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E-M:/ EM: Saginaw River dredging



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Enviro-Mich message from Carrie Spencer <cspencer@concentric.net>
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I am the health/science reporter for The Saginaw News. I appreciate the
insights and resources on this list.

Since the GM/Saginaw/Bay City settlement is one of the largest natural
resources settlements of its kind (Russ Harding told me their research
turned up only the $2 billion Exxon Valdez cleanup as bigger; this is as
yet unverified), I'm seeking input of statewide/national groups.

Specifically, I'm seeking response on the Dec. 3 "Finding of No
Significant Impact" from the U.S. Corps of Engineers. 

The Corps will oversee the river dredging portion of the settlement.
They're storing the contaminated sediment on the Confined Disposal
Facility near the river's mouth. It will pile 10 feet deep in a 30-acre
spot on the northeast segment, where the report says wave action is
strongest.

Briefly, the Corps' report says the benefit of removing the PCBs from
the water column outweighs the insignificant risks of disposal on the
island. It says rock and plastic filters, as well as measures taken by
the contractor, will keep contamination from hitting the bay. They also
say it's no risk to the birds that nest on the island. Therefore, the
Corps will not conduct a full Environmental Impact study.

Since the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service chose the island, and the EPA
said the waste does not qualify as hazardous, does anyone in the
environemental/ecological community object? Or is this really the best
option, given that the FWS determined that heat treatment was too
expensive? Are there any worries about the 100- or 1,000-year stability
of this island, or what the cottonwoods growing on it do to the liner? 

I'd appreciate the input of an ecologist, geologist, wildlife biologist
or the like, or of a group like Clean Water Action, etc.

The report originated from the Corps' Detroit office. I'll send you the
address to get a copy if needed.

If you don't want to post to the list, you may respond to my home
e-mail: cspencer@concentric.net, or call during business hours, (517)
776-9682.

Thanks,
Carrie Spencer
The Saginaw News

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