White Lake Area of Concern, MI
Tannery Bay Sediment, White Lake, MI
White Lake, Michigan, is a 2,571 acre drowned river mouth lake, that is directly connected to Lake Michigan by a navigation channel. The lake is part of the White River watershed, which has a drainage basin of 139,279 hectares (2,634 square miles). White Lake has a long history of environmental issues related to water quality and the discharge of toxic materials. Tannery waste from Whitehall Leather was discharged directly into White Lake from 1890-1973. Effluents from Hooker Chemical's (now Occidental Chemical) chloralkali and pesticide production were discharged from the 1950-1986. Chlorinated organic chemicals from DuPont and Muskegon Chemical (now Koch Chemical) have also entered White Lake through groundwater and surface water discharges. As a result, degraded conditions were observed in much of the lake, as well as high sediment concentrations of heavy metals and pesticide related chemicals.
AWRI conducted a preliminary investigation of sediment contamination in eastern White Lake in 1996. A contaminated sediment assessment of the entire lake was conducted in 2003. The Environmental Protection Agency's Great Lakes National Program Office provided funding for the investigations. Based on the results of these projects, contaminated sediments in the discharge zones of the Whitehall Leather and Occidental Chemical were removed in 2005.