This Kalamazoo Tombstone is Nowhere Near a Cemetery, Here’s Why
Walk along a chainlink fence in Kalamazoo, and you might be surprised to encounter a tombstone that's nowhere near a cemetery.
But really it is a cemetery of sorts - a large tombstone marks the boundary of the "Allied Paper-Portage Creek-Kalamazoo River Superfund Site" and the one pictured above can be seen along King Highway near the Kalamazoo city limits.
There are a few more of these ominous markers. Another one can be seen near the Kalamazoo County Expo Center near the Lake Street curve.
The Superfund site is regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency and
is located in Allegan and Kalamazoo Counties, Michigan. The site includes soil and sediments contaminated by a group of chemicals called polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in 80 miles of the Kalamazoo River (from Morrow Dam to Lake Michigan), paper mill properties, riverbanks and floodplains, and a 3-mile stretch of Portage Creek. EPA has broken down the site into six segments, or operable units (OUs), that require cleanup.
The gravestone reads, in part:
Buried Material contains PCBs
Unauthorized Access Prohibited
Chicago's Toxic Gravestone Warning Site
There are a few other famous places that are so toxic they are marked in stone to make a permanent warning. One of them is the site of an early nuclear reactor in Chicago. There is radioactive waste buried since the 1940s in a Park Preserve in Cook County. The stone carries the warning:
Caution - Do Not Dig
Buried in this area is radioactive material from nuclear research conducted here 1943-1949....There is no danger to visitors.