OTSEGO, Mich. — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency plans to remove a dam and create a channel along 2 miles of Michigan’s Kalamazoo River in an attempt to clean the river and make its fish safe to eat.

About 50 people attended a meeting in Otsego last week to hear the federal agency’s plans and to provide feedback, MLive reported .

The EPA says the project could cost more than $46.5 million, including $12.5 million to remove the Otsego City Dam.

Those plans are part of ongoing efforts to clean up the 80-mile Allied Paper/Portage Creek/Kalamazoo River Superfund site, which has been listed on the agency’s National Priorities List since August 1990.

The EPA’s main concern is PCBs leftover from industrial processes at paper mills that began operating along the river in the 1950s. Remedial Project Manager James Saric said the agency’s initial goal is to make it safe for someone to eat two smallmouth bass a month by reducing PCBs.

Kalamazoo River Protection Association President Dayle Harrison said he believes the agency’s efforts could be better spent at a different location with more contamination downstream.

Kalamazoo River Watershed Council Vice President Kenneth Kornheiser said he spends dozens of afternoons each year on the river as an avid paddler.

“The fish issue is one that’s really, really important,” he said. “Right now, probably this evening, there are some people fishing on the Kalamazoo River in this area where you should not eat the fish, and they are taking the fish home to eat and feed their families. The sooner that this is taken care of, the better.”


Information from: The Grand Rapids Press:MLive.com, http://www.mlive.com