State Gives Preliminary Indications Kazoo River Cleanup Could Be Done Through Less Costly Methods
The State of Michigan has provided preliminary indications that it may be possible to mix contaminated river soil with non-contaminated components as a way of dealing with disposal issues and cleaning up the Kalamazoo River/harbor, according to Saugatuck city officials.
“In his (Kalamazoo Lake Harbor Consultant Bill Boik) discussions with the DEQ (Michigan Department of Environmental Quality), the state has given preliminary indications that mixing hot spoils (spoils above contamination standards) and non-hot spoils could create a mix below contaminant standards,” said Saugatuck Mayor Pro Tem Ken Trester, also the chair of the Kalamazoo Lake Harbor Authority, at Monday night’s council meeting. “If that is the case, we would be able to treat it (the contaminants of the Kalamazoo Harbor) as normal dredging and dispose of it anywhere as fill,” added Trester.
There are a few spots in particular in the harbor that contain hot spoils, noted Trester.
If indeed DEQ’s preliminary findings become a viable option for the Kalamazoo Harbor, then that means the cities of Saugatuck and Douglas, the two members of the authority, would not be required by state regulatory agencies to store dredge spoils in what are called Confined Disposal Facilities (CDF), Trester said.
CDFs would complicate and add more cost to the already challenging project of improving the harbor, as they require strategic locations and specific processes to implement.
At $14,000 for a one-year contract, the cities of Saugatuck and Douglas hired Boik this past summer to help the cities implement the Kalamazoo Lake Harbor Authority’s road map for a sediment reduction strategy.
Along with implementing dredging and sediment reduction strategies, Boik, who previously served a long stint with the State of Michigan in the Department of Natural Resources Parks and Recreation Division, will act as liaison between the Harbor Authority and the various state agencies, identify grant opportunities, and provide frequent progress reports to the Authority.
His hiring came on the heels of the Edgewater Resources engineering firm’s completion of the Harbor Management Plan on August 9, a plan calling for a “layered approach” to effectively address long-term sedimentation management (i.e., reducing sediment from upstream sources, identify cost effective locations for Confined Disposal Facilities (CDF).
In related news, Trester also said the authority is currently working on various grants, including a harbor economic impact study as well as DEQ waterway grants that would fund improved signage at launch ramps and directional signage in the harbor’s waterways.