Sygo called the Bay City and GM plants "highly suspect" as generators of dioxins in previous years.
Sygo said samples taken in October of sediments and shoreline soil in the Saginaw River and Bay will be analyzed for both dioxins and dioxin fingerprints this year, to determine the source of the contaminants. The test results are expected this summer.
"When we get those results, we'll try to look at what the fingerprints look like, and compared that with what we've seen from Dow and see if it looks similar or not," Sygo said.
"If they look similar, I don't know if we'll go and do additional sampling."
But if there are dioxins that don't match Dow's fingerprint, additional sampling will need to be done to see if other sources can be identified, which might require additional on-shore sampling of sites including the Bay City and GM plants.
"Do we have data to suggest that (Dow has) contributed? Without a doubt," Sygo said.
"The question is, how much have others contributed, which would be their responsibility as well."
Lone Tree Council
Bay City, Michigan 48706
(Fighting for environmental justice since 1978)
CONTACT: Michelle Hurd Riddick (989)799-3313
Terry Miller (989) 686-6386
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MARCH 31, 2005
GROUP CONCERNED STATE MUDDIES WATER
DEQ Deputy Director says GM/City Data Unavailable to Support Dioxin in River
A Bay City Times story on March 27, 2005, has a local environmental group concerned that the state has muddied the water on sources of dioxin to the
and Bay. The story, quoting Jim Sygo, deputy director of the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), said that Saginaw River Bay City’s Wastewater Treatment Plant and the General Motor’s Powertrain plant may share blame with the Dow Chemical Company for dioxin contamination in the lower and Bay. Saginaw River
Since that story, the Lone Tree Council has learned through an e-mail from Mr. Sygo that “the DEQ does not yet have data that demonstrates that the Bay City WWTP or the General Motors Corp plant in Bay City are in part responsible for the release of dioxin and/or furan to the Saginaw River.” Moreover, the process of collecting and analyzing samples to “fingerprint” their source has not been done. “That data has not been returned or analyzed yet,” wrote Mr. Sygo.
“We believe it is premature to name names other than Dow,” said Michelle Hurd Riddick from the watchdog group, Lone Tree Council. “People have read this story and concluded that Dow is no longer the responsible party for the lower
– it has never been the practice of the DEQ to speculate without data in hand and Mr. Sygo has muddied the waters. What we do know is in June of 2003, the United States Environmental Protection Agency identified Dow Chemical as the responsible party for dioxin contamination in the Saginaw River and Bay.” Saginaw River
“Dow has done such an effective job deflecting responsibility for its dioxin cleanup,” said Terry Miller, Lone Tree Council chairman, “from denial, to greenwash, to behind closed door meetings with the state. For those reasons, every story must be fact-checked and challenged – this one doesn’t meet the fact test. Once again, it has allowed Dow to point a finger at someone else, as they did in 2003, blaming GM for dioxin in the
.” Tittabawassee River
“At this point the DEQ is just speculating,” said Michelle Hurd Riddick. “We absolutely, positively know that Dow has contaminated the Tittabawassee and
Upper Saginaw, and after four years not a bit of cleanup has taken place, we’re still talking – let’s not confuse the public, this story played right into the confusion Dow thrives on.”
-- Jeff Kart Environment/Politics reporter The Bay City Times, http://www.mlive.com/bctimes/ 311 Fifth St. Bay City, MI 48708-5853 Phone: (989) 894-9639 Toll-free in Mich.: 1-800-875-4444, ext. 639 Fax: (989) 893-0649. --