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Radiation gone, but contamination cleanup at Harbor Shores golf course continues

Tonight the Environmental Protection Agency will host a public meeting in Benton Harbor. The federal agency wants to update the community on its efforts to clean up a 17 acre site that’s now part of the Harbor Shores golf course.

Nefertiti DiCosmo is the remedial project manager of the site, known as the former Aircraft Components site, for the EPA. She says they want to get public feedback and provide an update on the EPA’s work.

“Some people have felt that the EPA has not been giving information out and we think the problem is that we don’t really know what the best way to get that information out is,” DiCosmo said.

DiCosmo says they’ve been meeting privately with community groups to improve that communication.

The worst contamination was radiation from aircraft parts from World War II. The site has had many uses; a manufacturing plant, a warehouse, and a place for illegal dumping. The EPA began cleanup in 1997. It’ll take another fifty years to clean up the chloride-based-solvents that continue to pollute the groundwater there.

You can find a history of the cleanup efforts here.

“We have made some progress and want to let people know that we’re still out here and we still care about the clean up in this area and we want people to be involved,” DiCosma said.

The feedback will help shape the EPA’s “community involvement plant” for the site. The meeting is at the Business Growth Center in Benton Harbor at 6:30 p.m. You can find more information about the meeting here.

Lindsey Smith is a Peabody Award-winning journalist currently leading the station's Amplify Team. She previously served as Michigan Public's Morning News Editor, Investigative Reporter and West Michigan Reporter.