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Dow Chemical to negotiate river cleanups


Dow Chemical today agreed to negotiate with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 on a settlement to conduct an investigation, a study and interim cleanup actions for dioxin contamination in the Tittabawassee River system.

The targeted area begins upstream of Dow’s Midland, Mich., facility and extends downstream to the Saginaw River, its floodplains and portions of Saginaw Bay in Lake Huron.

EPA called for negotiations under provisions of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, or Superfund. Superfund specifies the process in which a remedial investigation and feasibility study must be conducted, as well as the design and execution of a cleanup plan.

“Successful completion of this agreement would represent a new approach toward the goal of accelerated cleanup,” said Ralph Dollhopf, Associate Director for the Superfund Division of EPA’s Regional Office in Chicago.

Under a Superfund agreement, Dow’s expected investigation and study effort would be expected to evaluate the nature and extent of hazardous substances, pollutants or contaminants from the site and assess the risks they present to human health and the environment. It would also need to provide enough data to develop and evaluate a range of cleanup options.

With negotiations now set to proceed, Dow has until Dec. 10 to present EPA with a good faith offer demonstrating its willingness to conduct or finance an investigation and study of the site and design a cleanup plan. EPA may choose to extend negotiations until Jan. 9, 2008, if appropriate. EPA anticipates Michigan Department of Environmental Quality will participate in the negotiations and throughout the process.

Dow’s Midland facility is a 1,900-acre chemical manufacturing plant. Dioxins and furans are 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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