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EPA, Dow reach agreement for dioxin cleanup


U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 has reached agreement with Dow Chemical Co. to clean up three dioxin-contaminated hot spots on the Tittabawassee River downstream of its Midland, Mich., facility. On June 27 EPA required that terms of three administrative consent orders for the cleanup be finalized before Friday, July 13.

“This settlement puts Dow on track to get priority work in these areas completed this year and sets the stage for additional cleanup downriver,” said EPA Region 5 Administrator Mary A. Gade. “This cleanup will make Michigan a safer, healthier place to live.”

The EPA-ordered corrective action will include three segments, called reaches, of the river between Imerman Park in Saginaw Township and Midland’s Tridge:

Reach D includes a discharge channel containing approximately 15,000 cubic yards of dioxin-contaminated sediment. The channel goes upstream from the Dow Dam on plant property and is bounded by old sheet piling along the northeast and east banks of the Tittabawassee River. Dow had historically used this channel to dispose of dioxin-contaminated wastes. Dow will isolate this area from the river and remove the dioxin-contaminated sediment.
Reach J-K is located 3.6 miles downstream of the confluence of the Chippewa and Tittabawassee Rivers. The corrective action will address contamination on the levee adjacent to the riverbank and in the flood plain terraces, including wetlands subject to sediment deposition during floods. Dow will remove approximately 32,000 cubic yards of levee deposits, the riverbank will be stabilized, sediment deposits removed and disposed of and bank areas will be revegetated with native plants. In addition, an area of dioxin-contaminated soil in the floodplain will be capped and a wooded wetland area will be fenced off as an interim measure.
Reach O is a sediment deposit about 6 miles downstream of the confluence of the Chippewa and Tittabawassee Rivers. It is adjacent to property owned by Dow. Dow will isolate this area from the river and remove approximately 7,000 cubic yards of sediment.

The Dow facility is a 1,900-acre chemical manufacturing plant located in Midland, Mich. All of the contaminated sediment removed during the cleanup will be disposed of in the Salzburg Road Landfill, a hazardous-waste landfill located on the Dow property.

Past waste disposal practices, fugitive emissions and incineration at Dow have resulted in on- and off-site contamination. Dioxins and furans, chlorobenzenes, heavy metals and other materials were byproducts from the manufacture of chlorine-based products and other chemicals.

Dioxins are a family of chemicals that have been linked to some forms of cancer, reproductive problems and weakened immune systems.


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