Deer Lake in Ishpeming has been known to be contaminated with mercury since at least the 1980s.
The EPA calls it an area of concern, but the city has just been awarded millions of dollars in grant money to clean it up.
Partridge Creek is one of the tributaries that flows into Deer Lake.
It runs underneath the city through abandoned mine shafts that are contaminated with mercury.
The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has just awarded the city $6 million in grants.
The money will be used to remove the creek from the old mine works, diverting the water into the city’s storm sewer system.
It’ll then rejoin Carp Creek and will flow into the lake from there.
Ishpeming’s mayor used to fish in deer lake when he was younger.
Mayor Pat Scanlon says it’ll be great to have the lake back to a position where fish from the lake can be eaten again — any fish that are caught currently have to be released.
The diversion project is already underway — the city received a $2 million Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grant two years ago to pay for Phase 1, and that phase should wrap up in September.
The grant money announced today is for Phase 2 of the work.
Michigan DEQ Office of the Great Lakes director Patricia Birkholz says this is a partnership between the city, the state and the EPA — she congratulates Ishpeming residents for believing in the project enough to pay a millage to support it.
The project will even support dozens of jobs.
Dr. Susan Hedman, Region 5 director for the EPA, says 25 to 30 people are working on the diversion now in Phase 1 and there will be more during Phase 2.
The restoration work should be completed sometime next year.
Posted by: Mike Hoey