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Lansing – State technicians have begun testing soils in a southwestern Michigan community for pollution from paper mill waste.

The Otsego Study Area in Allegan County includes areas where paper sludge and fly ash from the Menasha Corp.’s Otsego paper mill operation were applied to the land. In other locations, a waste product from the papermaking process known as “black liquor” was spread on county roads to suppress dust.

Samples will be taken and analyzed for toxic chemicals known as perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, as well as dioxins and furans.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality says the operation will last several weeks.

After laboratory results are analyzed, state agencies will convene a public meeting to announce the results.

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