Public suggestions sought for cleanup
EAGLE RIVER — The brownfield cleanup project is progressing at the former Calumet Air Force radar base, Ray Chase of the Keweenaw County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority told the Keweenaw County Board recently.
“As you know, we have contractors up at the air base doing drilling right now in preparation for water testing,” he said.
Chase said it was his understanding that while the plans did not necessarily call for 100 test well sites, more than 100 tests will be made at different levels of the wells.
“They expect to be done with the drilling by the end of this month,” Chase said. “Then they’ll spend the rest of the summer testing, and we should have a report sometime toward the end of the summer, with a draft of an outline of what they intend to do to clean up any problems they do find.”
Chase said the next phase through the redevelopment authority will be to try to get an assessment of asbestos and lead-based paint at the former base.
“I am making contact with someone from Michigan DEQ (Department of Environmental Quality) who is an expert in that field,” Chase said, “and we believe we’re going to be able to get them up here to get that assessment for us. And based on what we’re going to find in that assessment, we’re going to go back to the Air Force and push them a little more than just groundwater cleanup.”
Chase said another topic discussed at the Brownfield meeting was an effort in conjunction with the Western Upper Peninsula Planning and Development Region (WUPPDR) to identify sites throughout the county and the U.P. that might be blighted.
“They want to create a list of these properties so that when money becomes available to clean them up,” he said, “they will be on that list, and there is a good possibility, evidently, that through WUPPDR’s efforts there will be money available sometime in the near future.”
Chase said a property in question would not necessarily have to be contaminated to qualify for cleanup funding.
“It could be just an issue with a house that needs to be torn down, or a vacant lot that’s full of trash, or whatever,” he said.
Chase said anyone wanting to place a property on the list can stop by at the courthouse in Eagle River to obtain a form.
“You don’t have to be the property owner,” he said. “It can be something that you see driving around. Fill those forms out and get them back to (the Brownfield Redevelopment Authority) and to WUPPDR.”