Justice News

Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Georgia-Pacific Agrees to Perform Cleanup Activities at the Kalamazoo Superfund Site in Michigan

WASHINGTON—Georgia-Pacific, a manufacturing company headquartered in Atlanta, has agreed to perform remedial work at an estimated cost of nearly $13 million to contain two former disposal areas within the Kalamazoo River Superfund site in Allegan and Kalamazoo Counties, Mich., the Justice Department and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today.

According to the settlement filed in U.S. District Court in Grand Rapids, Mich., Georgia-Pacific will design and construct a landfill cap at the Willow Boulevard/A-Site Landfill portion of the Superfund site. The company has also agreed to pay $225,509 for EPA’s past response costs and will pay EPA’s future costs related to this portion of the site.

"This excellent settlement ensures that Georgia-Pacific will perform necessary cleanup work within the Kalamazoo River site," said John C. Cruden, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. "This settlement represents another step in the overall cleanup of this environmentally significant region of the country."

"This settlement marks an important milestone in addressing the Willow Boulevard/A-Site Landfill," said EPA Region 5 Acting Regional Administrator Bharat Mathur.

The Allied Paper Inc.,/ Portage Creek/Kalamazoo River Superfund site consists of an 80-mile stretch of river, a three-mile segment of Portage Creek, a number of now-closed paper mill properties, and four landfills, including the Willow Boulevard/A-Site Landfill, which has historically been addressed as a single unit.

Georgia-Pacific currently owns the Willow Boulevard/A-Site Landfill portion of the Superfund site, which consists of two former disposal areas and adjacent impacted areas that include wetlands and woodlands. Under the terms of the agreement, Georgia-Pacific will consolidate PCB-contaminated material, design and install a permanent geotextile landfill cap across a 32-acre area, design and install a groundwater monitoring system and build long-term erosion control measures. Additionally, Georgia-Pacific will restore wetlands and shoreline habitat areas along the borders and next to the Willow Boulevard/A-Site Landfill.

Landfill design work will begin immediately following a comment period and court approval. On-site construction work is expected to begin by 2011. Currently, to prevent erosion of PCB-contaminated material into the Kalamazoo River, the Willow Boulevard/A-Site Landfill is covered in part by a geotextile membrane and sand. In addition, a sheet-pile wall borders the A-Site portion of the landfill.

The consent decree, lodged today in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan, is subject to a 30-day public comment period and approval by the federal court. A copy of the consent decree is available on the department Web site at http://www.usdoj.gov/enrd/Consent_Decrees.html.

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Updated September 15, 2014