EGLE signs agreement for final step in cleaning contaminated sediment site in Muskegon Lake

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Oct. 16, 2019
Lee Schoen, Aquatic Biologist, SchoenL1@Michigan.gov, 517-342-4500
Stephanie Swart, Area of Concern Coordinator, SwartS@michigan.gov, 517-284-5046
EGLE Media Office, EGLE-Assist@Michigan.gov, 517-284-9278

EPA commits $5 million to Torch Lake Area of Concern in U.P.

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) has signed a $6.6 million project agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and TDY Industries LLC to remediate contaminated sediments near Ryerson Creek within the Muskegon Lake Area of Concern, bringing the project closer to completion.

EGLE Director Liesl Clark announced today at the Great Lakes Environmental Remediation and Redevelopment Conference in Lansing that EGLE is contributing up to $1 million to the project and the EPA is providing up to $4.3 million. TDY Industries and Muskegon County are providing additional funding and in-kind contributions such as consulting services and the use of the county landfill for disposal.

Also at the conference, the EPA announced that it is has reached an agreement with Honeywell International for more than $5 million to implement a feasibility study and remedial design to address PCB and heavy metal contaminants in portions of the Upper Peninsula’s Torch Lake as part of the Torch Lake Area of Concern cleanup project.

“The Ryerson Creek and Torch Lake cleanups show how state, federal and industry partnerships are very effective ways to address legacy contamination,” Clark said. “There is still work to do before we can say both areas are remediated, but today’s announcements are a big step toward resolving long-standing issues.”

“Great Lakes Legacy Act agreements demonstrate that when federal, state, local, and industry partners work together collaboratively, we can solve complex environmental problems and get the job done,” said EPA Great Lakes National Program Manager and Regional Administrator Cathy Stepp. “EPA is proud to announce these ambitious projects that will bring both the Muskegon Lake and the Torch Lake Areas of Concern one step closer to delisting.”

“The Ryerson Creek project represents the final management action to be completed in the Muskegon Lake Area of Concern,” said Stephanie Swart, EGLE AOC Coordinator. “This work will result in a cleaner Muskegon Lake and eventual removal of the site from the list of Areas of Concern.”

The remediation of contaminated sediments at Ryerson Creek represents the final sediment cleanup project within the Muskegon Lake AOC. Approximately 16,000 cubic yards of heavy metal and polyaromatic hydrocarbon contaminated sediments will be removed and wetlands along the shoreline will be restored. Remediation work is projected to begin in 2020.

Muskegon Lake has been designated as an Area of Concern since 1987 due to environmental problems associated with urban runoff and contamination associated with sawmills and other industry. Shoreline softening, habitat improvement, mill debris removal, and other sediment projects have taken place around Muskegon Lake to meet Area of Concern restoration criteria. For more about sediment projects that have taken place in Muskegon, visit greatlakesmud.org.

“EGLE and EPA have been characterizing the sediment contamination near Ryerson Creek since 2005,” EGLE Aquatic Biologist Lee Schoen said. “This agreement represents the culmination of almost 15 years of work, and we are excited to get this project under way with our partners in 2020.”

Learn more information on Michigan’s Areas of Concern

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