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35 years later, Muskegon Lake cleanup efforts complete

Muskegon Lake was listed as an area of concern in 1987. While cleanup is complete, the water quality will be monitored before hopefully delisting the lake.

MUSKEGON, Mich. — After nearly 40 years, clean up and restoration work is now complete at Muskegon Lake

The lake was polluted by heavy industry for years and was placed on the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) "areas of concern" list in 1987, with cleanup efforts beginning soon after.

Muskegon community leaders were joined by the EPA and other officials Tuesday to announce that every action item on the cleanup list has been checked off. 

"The heavy lifting of cleanup and restoration has been done. Now, it's incumbent upon on our community to continue heeding the lessons of our past," said Muskegon Mayor Ken Johnson. "Cherish the Muskegon Lake watershed, protect its ecosystems."

Experts will continue to monitor the water over the next 10 years to ensure the water quality is improving before it's taken off the area of concern list. 

In total, the restoration of Muskegon Lake took about $70 million and 35 years to complete. Part of that funding came from $1 billion in funding to clean up the Great Lakes as part of the Infrastructure and Jobs Act, which was signed by President Joe Biden in 2021. 

With the cleanup completed, officials hope to delist Muskegon Lake from the areas of concern list by 2023.

“We know that removing legacy pollution from the Great Lakes is an investment in the economy, in public health and in our future,” said EPA Regional Administrator Debra Shore. “Thanks to the funding provided in President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, EPA will be able to accelerate large-scale remediation and restoration work in other Great Lakes Areas of Concern.”

For more information on Muskegon Lake, click here.

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