A History of the Environmental Protection Agency, Superfund Program, and a Case Study of the Kalamazoo Superfund Site
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In the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, Kalamazoo, Michigan was home to a thriving paper industry. However, the paper industry at this time used PCB’s (polychlorinated biphenyls) to create copy paper. The contaminated waste from the paper mills were dumped copiously into the Kalamazoo River. PCB’s from the waste traveled downstream and contaminated approximately 80 miles of the Kalamazoo River. Because of the massive amounts of PCB’s that were dumped into the river, a Superfund site was officially created in 1990. The cleanup process for Superfund sites vary depending on the contamination. In terms of the Kalamazoo site, one major part of cleanup, was removal of preexisting contaminates. Some areas of contamination were capped, and some areas were completely dredged and removed of all contaminants. Over the past few years, the EPA has estimated that this site has a total remediation cost of $189 million dollars.