Thursday, May 12, 2016

DEQ Abandoned Mining Wastes team to hold Open House May 17 in Lake Linden

From DEQ Spring 2016 Newsletter by Amy Keranen

This photo shows the run-off from contaminated property in the Hubbell Processing Area into Torch Lake. The Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Abandoned Mining Wastes (AMW) - Torch Lake project team is studying contamination in this area in order to plan remediation. (Photo courtesy Amy Keranen, Michigan DEQ Remediation and Redevelopment Division)

LAKE LINDEN -- The Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Abandoned Mining Wastes (AMW) - Torch Lake project team will host another project Open House from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, May 17, at the Lake Linden-Hubbell High School Auditorium.

The AMW project team involved in the planning, field work, and reporting for the project will be on hand to share their findings with the community. The DEQ sampling crew who conducted on-land and in-lake investigative activities will be there with some of their equipment and pictures and videos of their findings. Maps and other photos will be on display to illustrate where the team conducted their work and what they found.

This photo shows an example of near shore and buried drums along the Torch Lake shoreline in the Hubbell Processing Area. (Photo courtesy Amy Keranen, Michigan DEQ Remediation and Redevelopment Division)

The last Open House on the AMW project was held in May 2015.*

"We received good feed back from the attendees that the opportunity to come meet with us and to talk about the project was appreciated," said Amy Keranen, DEQ project manager for the AMW - Torch Lake project.

Amy Keranen, DEQ project manager for the AMW - Torch Lake project, speaks with visitors during the May 2015 Open House on the Abandoned Mining Wastes Project. (Keweenaw Now file photo)

It will again be an informal open house, providing visitors with the opportunity to drop in to meet the project team and to get their questions answered.

2016 Field Work Plan

In her Spring 2016 Newsletter, Keranen lists the AMW team's plans for 2016 field work, beginning this month, as follows:
  • Preparing a Limited Feasibility Study and conducting pre-design studies to support remediation of the CHLL (C and H Lake Linden) Hubbell Processing Area (the former Coal Dock and Mineral Building properties) pertaining to PCB-containing materials, asbestos-containing building materials (ACBM), waste piles, drums and soil erosion prevention. Until conditions at the site can be improved, the public should avoid accessing this private property without taking appropriate precautions.
This map shows Torch Lake and several sites of abandoned mine waste in the Lake Linden and Hubbell areas. The Hubbell Processing Area (just below the Lake Linden Processing Area on the map) is a highly contaminated site now being studied by the DEQ's AMW team. (Map courtesy Weston Solutions of Michigan, Inc.)
  • Conducting geophysical investigations of suspected buried waste in the CHTC (C and H Tamarack City) area (to determine the extent of waste buried in the stampsands).
  • Developing plans to address an old dump area with ACBM n the CHTC area.
  • Conducting additional underwater camera work in the CHLL Hubbell Processing Area; and, 
  • Conducting in-lake side-scan sonar investigations in the "Quincy-Mason" area of the AMW project, in advance of the team's on-land investigation anticipated in 2017.
This photo shows evidence of the erosion path entering Torch Lake at the Hubbell Processing Area. (Photo courtesy Amy Keranen, Michigan DEQ Remediation and Redevelopment Division)
The EPA Emergency Response Branch is working on asbestos issues at the former Calumet Stampmill.

Reports on AMW Project

The reports of our the AMW team's work in the Lake Linden and Tamarack City Operations Areas of the Abandoned Mining Wastes project have been finalized and are available in a set of 2 CDs at the Lake Linden Public Library (in the basement of the Lake Linden High School). Copies have also been distributed to the Torch Lake Area of Concern Public Action Council (PAC) -- a group representing local stakeholders with the federal and state agencies working at the Torch Lake Area of Concern (AOC) and Superfund site. According to Keranen, the DEQ is in the process of making a website for the project where these reports will be posted.

Eat Safe Fish Workshop June 1

An "Eat Safe Fish Workshop" will be held from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 1, in the Lake Linden High School Auditorium. Staff from various State agencies will be providing information to the public about how to "Eat Safe Fish" from Torch Lake. They will be sharing what the current recommendations are and what is causing the fish consumption advisory in Torch Lake. Information about local interest in creating a watershed management plan will also be discussed. Staff will be available to meet with the public starting at 5 p.m., with a presentation of information from 6:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m.

The workshop is sponsored by Fisheries Division of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), the DEQ Office of the Great Lakes, and the DEQ Water Resource Division.

* Read about the 2015 Open House in Keweenaw Now's Feb. 9, 2016, article, "Torch Lake Watershed Project Public Meeting to be Feb. 10; DEQ, Michigan Tech researchers present findings on PCBs, more ..."

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