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Re: E-M:/ Settlement with Dow - Citizens hope dioxin reductions will result



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Enviro-Mich message from "Pam Ortner" <ortpam@mediaone.net>
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Many thanks to Tracey, Diane and Terry and all the others who have worked on
this.
Great work!

Pam Ortner

----- Original Message -----
From: "Tracey Easthope" <tracey@ecocenter.org>
To: <enviro-mich@great-lakes.net>
Sent: Wednesday, February 20, 2002 1:45 PM
Subject: E-M:/ Settlement with Dow - Citizens hope dioxin reductions will
result


> -------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Enviro-Mich message from Tracey Easthope <tracey@ecocenter.org>
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------
>
> Press Release
>
> February 20, 2002
> Contact:
> Terry Miller 989-6867-6386
> Diane Hebert 989-832-1694
>
>
> CITIZENS ANNOUNCE SETTLEMENT WITH DOW CHEMICAL IN HOPES OF REDUCING
> DIOXIN CONTAMINATION
>
> (February 20, 2002- Midland, MI.)  Citizen groups and Dow Chemical
> Company have reached an agreement growing out of a 1995 Clean Water
> Act lawsuit brought by PIRGIM to address deficiencies in Dow's
> wastewater treatment system.  The agreement requires Dow to take
> actions that will reduce the threat posed by thousands of tons of
> dioxin-contaminated wastes presently held in Dow's wastewater
> treatment ponds, reduce Dow's airborne emissions of dioxin to the
> Midland community, and increase awareness among Dow employees of the
> hazards of dioxin.
>
> "We think the agreement reached represents real progress towards a
> dioxin education for Dow Chemical," said Diane Hebert, Director of
> Environmental Health Watch and a Midland resident.
>
>   The agreement comes on the heels of emerging information that
> flooding of Dow's site in previous years may have washed highly
> contaminated dioxin sediments throughout the watershed.  "Its clear
> from recent revelations that this agreement is timely and desperately
> needed," said Terry Miller of Lone Tree Council.
>
> The MDEQ is holding a permit hearing today to take public comment on
> Dow's request for a variance from hazardous waste rules that would
> allow the company to place the dioxin wastes into an onsite hazardous
> waste landfill rather than burning the wastes in one of its
> incinerators. The wastes represent a flooding hazard if they are not
> removed from storage in Dow's wastewater treatment ponds.  One of the
> conditions of the citizen group agreement with Dow is a set of
> safeguards designed to minimize the risk of offsite contamination
> during the landfilling process.
>
> "Citizen involvement has made this variance proposal much stronger
> and more protective of community health than it would have been
> without strong community oversight," continued Hebert.
>
> Part of the agreement modifies a 1997 United States District Court
> consent decree in the Clean Water Act case requiring Dow to
> substantially upgrade its wastewater treatment system and remove and
> safely dispose of the dioxin-contaminated wastes held in its
> treatment ponds.  Representatives of PIRGIM, Environmental Health
> Watch, Lone Tree Council, and the Ecology Center met with Dow
> representatives to evaluate the possibility of using alternative
> treatment technologies to dispose of these wastes that would pose
> less risk to human health and the environment than incineration.
> Although the use of such alternatives was deemed infeasible given the
> urgent timeline of this project, Dow agreed to continue to test the
> feasibility of alternative techno0logies for future
> remediation projects.
>
> The agreement reached requires Dow to:
>
> (1) implement a set of safeguards designed to ensure that landfilling
> of the wastes does not pose a hazard to the surrounding community;
> (2) make a public commintment to shut down one of its hazardous waste
> incinerators, and to reduce its overall incineration of hazardous
> wastes; (3) make a substantial commitment of resources and expertise
> toward the development of  innovative alternative remediation
> technologies for dioxin-contaminated wastes; and (4) take concrete
> steps to educate its employees about the health risks posed by
> dioxins; this includes jointly producing a video with community
> activists on the hazards of dioxin, to be shown to Dow employees, and
> arranging for a briefing of senior management on dioxin's hazards.
>
>   "We hope this will be the first of many actions by Dow to begin to
> address historical contamination and realign priorities to reduce and
> eventually eliminate dioxin-generating activities," said Tracey
> Easthope, MPH, of the Ecology Center.  "It is long overdue."
>
>
> -30-
>
>
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