worked at the station from 2011 to 2019.
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