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Information about the Allied Paper Landfill

Frequently asked questions Allied Paper Landfill Summary of community questions The Allied Paper Landfill is part of the Allied Paper/Portage Creek/Kalamazoo River Superfund site. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has been working with members of the community over the last several months to understand their questions and concerns. Here are some of the questions – and the answers – asked at those meetings. This FAQ will be updated as needed. EPA’s Recommended Cleanup Option 1. Would EPA’s recommended cleanup option protect people and the environment?

  • Yes. EPA can only choose an option that protects.

  • The consolidation and capping alternatives do not include a bottom liner. Is a landfill safe without a bottom liner?

At Allied, adding a liner would not provide more protection. Liners prevent waste from moving off-site through groundwater. In this case, the PCBs are bound to the remaining waste materials, and water does not easily flow through them. So a liner is not necessary. 3. Would stacking the waste higher cause contaminated water to be squeezed out, sending contamination into the groundwater? Piling excavated material onto existing material, causing compression, would actually make movement of the contamination more difficult in the long term. If we implement this plan, we will take samples during the design phase to better understand how to engineer the cleanup so the site remains stable. We will also monitor the groundwater to see if we need to do any treatment. 4. What are the cleanup standards? EPA’s cleanup standards at Allied Landfill protect humans and animals. The cleanup levels vary by area and by potential reuse. In wetland areas, the standards are designed to protect fishermen and animals that eat fish or worms. In places that may be redeveloped for commercial use, the standards are designed to protect people working at commercial properties. These standards are discussed in more detail in the technical version of the proposed plan. 5. What is the timeline for cleanup? Alternative 2D would take about one year to design and three years to complete. Protectiveness and Groundwater 6. Has EPA cleaned up places like the Allied Landfill using capping, consolidation and monitoring? EPA has used this technology locally at the King Highway Landfill, 12th Street Landfill and the Willow Boulevard/A-Site Landfill. In these cases, PCBs have been properly managed without posing a risk to people or the environment. We have used the consolidation, capping and monitoring cleanup method successfully at dozens of landfills in the Midwest. 7. Does the contamination at Allied Landfill affect Kalamazoo drinking water wells? No. EPA studied the groundwater and flow patterns and found that the groundwater is not flowing toward the city well fields. Also, we have not detected PCBs in the groundwater outside the site at levels that pose a risk to human health. Once the cleanup is done, we will continue to monitor the groundwater to make sure there is no contamination moving off-site. What are PCBs? • • • Polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, belong to a broad family of man-made organic chemicals known as chlorinated hydrocarbons. PCBs were domestically manufactured from 1929 until their manufacture was banned in 1979. Although no longer commercially produced in the United States, PCBs may be present in products and materials produced before the 1979 PCB ban. Once in the environment, PCBs do not readily break down and may remain for long periods of time in air, water and soil. PCBs have been demonstrated to cause cancer, as well as other adverse health effects on the immune system, reproductive system, nervous system, and endocrine system. capping and consolidation. There were several short-term impacts, including truck traffic, movement and management of a large amount of contaminated material, and time to reach protectiveness that EPA considered in addition to high cost (see table, previous page). Ultimately, our recommended option offered the best balance while protecting human health and the environment. 14. What are the costs associated with a plan that keeps the waste in place? Leaving waste in place requires long-term maintenance to ensure the cleanup continues to protect people and the environment over time. For Allied Landfill, EPA estimates ongoing maintenance of consolidation, capping and long-term monitoring would be $5 million. Cost of Cleanup 15. If there was more money available, would you chose a more expensive remedy? No. EPA cannot chose a remedy unless it is protective, and we do not select remedies based on how much money is available. Cost must be considered when selecting a cleanup plan, but so must:

  • Long-term effectiveness and permanence.

  • Reduction of toxicity, mobility or volume through treatment.

  • Short-term effectiveness.

  • Implementability.

In this case, we found the best balance of these factors with the recommended option. 16. Who will make sure that the landfill cleanup protects us long-term? It is EPA’s responsibility to make sure the cleanup protects people and the environment. Since the cleanup includes waste managed on-site, we would monitor the landfill cap and groundwater regularly, and share the results with the community. If we find any issues, EPA will fix them. Future Use and Public Involvement 17. Who will own the site in the future? That’s uncertain right now. But whoever owns it in the future, EPA will ensure the cleanup protects people and the environment. 18. How will the public be involved in decision-making in the future? EPA is committed to building communication and relationships with the community. Public discourse and feedback from stakeholder groups has helped EPA improve both our public communication and our cleanup plans. As we begin to build a cleanup work plan, we will continue to work with local partners and community members so their input and feedback is reflected in our planning. For more information regarding the Allied Paper Landfill, contact the following: Michael Berkoff EPA Remedial Project Manager 312-353-8983 Diane Russell EPA Community Involvement Coordinator 989-401-5507 Paul Bucholtz Michigan Department of Environmental Quality 517-284-5072 Gary Wager Executive Director, Kalamazoo River Cleanup Coalition 269-382-0490 Ext 271 EPA website: ES021114172153MKE

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