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EPA and city of Midland, Mich., agree on dioxin sampling information


U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the city of Midland, Mich., have reached consensus on the dioxin information that the city will provide the Agency. The city will submit the sampling protocol and spatial distribution of data points without identifying specific property locations or property owners.

In a letter last week to EPA, the city thanked the Agency for cooperating on a solution that “respects the anonymity that was promised to property owners who allowed sampling on their property.”

“The city of Midland committed to a reasonable schedule for submitting information over the next month,” said Ralph Dollhopf, associate director of EPA’s Superfund Division. “It’s clear that the city and EPA both share a common goal of protecting the health of Midland residents without unnecessarily compromising their privacy. The sampling details should help EPA in evaluating the levels of dioxin in soils in Midland and allow us to better assess any potential risks.”

In 2006 and 2007 as part of a study funded by Dow Chemical Co., 199 soil samples were taken at 139 sites in Midland. Data on soil samples was obscured by a double blind system for which the city held the key. On Aug. 31, EPA sent an information request to the city and two other entities to provide the sample results.

EPA’s information request is part of a larger investigation of dioxin contamination in the Midland area. In mid-August, EPA issued two requests to Dow seeking information about its dioxin sampling at its facility and elsewhere. EPA is also seeking extensive data on numerous other hazardous waste materials produced at the Dow Midland plant.

As a result of EPA orders in late June, Dow is cleaning up three dioxin hot spots in the Tittabawassee River. EPA expects the cleanups to be completed by the end of the year, which will set the stage for additional work downriver.

The Dow facility is a 1,900-acre chemical manufacturing plant located in Midland. Dioxins and furans were byproducts from the manufacture of chlorine-based products. Past waste disposal practices, fugitive emissions and incineration at Dow have resulted in on- and off-site dioxin and furan contamination.


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