June 8, 2022
people on a boat in a river

Following the Industrial Revolution, many paper mills were constructed along the Kalamazoo River. Among other products, these mills produced blue carbon copy paper, which contained Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Mostly produced between 1929 and 1979, waterways in the surrounding area were polluted when companies packed PCB-contaminated waste into the soil along the riverbanks.

Studies have shown PCBs has harmful effects on the human immune, reproductive and endocrine systems and can cause cancer. The PCBs found in polluted waterways are known to adhere to the fatty tissue in fish and through the process of bioaccumulation in organisms higher up in the food chain, including humans, PCBs can appear in increasing concentrations.

PCBs were banned when the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) was passed in 1976. The Kalamazoo Superfund site was added to the National Priorities List on August 30, 1990, with the first environmental cleanup action efforts beginning later that same year. For this large-event remediation project, the Potentially Responsible Party (PRP) began working closely with the EPA, the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy and local environmental companies to address the on-going removal and disposal of hazardous substances from the Kalamazoo River and the surrounding area, including the Allied landfill, Portage Creek, Plainwell Mill and areas between the Ostego Township Dam and Trowbridge Dam.

US Ecology is an important partner in the continued efforts to remediate the Kalamazoo River watershed. We will be transporting and disposing of 6,000 tons of PCB-contaminated soil into our subtitle C landfill in Belleville, MI, with a bid to remove an additional 12,000 tons of TSCA-classified PCB waste coming in late 2023. During the transportation and disposal of PCB waste from the Trowbridge Dam remediation, PFAS was found in the river dredged soil. US Ecology safely and compliantly managed 4,000 tons of PFAS-contaminated soil that was securely disposed of at our Belleville facility, ending the PFAS mobility cycle.

PFAS Pic 1

As the remediation of the Kalamazoo River Superfund site continues, US Ecology remains a trusted partner in the safe and compliant transportation and disposal of both PFAS- and PCB-contaminated soils. All parties remain dedicated to restoring the Kalamazoo watershed utilizing customized services from US Ecology including daily weight tickets and reports outlining the amount of contaminated material shipped off-site.

As significant government funding is now available for large-scale PFAS and other hazardous materials remediation projects, the US Ecology team of experts, federal and state regulators as well as environmental engineering and consulting firms have partnered to assess the evolving regulatory framework surrounding PFAS management. We offer comprehensive solutions to both achieve compliance and ensure peace of mind through permanent waste disposal options that end the PFAS mobility cycle. As the remaining remediation work on the Kalamazoo Superfund site progresses through 2026, US Ecology is set to handle an additional 10,000 tons of PCB waste along with any additional PFAS-contaminated soil that is discovered.

US Ecology is an industry leader offering multiple, innovative turnkey solutions for PFAS-contaminated waste, including arid-climate secure disposal, deep-well injection, thermal treatment, remediation, transportation and more. To learn more about our PFAS waste solutions, contact us at (800) 592-5489 or visit us online at www.usecology.com/services/treatment-disposal/pfas-waste-solutions.