DEQ says plan to manage river toxins will
Thursday, October 20,
2005By Jeff Kart
State Department of Environmental Quality officials
are critical of a management plan for toxic spoils from a Saginaw River
dredging project, saying the plan as written will endanger public health
A U.S. Army Corps of Engineers official says he's just
received the comments, but vows that any issues will be taken care of
before river pilings are deposited on the site, along the Saginaw River on
the Bay-Saginaw county line.
"I don't see anything we can't work out," said Terry
A. Long, planning branch chief for the Corps in Detroit. "We didn't come
this far to stop."
The Lone Tree Council, a Bay City area environmental
group, obtained the comments through the state Freedom of Information Act.
Michelle Hurd Riddick, a Lone Tree member, said the
documents back up what her group has been saying all along: Plans for the
dredging facility have been pushed through by local, state and federal
officials before all environmental concerns were studied and addressed.
"The whole permit process for this (Dredged Material
Disposal Facility) has put the cart ahead of the horse," Hurd-Riddick
The Corps of Engineers, the DEQ and Saginaw County
public works officials have worked for years on the project, to remove
silt from the navigational channel of the Upper Saginaw River, from Bay
City south to Saginaw. Spoils would be piled in a $5 million, 281-acre
disposal facility in Frankenlust Township and 300 acres of wetlands would
be created in Zilwaukee Township.
The spoils site would be used for 20 years worth of
dredgings; river mud would be piled there and water from the spoils would
drain back into the river.
Long didn't have an answer as to why environmental
concerns are still being worked out this far into the process, with
permits already issued and property purchased.
Patricia A. Brandt, program specialist for the DEQ
Remediation and Redevelopment Division in Lansing, said the DEQ is
committed to resolving the issues with the Corps, but the project can't go
forward as proposed. "Significant modifications will be required," Brandt
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- Jeff Kart
covers the environment and politics for The Times. He can be reached at
894-9639 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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