‘Death Knell’: Removing hazardous waste will force Lake Linden park to close

Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette Lake Linden Clerk Bob Poirier discusses recent Environmental Protection Agency sediment testing with the Lake Linden Village Council at its meeting Thursday.

LAKE LINDEN — A proposed Environmental Protection Agency plan to clean up hazardous sediment in the bay near Lake Linden’s park and campground could be a “death knell” for the recreation area in the short term, Clerk Bob Poirier said at Thursday’s Village Council meeting.

Poirier met with representatives from the EPA and Department of Environmental Quality Tuesday, who informed him of sediment test results showing elevated metals at the bay between the beach and upper area of the village park. The result was classified as “hazardous waste-level contamination.”

Poirier said the scope of the proposed work was described as a “huge, invisible multi-year cleanup.”

“I told them, I’m not doubting the fact that it needs to be done,” he said. “Obviously they’ve been doing this for quite a while and doing a lot of testing in there. But it’s a death knell for our recreation area.”

The area was previously the site of an EPA cleanup in 2007. EPA’s proposed project would be centered on two areas: a storm sewer outlet that comes out between the beach and park, and the remainder of the bay between the beach and marina.

“There’s going to be a massive cleanup of the sediment in that area,” Poirier said. “Some of the test areas are right out in the bay, in the deepest water there. But it’s not going to be a small project. It’s not going to be a one-year project.”

EPA planned to meet with Honeywell, the owner of the land, which was also involved in the Calumet & Hecla Co. power house cleanup outside the village several years ago, Poirier said.

It was unclear whether or not the village would officially have to close its park and campground for the duration of work, Poirier said. Nevertheless, he predicted it would be a “death knell” for a few years.

“If there’s, as he says, a ‘huge, invisible, multi-year, toxic waste cleanup’ adjacent to our beach and campground area, it’s not a great brochure cover,” he said.

This looks to be larger than the project at the former power house, which took the better part of two seasons, Poirier said.

No schedule for the project has been determined yet. Kelly told Poirier negotiations with Honeywell would take place in July or August. In the short term, the EPA will send Poirier some draft language for signage near the storm sewer. The EPA may also recommend physical fencing around the area.

Poirier said the EPA was amenable to finding the most convenient time of year in which to do the work.

Poirier stressed the testing was done on sediments and did not cover water. The Health Departments tests water at the beach and campground each week and has not found an issue, he said.

The park and campground generates about $35,000 to $50,000 in revenue a year.

, about 10 percent of the village’s budget, Poirier said. He said the village would seek reimbursement.

“We didn’t put the stuff there,” he said. “I understand we’re in a bad spot, and it’s where the stuff is.”