Great Lakes Environmental Directory Great Lakes Great Lakes environment Great Lakes grants exotic species water pollution water export drilling environment Great Lakes pollution Superior Michigan Huron Erie Ontario ecology Great Lakes issues wetlands Great Lakes wetlands Great Lakes Great Lakes environment Great Lakes watershed water quality exotic species Great Lakes grants water pollution water export oil gas drilling environment environmental Great Lakes pollution Lake Superior Lake Michigan Lake Huron Lake Erie Lake Ontario Great Lakes ecology Great Lakes issues Great Lakes wetlands Great Lakes Resources Great Lakes activist Great Lakes environmental organizations Great Lakes Aquatic Habitat air pollution alien species threatened rare endangered species ecological Great Lakes information Success Stories Great Lakes Directory Home/News Great Lakes Calendar Great Lakes jobs/volunteering Search Great Lakes Organizations Take Action! Contact Us Resources/Links Great Lakes Issues Great Lakes News Article About Us Networking Services

Great Lakes Article:

G-P, NCR to fund Fox River cleanup blueprint
By Peter Rebhahn
Green Bay Press Gazette

Two paper companies have agreed to do the design and engineering work required to begin cleaning harmful PCBs from the most polluted stretch of the Fox River.

"It’s nice to get over another hurdle," said Greg Hill, Fox River cleanup implementation coordinator for the state Department of Natural Resources.

The agreement between Georgia-Pacific Corp. and NCR Corp. and the DNR and the federal Environmental Protection Agency was announced Thursday. It is an important milepost in decades-long cleanup talks, and signals that neither company intends a legal challenge of the final cleanup contained in two orders issued by the agencies last year.

Combined, the two orders directed seven responsible paper companies to remove or render harmless an estimated 64,000 pounds of PCBs contained in 7.2 million cubic yards of river sediment from Little Lake Butte des Morts, near Menasha, to the bay of Green Bay at an estimated cost of $400 million.

PCBs, or polychlorinated biphenyls, are manufactured chemicals once used in the production of carbonless paper. Suspected of causing cancer, PCBs were banned by the federal government in 1976.

The agreement allocates $6.5 million to pay for a study needed to determine exactly how the job will be accomplished in the portion of the cleanup downstream from Little Lake Butte des Morts to the bay - a figure Hill said will probably fall short of the full tab.

"We really don’t care what the price is," Hill said. "They’ve signed up to do the design no matter what the cost is."

The $6.5 million will come from a $40 million agreement between NCR, the former Appleton Papers and the agencies announced in 2001. Georgia-Pacific and NCR will pay costs over the $6.5 million.

"We think the agreement is an excellent example of what we can do when we cooperate with partners like the EPA, DNR and NCR," said Mary Jo Malach, Green Bay-based spokeswoman for Georgia-Pacific.

The agreement means that field work will begin this summer on the river.

"We had hoped there was going to be a faster progression through these stages," said Rebecca Katers, who directs the Green Bay-based Clean Water Action Council of Northeast Wisconsin.

Hill said the companies voluntarily approached regulators about an agreement last October, a few weeks after the agencies mailed a request for action to the companies in the wake of release of the final cleanup orders.

The agencies and the companies have been in negotiations ever since, Hill said. Katers expressed frustration with the pace of the cleanup.

"They could have started this a long time ago," Katers said. "It just seems as though they’re not treating this as the public health emergency that it really is."

"The agreement drew fire from the Sierra Club for heavy use of the term "contingent remedies" - a euphemism for capping contaminated sediments with sand instead of removing them from the river.

"The order is dangerously watered down with the discussions of capping, so-called ‘contingent remedies,’ that the agencies have already determined won’t protect our communities," said Jennifer Feyerherm, a toxics specialist for the Sierra Club’s Great Lakes Program.

The DNR and EPA have indicated they believe that removing PCB-contaminated sediments is the best way to clean the river, but have left the door open to some capping.

Hill said the agencies hope to have the design for a cleanup of the river between Little Lake Butte des Morts and the bay by the end of 2005. The agencies’ cleanup timeline allotted two to three years for design and a decade for the cleanup itself.

"By these companies stepping forward we have a lock on meeting the first part of it - design in two to three years," Hill said

This information is posted for nonprofit educational purposes, in accordance with U.S. Code Title 17, Chapter 1,Sec. 107 copyright laws.
For more information go to: If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for
purposes of your own that go beyond "fair use," you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Great Lakes environmental information

Return to Great Lakes Directory Home/ Site Map