Department of Environmental Quality

Community Advisory Panel Meeting Summary

Saginaw Township Firehall #1

March 10, 2004

4:30 p.m.


Attendees: Ruth Averill, Mary Jo Bean, Len Ballosh, Jo Ann Beckwith, Drummond Black, Gary Black, David Bowdy, Vince Castellanos, Sarah Clement, Robert Cowling, Paul Damore, Kevin Datte, Alice Diebel, Rick Hayes, Michelle Hurd Riddick, J.P. Johnson, Mike Kelly, Brian Kischnick, Peter Knutson, Mike Krecek, Donna Mallonnee, Kathie Marchlewski, Terry Miller, Carl Neuenfelder, Sarah Opperman, Rob St. Mary, Mike Schoen, John Schmude, Jeremiah Stettler, Marti Stimpson, Rich Stimpson, John Taylor, and Melissa Whitney.

Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) staff in attendance: Joy Brooks, Brenda Brouillet, Steve Buda, Andrew Hogarth, Cheryl Howe, Sue Kaelber-Matlock, Deb MacKenzie-Taylor, Trisha Peters, Liane Shekter Smith, Jim Sygo, Al Taylor and Terry Walkington.

Department of Community Health (DCH) staff in attendance: Brendan Boyle, Kory Groetsch.

Opening Remarks on Community Advisory Panel (CAP) Meeting Frequency and Public Involvement Activities; Introductions; and Approval of January 7 CAP Meeting Summary

Cheryl Howe, DEQ, Waste and Hazardous Materials Division (WHMD), and CAP moderator, welcomed everyone to the sixth meeting of the Community Advisory Panel (CAP) and asked agency staff and attendees to introduce themselves. Ms. Howe explained that, based on workload, DEQ staff have found it difficult to hold CAP meetings on a monthly basis. Following some discussion, it was agreed that meetings would be scheduled every other month. Ms. Howe also mentioned that she had received comments about the need to distinguish this CAP from others. After some additional discussion of possible names, it was agreed that the CAP would be referred to as the "DEQ CAP". Ms. Howe mentioned that concern was expressed about the need to be able to better track DEQ CAP-related e-mails. It was decided that future e-mails would be numbered to make it easier to verify whether a particular e-mail was not received.

Ms. Howe also asked whether there were any other concerns for discussion. None were raised. The January 7, 2004 CAP meeting summary was approved with no revisions.

Research Project on Empowering Communities Located Near Contaminated Site Clean-ups Under Cooperative Agreement with the USEPA/National Center for Environmental Assessment

Dr. Jo Ann Beckwith, Associate Professor of Environmental Planning and Policy, Michigan State University (MSU), made a brief presentation on a USEPA sponsored research project she and her associate, Alice Diebel, are conducting to develop methods to engage people not otherwise engaged in the process for addressing the Tittabawassee River and Midland area soils dioxin contamination. A handout describing the project was provided to the DEQ CAP and is available upon request. Dr. Beckwith told the DEQ CAP that the community was picked because it would be dealing with contaminated sediments and is located fairly close to MSU. Researchers from the project will be identifying neighborhoods for door knocking, including lower socio-economic groups in the floodplain, and conducting 8 to 10 focus groups this summer. They don’t want to create confusion with the DEQ CAP or other DEQ public involvement activities. Dr. Beckwith also indicated she and Ms. Diebel would like to talk with willing DEQ CAP members individually over the next few weeks and would be available during the break and after the meeting to set up appointments. Their goal is to take the information they gather to develop an unbiased, neutral issues guide. The guide will be shared with the DEQ CAP for feedback.

Dr. Beckwith answered a few questions. Key points were as follows:

University of Michigan Study

Dr. Linda Dykema provided a brief update on the MDCH’s perspective on the study being conducted by the University of Michigan (U of M) on Dow’s behalf. During a video conference call on February 19, 2004, with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), U of M, DCH, and DEQ participating, Dr. Henry Falk of the ATSDR requested that a background exposure study be done. U of M was also requested to provide a copy of the protocol, rather than just a Powerpoint slide program, for review. It was agreed during the call that the ATSDR and DCH would come up with process comments. These were to be signed shortly and sent to the U of M, Dow and others. Once they are sent, they will be made available on the DCH website. Dr. Dykema answered a few questions. Key points were that:

Update on DEQ Review of Revised Dow Scopes of Work, Interim Response Activities Work Plans, and Improvement of Warning Signs

Al Taylor provided the following update:

Mr. Taylor and DEQ/DCH staff responded to some questions and comments, mostly regarding signage. Key points included:

Dow-Sponsored University of Michigan Technology Benchmarking Workshop for Sediment and Floodplain Remediation on March 25-26

Mr. Taylor mentioned this workshop and indicated that he and other DEQ staff would be attending. Copies of the flyer were provided as a handout (available upon request) in the event that anyone from the DEQ CAP was interested in the information or in checking whether they could attend, even though the registration deadline had passed.

Discussion of Proposed Community Information Centers/Public Education Interim Response Activities

Ms. Howe stated that Sarah Opperman was at the meeting for the limited purpose of making a presentation on what Dow has proposed in the SOWs for the Community Information Centers/Public Education Interim Response Activities. Ms. Opperman’s presentation is summarized in a Powerpoint slide presentation (available upon request).

Ms. Howe also asked Mike Kelly to briefly discuss his involvement with the Watershed Initiative Network (saginawbaywin.org) that Dow has proposed to work with to develop educational materials. Mr. Kelly indicated that he has agreed to work on this project, but he is the only staff person and he would coordinate and contract out development of the educational materials.

Some feedback was provided on this topic:

Recent Tittabawassee River Flood Event

Jim Sygo, DEQ Deputy Director, discussed the recent flooding, estimated to be a 7-10 year flood event, and how it may impact how the DEQ requires the contaminated sediments to be addressed. In some cases, flooding occurred up to or into people’s homes. The DEQ was able to obtain aerial photos that will assist in answering the "frequently flooded" question and collected samples of sediment left behind in some areas after floodwaters receded (e.g., at parks). People should take precautions to prevent direct contact with the sediments. Joy Brooks, DEQ Saginaw Bay District Floodplain Engineer, indicated that the flood damage contact is the American Red Cross. The DEQ will send out some other flood related emergency information after the meeting and would be interested in knowing the locations where homes were flooded.

The DEQ will provide technical advice on flood sediment cleanup activities to affected parties (e.g., sediments/dredge materials not washed away by the rain should be removed to a Type II solid waste landfill). DEQ staff has had discussions with landfill representatives and will be meeting with them soon to assure them that the sediments are not considered hazardous waste and may be disposed as solid waste, but may not be used as daily cover material.

EPA Video on Contaminated Sediments in Our Waterways: Impacts and Solutions

Because the meeting ran long and another group had reserved the meeting room, this video was not shown. Ms. Howe offered to lend the video if anyone was interested in viewing it and copies were given to two DEQ CAP members who asked to borrow it. The video will be shown at a future meeting.


Thanks to the Saginaw Township for providing the meeting place and snacks for this meeting. The next CAP meeting was scheduled for 4:30 - 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, May 5, 2004, tentatively at the James Township Hall. (Note: This meeting was later rescheduled to Wednesday, May 26, 2004 from 4:00 - 6:00 p.m. due to demands on DEQ staff time to complete the Dow Scopes of Work modifications for approval.)

The meeting was adjourned at about 7:00 p.m.