EPA takes charge of Dow Chemical's river cleanup project
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
By Jeff Kartjkart@bc-times.com | 894-9639
Dow Chemical Co. still has plenty of pollution to address in and along local rivers - from dioxins and furans that were byproducts of the manufacture of chlorine-based products decades ago.
The toxics have settled along and in the Tittabawassee River, Saginaw River and Saginaw Bay, threatening human and ecological health from long-term exposure, state regulators say.
But how quickly a cleanup will proceed has become less clear now that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has stepped in as the lead agency on the project.
snip: Still, final cleanup levels are subject to negotiation, and based on different exposure pathways, McCann and EPA officials said.Previous government testing has found dioxins levels above 90 ppt in river sediments in the Bay City area and concentrations above 1,000 ppt at the river mouth and in the bay.
These negotiations started today behind closed doors..... again. The 90 ppt in the river sediments has really topped out to date at 84, 000 ppt with several samples in the 30,000 ppt range being stirred up by ships in the river. These sediments are bed load samples moving freely to Lake Huron without barriers.
Yes, cleanup levels are subject to negotiations as part of site specific criteria. Last week Dow Chemical proposed a range of 834 ppt to 22, 000 ppt. Would it surprise anyone if Dow is looking for a number more protective of their bottom line then the best interest of Michigan's largest watershed? Would any of you be surprised if Dow initiated these closed door meetings using political influence?
EPA documents say as recently as 2004 Dow went to the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and DEQ management, asking to be released from responsibility for the lower Saginaw River and Bay. Heads up Bay City...... they are negotiating your cleanup behind closed doors too. I don't need to tell you you're at the end of the pipeline.
These meetings are taking place behind closed doors and that never bodes well for this watershed and we will have to live with the decision...........I am not optimistic because history does have a way of repeating itself.
Michelle Hurd Riddick
Lone Tree Council