Clean-up slated for former mining site

Source:, November 4, 2011
By: Garrett Neese

Over the next year-and-a-half, crews will be removing asbestos and contaminated soil from the former Calumet & Hecla Mining Power Plant in Lake Linden.

The contamination, which includes heavy metals such as lead, arsenic and copper, dates back to the mining days. Honeywell, Inc., the current owner of the building, will pay for and conduct the work, which will be overseen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The Michigan Department of Community Health referred the site to the EPA.

The work is separate from other EPA Superfund activity in the Keweenaw.

“The neat thing about this project is it’s completely different from anything else that’s happened up there,” said Dave Novak, community involvement coordinator with the EPA in Chicago. “(There is) No connection to Torch Lake or (the) Quincy Smelter. It stands on its own merits.”

The project will continue through March 2013. Early work began last week, including surveying the property, establishing limits and marking where a fence should go.

“That should be either being bid this week, or construction of the fence will begin this week,” he said.

A more detailed timeline won’t be available until a work plan is approved, Novak said.

“Obviously, weather is a big factor, and we’re coming into the winter season up there, which doesn’t favor construction of any kind,” he said. “The fence, however, is the prime concern right now, because you have the asbestos and the heavy metals, site security to keep people out.”

A construction office will be located near the site, along with a site information board with information on the project and its status.

Sometime in early 2012, the EPA will hold a public meeting about the site; residents will receive a notice and a fact sheet about the project. Site documents will also be available at the Lake Linden-Hubbell Public Library and the Portage Lake District Library in Houghton.

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