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Sediment cleanup expected in parts of Kalamazoo River

February 25, 2021 GMT

COMSTOCK TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — Cleanup is expected in parts of the Kalamazoo River in southwestern Michigan after a dam repair project allowed sediment to wash downstream.

Sediment that filled the river after water levels were lowered to replace the main spillway gates on Morrow Dam in Comstock Township have to be removed, WOOD-TV reported.

Michigan’s Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy told the owner in a letter that cleanup needs to start by March 1.

Settlement negotiations were underway with the dam’s owner and additional cleanup projects are expected, according to Kyle Alexander, state supervisor for the Kalamazoo District Water Resources Division.

“We know that in the first 7 or 8 miles (11 or 12 kilometers) downstream of the dam, there’s approximately 114,000 (to) 115,000 cubic yards (87,159 to 87,923 cubic meters) of sediment deposits,” Alexander said.

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Eagle Creek Renewable Energy, the company that owns the dam through its subsidiary STS Hydropower, will cover the cost of the initial cleanup project, which is estimated to take six weeks, according to the television station.

“STS is currently working with Michigan EGLE to identify and develop plans for additional sediment removal projects,” Jody Smet, Eagle Creek Renewable Energy’s regulatory affairs president wrote in an email to WOOD-TV. “STS currently expects these projects will commence later this year. The specific timeframe depends on a number of factors, including logistical considerations, weather and river flows, and the timing of obtaining necessary access agreements and regulatory approvals.”