By CELESTE BOTT
Capital News Service
LANSING — Deer Lake in Ishpeming, classified as a major international toxic hot spot since 1987, may get a clean bill of health this year after decades of costly cleanup. Environmental officials and residents of Marquette County are awaiting U.S. State Department action on Michigan’s recommendation to remove the lake from the list of Areas of Concern – AOCs – established by the International Joint Commission, a U.S.-Canadian advisory group. Deer Lake was designated as an AOC in 1987. “At this point I do not have any information as to when the U.S. State Department will approve the delisting of the Deer Lake AOC, but hopefully by the end of October this will happen,” said Stephanie Swart, Deer Lake’s area of concern coordinator at the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). DEQ and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency “will be hosting a celebration up in Ishpeming when we get the word,” Swart said.