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E-M:/ DEQ and Corps strike a deal on Saginaw River dredging

Lt. Governor John Cherry defied the experts and intervened to use a hole in the ground in people's back yard to dump dioxin for the next 20 years. We'll be footing the bill for generations. Instead of showing leadership and designing real solutions that are win-win for the watershed, Lt. Governor Cherry caved in to a corporate report -- paid for by Dow -- instead of listening to the advice of his MDEQ experts. He also ignored the request of residents living next to this pit to meet with him before he made a decision. This is a sad day for the health of area residents and the well-being of the Great Lakes.


DEQ and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Update Status of Saginaw River Navigational Dredging Project

Contact:  Robert McCann (517) 241-7397
Agency: Environmental Quality

May 1, 2008

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and United States Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District, today announced an update in their discussions regarding the proposed navigational dredging of the Upper Saginaw River and disposal of the dredged material in a facility located in Saginaw County.

DEQ Director Steven E. Chester and Lt. Colonel William J. Leady, Commander of the Army Corps' Detroit District, have agreed that the dredging of the Saginaw River is critically important to the economic future of the region as well as having a secondary benefit of removing contaminated sediments from the river.

The Corps has done analyses that show the disposal facility in Saginaw County will keep the sediment material completely contained. While the DEQ has previously expressed concerns about potential releases from the facility, the Corps has assured the state they are obligated to address any such releases in the event they do occur. Additionally, to further ensure the environmental integrity of the disposal facility, the Corps has agreed to work with the DEQ to finalize an Operational Management plan for the disposal facility that will include enhanced monitoring with additional wells around the site.

"The Corps of Engineers has made a firm commitment to operate and maintain the disposal facility in an environmentally safe manner," said Director Chester. "The enhanced monitoring will ensure the facility remains safe and any emergent concerns are quickly addressed."

"I'd like to thank the DEQ for their willingness to work with us and their commitment to protecting Michigan's environment," said Lt. Colonel Leady. "I am confident that the dredging will be done, and that it will be done safely."

The Corps and DEQ will participate in a public meeting together to discuss the project and answer questions in the near future. Details of that meeting will be announced in the coming weeks.

As a result of the agreement, the Corps can move forward with their schedule to place dredged materials from the Upper Saginaw River in the placement site. The Corps plans to dredge approximately 90,000 cubic yards of material from the Upper Saginaw navigational channel this summer.

Editor's note: DEQ news releases are available on the department's Internet home page at www.michigan.gov/deq.

"Protecting Michigan's Environment, Ensuring Michigan's Future"

Revised May 1, 2008 by Pat Watson