Cleaning Up Sediment Buildup In The Kalamazoo River
STS Hydropower executives say they are meeting a request from the State of Michigan and beginning cleanup of the Kalamazoo River today.
StS owns the hydroelectric power plant along the river near Comstock. When the backup from the dam, Morrow Lake, had to be drawn down to make repairs to the dam, tons of sediment washed downriver. Many areas along the shoreline of the river well past Allegan were affected. The best estimates are that well over 100 thousand cubic yards of sediment washed down the river. Some fishing guides last spring and summer lost their business for the season. Many kayakers who are drawn to the river stayed away this past year due to the conditions. Sediment buildup in many areas has been easy to spot. But as of today, crews are beginning to remove sediment from an oxbow area next to a small park near Comstock. STS figures about 3,000 cubic yards of sediment settled into that area. It plans to remove it all. It may take up to 6 weeks for that work to be complete.
STS says it is working with several state and local agencies to figure out the best way to remove other large sediment deposits along the Kalamazoo River. A statement released by STS says so far, concerns about chemical contamination from the sediment getting past the dam are minimal.
“In December 2020, STS completed an investigation of the sediment deposits in the Kalamazoo.River downstream of the Morrow Lake Dam. The results of the Phase I Investigation indicated no chemicals of concern above human risk levels in the sediment deposits sampled. The results of this investigation have been shared with the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA).”