Superfund Program Essay

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1. Define the Superfund Program The federal government’s program to locate and investigate and clean up the worst uncontrolled and abandoned toxic waste sites nationwide; administered by the EPA - Environmental Protection Agency. 2. Identify a Superfund site within your own state. There are a lot of sites in the state of Michigan. The Superfund site that is closest to where I live is the Torch Lake site in Houghton County, Upper Michigan. EPA ID#MID980901946. 3. Give some background information on the site and the proposed plans to deal with the contamination. A. Where is the problem? The Torch Lake Superfund site is comprised of several areas ranging in size from approximately 10 acres to over 200 acres in size. The areas are located around the Keweenaw Peninsula, Upper Peninsula, Michigan. The area is mostly forested with numerous lakes. There is some industry in the area, but the primary business and commerce in the area today centers around recreation and tourism. B. What is the contamination? The site's primary threat is its impact on the ecosystem. The most significant ecological impact is the severe degradation of the benthic (bottom dwelling) organisms in Torch Lake and other area water bodies, as a result of the metal loadings from the mine wastes. The Michigan Department of Public Health issued a fish consumption advisory for Torch Lake due to the presence of PCBs and mercury in fish tissue; but there is no information indicating that this fish contamination is specifically related to the Torch Lake Superfund site. C. Who created this problem? Why? The Torch Lake site is located on the Keweenaw Peninsula in Houghton County, Michigan. Copper mining activities in the area from the 1890s until 1969 produced mill tailings (called stamp sands) that contaminated the lake sediments and shoreline. This site is being addressed

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