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Muskegon Lake could soon be removed from the EPA's Great Lakes Areas of Concern list

NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory
Sunrise on the Muskegon Lake channel, June 2013.

Muskegon Lake is one step closer to being removed from the Environmental Protection Agency’s list of Great Lakes Areas of Concern.

Muskegon Lake and its tributaries were once the dumping ground for area industry. Its waters polluted with oils, mercury, lead and heavy metals. In 1987, the Environmental Protection Agency designated it a Great Lakes Area of Concern. It then began the process of remediation and restoration detailing a Muskegon Lake Areas of Concern. That included the lake itself, Ruddiman Creek, Ryerson Creek, Four Mile Creek, Bear Creek, Bear Lake and branches of the Muskegon River.

The federal government, through the EPA, along with state and local partners invested $70 million over the past decade removing contaminated sediment and restoring surrounding habitat.

Wednesday, leaders from the EPA, the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration along with state officials and Michigan U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow and U.S. Rep. Bill Huizenga celebrated the completion of cleanup efforts.

The lake will be monitored, and once it meets cleanup criteria will be removed from the Areas of Concern list.