Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Awful, Horrible, No Good EPA Cleaning Up a Century of Industrial Sludge from Muskegon Lake

There's a barge out in the middle of Muskegon Lake filled with sand. I was down that way on Friday when I took my boy to the candy store after school, telling him he could get $2 worth of candy. After a half hour of dithering he eventually settled on a gummi pizza, a jelly fruit slice (lemon) and Superman ice cream of the Hudsonville, MI brand. I can't exactly describe the flavor of Superman ice cream. It's more of a color than a flavor.

Anyway...just behind the candy store is a marina with the dock for the Lake Express cross lake ferry, and just beyond that is Muskegon Lake. And in Muskegon Lake...a barge, filled with sand.


It took me a bit to figure it out....after a century and a half of industrial dumping in our beautiful lake, the Federal government is investing 12 million dollars to clean it up, courtesy of the Environmental Protection Agency. Keep in mind, if our conservative brethren have their way, West Michigan Congressman Bill Huizenga included, we'd be leaving this lake polluted and we'd be helpless to stop more industry from dumping more nasty stuff into it.

This is going to be awesome for the health of people living here, for the wildlife and for the safe edibility of the fish we pull out of there. And it's going to be a great thing for Muskegon's tourism.

Federal and state environmental agencies have approved a $12 million Great Lakes Legacy Act cleanup of contaminated sediment at Muskegon Lake’s Division Street Outfall area starting in May.

The initial focus of the Muskegon Lake project involves the dredging and safe disposal of 41,000 cubic yards of contaminated sediment from the bottom of the lake between Heritage Landing and Hartshorn Marina.

Much of this sediment contains elevated levels of mercury and polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons.

The project also includes placement of a 6- to 12-inch sand cover over 120,000 cubic yards of sediment with lower levels of contamination. Workers will also restore shoreline habitat, providing improved ecological conditions for fish and other aquatic life.

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