MUSKEGON — The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) announced an agreement earlier this week with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and TDY Industries LLC to remove contaminated sediments near Ryerson Creek within the Muskegon Lake watershed, bringing the lake one step closer to being delisted as an Area of Concern (AOC). The $6.6 million project includes $4.3 million from the EPA and $1 million from EGLE, with the remaining funds provided by TDY Industries and Muskegon County. State Rep. Terry Sabo (D-Muskegon) welcomed the news, noting that this cooperation demonstrates that state, federal and industry partnerships are very effective ways to address environmental issues.

“This project represents an important step forward in restoring the ecosystem of Muskegon Lake,” Sabo said. “Much of this funding is available through the Clean Michigan Initiative Bonds passed by taxpayers. The people voted to make environmental cleanup a priority, and I’m happy to see the state honoring that decision.”

Muskegon Lake has been designated as an AOC since 1987 due to environmental problems associated with urban runoff and contamination from sawmills and other industries. The remediation of contaminated sediments at Ryerson Creek represents the final sediment cleanup project within the Muskegon Lake AOC and the culmination of nearly 15 years of work. With the project expected to begin in 2020, approximately 16,000 cubic yards of heavy metal and polyaromatic hydrocarbon contaminated sediments will be removed and wetlands along the shoreline will be restored.