SUMMARY OF PUBLIC COMMENTS ON THE DOW SCOPES OF WORK
October 21, 2003 DRAFT
This summary document contains the public comments received at the September 22 and 25, 2003 public meetings on the Scopes of Work (SOWs) for Remedial Investigation for Midland area soil contamination and Tittabawassee River sediment and flood plain soil contamination submitted by Dow to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) on August 11, 2003. In addition, it includes comments that were made at the Community Advisory Panel (CAP) meetings that were held on July 31, 2003, September 3, 2003, and October 8, 2003, and public comments that were received via e-mail or in writing during the comment period that ended on October 10, 2003. Comments solicited by Ms. Susan Carrington of Dow following her overview of the SOWs at the September 3, 2003 CAP meeting and recorded on flip charts are denoted by: [CAP]. Other comments made during CAP meetings are denoted by: [CAP Meeting].
Comments have been categorized by topic and are generally presented in the order of most to least comments on a given topic. In many cases, repetitive comments were not consolidated.
A number of written and verbal comments were received in support of the SOWs. Many commenters requested the DEQ to approve the Scopes of Work. These are not summarized in detail in this document because they did not include specific suggestions for revising the documents.
EXPOSURE, HEALTH, AND RISK ASSESSMENT RELATED
- My family and I have been also discussing the number of people in our area who have been diagnosed with MS. My brother and cousin, who have died from complications of this disease, are 2 of those people. I have lived in the floodplain area all my life (50+ years). As children, my brother, cousin and I used to play in the area that flooded each spring. We used to eat the small game (rabbits, squirrels, pheasants) that my father hunted when we were children.
- Although the devaluation of the homeowners property is definitely a hardship, I am more concerned about the health risks.
- I would like to get some sort of sense for how much exposure is too much. Also, what type of effect exposure might have on future generations. I know these are questions yet to answered, but the unknown is so hard to deal with.
- TASK IV - Remedial Investigation. This appears to overlap, but possibly be at a more detailed level than TASK II. These steps should be worked into the plan, but there may be few other tasks dependent on all of this information. We may find that only a few of them are timeline-critical and can be staged accordingly. The Human Health Risk Assessment should be pulled ahead and started now.
- We strongly oppose Dow's intent to do fluid sampling and exposure evaluation related to residents property. In particular, the plans for Riverside Blvd. are unacceptable.
- We are very concerned about the use of probabilistic risk assessment methods by Dow to influence public policy or cleanup decisions given past practice. PRAs should only be used in approved ways and after a process of review by the public and agencies.
- The literature suggests house dust may be an important exposure pathway, for instance. The SOWs do not adequately address these issues.
- Residents are continuing to be exposed to dioxin in their homes, their yards, their neighborhoods, at their local parks, by consuming local food, etc. The first priority must be on the protection of public health, particularly the health of children. Scientifically sound public education, and reducing immediate exposures where possible are first steps in protecting public health. The company should assure residents that as state agencies identify interim response measures, Dow will provide support as necessary, and act proactively where they have jurisdiction.
- Continued releases of dioxin to the community, both through permitted and accidental releases, remains a critical concern, one that we also believe Dow must address for a productive dialogue.
- Dow's position is that exposure pathways are of no real concern for residents.
- Human Health Assessment: Remove it. It has no place in the Scope of Work.
- Evaluate the risks from all chemicals released in Midland. Releases of many highly toxic chemicals are routine in the city of Midland. Both Dow Chemical and Dow Corning have had releases that have kept residents penned in their homes. Fugitive emissions and 'accidental' chemical releases are a way of life in Midland. The risks from these releases has never been fully evaluated. Add the risk from dioxins in soil and a different picture emerges.
- We need a multi-media assessment that evaluates all routes of exposure. How many toxic chemicals do Midland residents inhale or ingest on a 'typical' day?
- I would also like to ask that some of my comments made on the ATSDR/MDCH Health Consultation and verbal comments given to MDEQ staff be considered.
- Insist that Midland City officials develop a plan with the state to address the public health implications of any/all construction activities that could increase our exposure to dioxin.
- At what point are properties uninhabitable?
- Dow needs to break up/reduce existing exposure pathways and stop saying (e.g., on their website) that there is no exposure to dioxin contamination in soil under turf, etc.
- [CAP] Would like to see people tested before wildlife.
- [CAP] Provide dust masks for park mowing.
- [CAP] Dow and DEQ need to propose recommendations on how to disrupt exposure routes.
- [CAP] Get human exposure sampling done.
- [CAP] Do (human) testing of anyone who wants it.
- [CAP] Information on how dermal study would be done.
- [CAP] Support exposure study.
- [CAP] Open up exposure study behind current scope.
- [CAP] Continue extensive health testing plans.
- [CAP] Create way for people to contact Dow about health testing.
- [CAP] Do health study & bioavailability as soon as possible.
- [CAP] Blood sampling in James Township (include long-term resident(s).
- [CAP] Table Probabilistic Risk Assessment until issues resolved.
- [CAP Meeting] The precautionary principle should be followed at areas that are known or suspected to be contaminated.
- Following are suggested topics that I think should be recognized and included among reference studies by one or more of DEQ; local, State or national public health authorities; and The Dow Chemical Company:
Presence of multiple persistent pollutants in the river, flood plain and sediments. Data are readily available from historic, recent and ongoing studies.
Equivalent toxicities and potential interactions between pollutants present. Again, data are available and should be considered.
Maternal body burdens of these pollutants with special emphasis on those known to be transplacental and/or transferable to breast milk. These would include at least lead, methyl mercury, polyhalogenated biphenyls, dioxin/furans, DDT and derivatives, and poly brominated diphenyl ethers.
Potential human fetal exposure throughout fetal life.
Potential neo-natal exposure via breast milk.
Criticality of incremental bio-uptake during pregnancy and/or breastfeeding.
Increased susceptibility of children.
A health survey of current and past residents of the flood plain with special emphasis on miscarriage experience.
- I would like the DEQ and MDCH to work with the Midland County Health Department Director to inform him about dioxin toxicity.
- Post the rivers and channels.
- Large weather proof signs with pictures of the fish and explicit easy to understand warnings about the implications for children and women if they eat the fish.
- The DEQ and state health department also need to get educational literature on dioxin to all Midland schools warning them of the real risks. This literature should be sent home to parents.
- Midland residents have been misinformed about dioxin and need to be reeducated using credible and current scientific information on dioxin. I would suggest using EPA scientist Linda Birnbaum's presentation. Dr. Birnbaum made a presentation at Dow on dioxin's health effects and Dow was unable to refute the studies.
- Educate the Midland community on the risks of digging up contaminated soils and the potential risks of other construction and gardening activities.
- Dow Chemical Company has resurrected its flawed approach to Risk Assessment in its Scope of Work. Dow has a responsibility, before once more taxing the time and energy of citizens, to respond to the highly critical comments of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S.EPA), Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) and State of Michigan toxicologist, who submitted pages of criticism last year. And Dow should identify in its Scope of Work what will be done with the results of its proposed health study data.
- More education is needed to get the word out on the dioxin levels along the river, including the levels at deeper depths. In addition to using TV, use the newspaper and radio to do this.
- Educate area realtors so other people don’t get trapped there and exposed if they buy a home on the river.
- What should people who are trying to sell their homes tell people who are interested in buying them? Does normal rain/snow wash away the contamination?
- Consider providing more education on the use of barrier controls vs. contamination removal/on-site destruction technologies and the comparative degree of protection provided.
- Target people who have bought properties in the flood plain area for education since they do not personally know the history of flooding on their river property.
- Post the Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge with warning signs. This information is vital to users.
- Exposure education needs to be targeted to the licensed day care center on the Tittabawassee River along Midland Road and potentially to other such centers.
- The Thomas Township pumping station area is a public use and fishing site that is not officially posted, but should be. Residents took it upon themselves to put an information box for pamphlets there. More needs to be done. The site has exposed dirt and people, including children, are being exposed there. A similar situation exists at Frostgrove. Information is needed all along the river at such locations.
- Post Midland parks and ball fields that have no grass cover.
- Provide more education on the health effects of dioxin exposure.
- [CAP] Saginaw Township newsletter 2 times per year could include dioxin information.
- [CAP] Common sense facts about how to reduce exposures.
- [CAP] Use hunting licenses to inform about testing and for education.
- [CAP] Community education through schools, township newsletters.
- [CAP] Where has everything been buried in Midland - publish.
- [CAP] Ask health department directors not to use the information on sources of dioxin intake being quoted currently.
- [CAP] DEQ provide clarification on whether wash stations and fish sampling are good idea or not.
- [CAP] Define PPT so people understand what it is (education using experts).
- [CAP] DEQ meet with real estate community on the facilities label – for all properties.
- [CAP] Provide info to workers in floodplain soils now.
- [CAP Meeting] Education is also needed for people who live in cities (e.g., downtown Saginaw) who consume fish such as carp and catfish.
- [CAP Meeting] Focused education for the fishing population--more than is done currently through the fish advisory process-- should be considered as a potential interim response activity.
- [CAP Meeting] Education on the level of dioxin exposure from food consumption vs. soil is needed.
- [CAP Meeting] Personal contacts or town hall meetings with farmers may be more effective for educational purposes than doing mailings to them (partnering through Michigan State University Extension Service).
- How do we begin the process of having our soil tested to determine if we are required to disclose our property as a waste facility?
- We are concerned that a focus only on dioxin/furans will miss important risks to the public, and an opportunity to address broader important contamination issues. We are also concerned about additional compounds which may be adding dioxin-like toxicity.
- Consider other toxic exposure routes/chemicals beyond dioxin in Midland soils. Many recent chemical releases to the air from Dow Chemical in Midland, Michigan were documented by the commenter and these occur with no warnings to the community.
- The State should not allow Dow to be in charge of collecting data without split sampling or other mechanisms to insure reliability and credibility of results.
- A full characterization of the contamination has not yet been completed, nor have all potential pathways of exposure been assessed. The extent and boundaries of the contamination must be fully characterized, hotspots identified, and other potential pathways of exposure fully elucidated as a first and fundamental step to resolving this issue. This has not yet been done, and is a minimum step for a productive community dialogue.
- Soil Testing of Dow's agriculture land (south of the facility along the T-River). Split the samples with the state. Define historical uses of the land.
- The Dow Chemical Company should conduct a comprehensive evaluation of continuing sources of dioxin releases to the Tittabawassee River, including but not limited to existing processes, historical sources, Dow owned agricultural properties, accidental releases, as well as permitted sources.
- Dow needs to identify all previous sites in Midland that may be sources of ongoing contamination. Old herbicide facilities, landfills, etc.... These areas need to be investigated and tested. What about the Dow plant site? We can begin addressing cleanup along the river but all possible sources need to be identified.
- Dow should be financially responsible for further testing, with the state taking the lead on identifying sites of priority and splitting samples with DEQ. Identify areas where children are likely being exposed with some frequency and place them on the priority list for interim actions and remediation.
- I live on Stroebel Rd in James Township and I am very concerned about the dioxin issue. I attended both public hearings on 9/22 & 9/25/03. My property ends at the Stroebel Drain and I would like the drain system tested for dioxin. My property does not flood often, but when it does, it is from the drain, which I presume contains back-up from the Tittabawassee River.
- Dow needs to quantify the amount of dioxin (and other PBTs) escaping from their plant site. This should be a comprehensive study that identifies any process or product that contains dioxin. Dow has not been forced to prove that there are no other dioxin sources. One example is Dow's herbicide 2,4-D that is known to contain dioxin. This product is widely used by Consumers on lawns and a farmer's favorite. I believe there are other sources. Dow should be forced to prove conclusively there are no other ongoing dioxin sources. This should be peer reviewed by independent and government scientists.
- Test local wildlife and domestic animals living in the city of Midland. Good indicator of resident's exposure.
- Do not initiate any work until the sampling protocol and analysis process have been vetted with and agreed to by all stakeholders - with the object of accomplishing a comprehensive sampling program that will answer the questions of risk, exposure and trends. Stakeholders should include, but not be limited to, the Midland County Public Health Department, Dow Chemical, the petitioners, community representatives and local health department officials.
An essential part of the protocol, agreed to before work is started, should be a cost-benefit analysis to determine whether or not the overall effort is justified in light of the resources consumed, social impact of the community and projected improvements in the quality of life for Midland residents.
Finally, a clear indication of remediation alternatives should be documented before sampling is started and action levels defined that would trigger the corrective actions. The residents of Midland have a right to know what will happen in their community if specific levels of dioxin are found.
- I am supportive of the directions that are being taken by Dow and support doing comprehensive research to understand the levels of dioxin in the different locations and elsewhere where exposures could occur. I would encourage the MDEQ to approve the Scope of Work and the interim actions presented by Dow.
I am not comfortable with an approach of "jumping in with both feet" prior to fully understanding the extent of a problem. An effective solution can only be determined after a reasonable assessment of the issue is made. Attempting to move forward to correct any situation that isn’t understood makes no sense to me.
- Expand the SOW to include sampling even outside the flood plain in residents’ back yards.
- The Hoffman Drain flood plain area (Tittabawassee River "backwater area") should be tested under the Remedial Investigations to determine the extent of contamination.
- Has any testing been done on Duck Road yet?
- [CAP] Not necessary to do additional testing.
- [CAP] Opening day of Walleye season – get samples to understand levels.
- [CAP] Phase 3 testing results ASAP to include James Township.
- [CAP Meeting] Conduct soil box or air monitoring on agricultural property(ies) to determine whether the dust is contaminated.
- A couple of statements were made by someone from Dow about the parks and how they planned to address them. One was the Freeland Festival Park and the other that I recollect Is Imerman. At Freeland there was mention of a stone wall along the river and also some sort of walkway at the river edge. Something of that nature was also stated for Imerman. Do you intend to see to it that all of this "Band-Aid" construction will eventually be removed and actual cleanup of the grounds will commence? These parks are the very areas that put the most people in jeopardy. We as residents have no choice but to live in it. But to allow this sort of quick fix to commence and allow the continued exposure of people to these contaminated areas should be cause for some great concern.
- The question has been raised on numerous occasions about closing these parks until remediation could be carried out.
- The wash stations do not provide easily accessible and well marked opportunities for handwashing at contaminated sites. For instance, the stations are not marked at all and they are not designed for children. Permanent, well marked stations are necessary. They should be designed in keeping with the beauty of these parks. They should be accompanied by well designed signs alerting people to the need for handwashing.
- Posting in the parks is completely inadequate, as are measures to seek restrictions on uses in the parks thus far outlined.
- Post the sinks and state the explicit intent for the use of the sinks and why handwashing is important. The sinks are very cumbersome for kids. Is the water potable? On the dioxin warning signs, direct people to the sinks.
- Imerman has a park ranger at the gate collecting fees/ boat launch area too. They should be handing out information to the public as they enter the park.
- Eliminate Park Exposure. Initiate actions to eliminate human exposure at public parks. This may include but not be limited to capping, removal of soils, closure, and/or eliminating use of high human use, high contamination, areas through coverage with non-permeable material.
- What will Dow do to address know contamination at Imerman Park? Play areas in the parks are contaminated. Why not remove the contamination and put clean soil in these areas or establish other play areas?
- [CAP] Question effectiveness of handwashing.
- [CAP] Close down Festival Park until exposure pathways are eliminated.
- [CAP] Move Bark Park and rope off sections of Imerman Park.
- [CAP] Don’t shut down Festival Park – contain/decking/etc. instead.
- [CAP] Signage in West MI and Boat Launch (Center Road) should be bigger.
- [CAP] Info containers (brochures) were empty – make sure they’re kept full.
- All people want to know what, when and how DEQ and/or Dow are going to proceed with any clean up.
- This is about "remediation" not just the fish in the river and the animals on land or the movement of silt in the river. Information gathering about remediation should be just that and I see no reason why it cannot be addressed simultaneously along with the rest of these studies.
- Why aren't you asking Dow to present a plan for remediation and dredging along with all of this testing?
- The bottom line is that our property is and always will be a "Toxic Waste Facility" unless contamination is completely removed.
- Dow's resources would be better directed at immediate interim response measures.
- Finally, a plan to restore the community must eventually be developed and implemented.
- Remove Severe River Contaminants. a) Steps must be taken immediately to remove the areas presently identified as of heaviest dioxin contamination (hot spots) in the Tittabawassee River. This should include dredging using a sealed clamshell, no overflow process, that would not re-suspend contaminants; approved and under the supervision of the Department of Environmental Quality and appropriate federal agencies. b) In addition, the identification of locations, establishment and regular disposal of sediment through traps within the Tittabawassee River should be established to begin the cleaning of the river.
- We also believe that despite Dow Chemical’s denial, the company has played a significant if not exclusive role in the dioxin contamination in the Saginaw River sediment. In a proactive action that would assume responsibility and actively pursue remediation before legal requirements, we would urge that Dow cooperate with, and support financially and with staff time, the legal and environmental requirements necessary to create a suitable dredge spoils site at the General Motors facility on the upper Saginaw River.
- Clean up to the Part 201 level of 90 ppt.
- Dow should take a percentage out of pay checks to fix the dioxin problem. Dow should have started fixing the problem in 1983 when the original test data came out.
- Dow should consider swapping some of their property with the people who live along the river.
- [CAP] Implement those areas OK’d by MDEQ &/or MDCH.
- SARA Title III reports are available from Midland County Emergency Services Director Roger Garner. [This point of this comment may be to consider using this office as an information center.]
- TASK I.A. Community Information Center - More detail is needed. Do they intend to use the library/drop off point concept and expand it? Do they plan to have a phone number to call an expert? Will we have a single website? Is this some facility opened some number of hours during the week? How will MDCH, MDEQ, and/or CDC, EPA be involved in overseeing the quality of the information?
- TASK I.B. Public information materials - More detail is needed. Today we have at least 3 different on-line sources for information: Dow's website, MDEQ's website, and "citizen" or "non-profit" sites, especially TRW and some information on Ecocenter. In hardcopy, we have the State bulletins, licensing, etc. Is Dow proposing creating something else? Reorganize what we have? Let's not start from scratch. Its not clear to me what is being suggested.
- The State should not sanction Dow's developing materials for citizens, nor should Dow be the host for information on contamination-related materials or host a Community Information Center. Any information compiled by Dow should be reviewed by the state or some independent party. The state should remain the primary place for citizens to get information.
- Dow is proposing a repository for dioxin information in the various communities. It's an adequate gesture but the content of the information needs to be controlled by DEQ and DCH.
- A better notification system is needed to let residents know about meetings and keep them informed about other developments.
- [CAP] Create task force to develop materials for Information Centers.
- [CAP] Consider township offices for information centers.
- [CAP] Get all the information in every township office.
- [CAP] Community access – state as clearinghouse for information in Information Center.
- I am concerned that taking action before results of further study are concluded could further disseminate of the contamination, or result in wasteful activities.
- I am still looking for a statement that remediation "will" commence eventually.
- I see no reason why some remediation can not commence immediately in areas removed from the river. This will have no effect on the river, current or silt movement in any way.
- Continued delays mean continued exposure for Midland residents.
- I have been following the dioxin issues for about 3 years and believe it is prudent to make sure there is adequate time to complete the required studies and investigations necessary to determine the extent and impact of the dioxin issue.
- A homeowner near River and Dice Roads stated that it has been two years since the RRD report came out. Clean up the contamination now, not years and years in the future.
- Dow needs to give the date for beginning to clean up home sites with dioxin contamination.
- Why does Dow keep asking what residents want done? Immediately start cleanup. This is your contamination.
- [CAP] Stop pushing health assessment and delays.
- [CAP] Get activities going.
- The recent report of a resident about dust generated from farming operations highlights the need for an interagency response, as well as more concerted efforts to identify potential exposures and take measures to reduce risks.
- Why are public monies being spent to allow farmers to do what they want?
- Respond to Floodplain Agriculture. a) Dow must immediately remove any of its agriculture properties within the floodplain from cultivation. Because of the risks posed by blowing dust during cultivation, the risk of bio-uptake, and other ecological exposures, Dow should immediate suspend those leases. b) In addition, Dow should aggressively provide monetary support and staff to either enroll (through the Michigan Department of Agriculture) existing private agriculture within the floodplain in the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) program or make outright purchase at a price acceptable to the owners.
- Included in Dow's SOW should be soiling samplings (transects) of all agricultural properties within the Tittabawassee River floodplain. Furthermore, should any of the properties have dioxin concentrations above the target level of 90 ppt, Dow would need to determine the extent of contamination in the farmland. Consequently, Dow should pay for a Supplement Environmental Program through the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) to put these properties into easements. This program would allow farmers alternatives to farming the land and mitigate economic loss.
- Take Dow’s agricultural land out of service.
- [CAP] Address farming community in terms of dust control.
- [CAP] Dow property listing and current agriculture use.
- [CAP] Teach no-till farming and provide equipment.
- [CAP Meeting] Consider sampling tractor air filters or dust traps to determine whether dust generation from harvesting, etc. poses an inhalation hazard.
- [CAP Meeting] Conduct additional crop/produce testing from flood plain farm properties to check dioxin levels.
INTERIM RESPONSE ACTIVITIES
- The Tittabawassee SOW does not include adequate immediate measures to reduce exposures for the residents who live in identified contaminated areas in the floodplain.
- Interim response measures should be fast tracked to reduce exposures.
- The Midland SOW is particularly vague on plans for Midland interim response activities. Some levels in the community approach the elevated levels in the floodplain and pose the same exposure risks. Evaluation of ecological exposures, and multi-pathway exposure assessment for people are needed.
- I am at a loss to give you more suggestions for interim corrective actions, other than they need to "clean it up". I wish I could give you many (actually, having them sod over residents yards was pretty good, but so temporary).
- A Tittabawassee River resident stated they would like to be evacuated immediately from their home.
- [CAP] Provide groundskeeping service in appropriate clothing during high-dust periods.
- An adequate Scope of Work must immediately address Dow Chemical Company’s contamination in the following ways:
Remove Severe River Contaminants. a) Steps must be taken immediately to remove the areas presently identified as of heaviest dioxin contamination (hot spots) in the Tittabawassee River. This should include dredging using a sealed clamshell, no overflow process, that would not re-suspend contaminants; approved and under the supervision of the Department of Environmental Quality and appropriate federal agencies. b) In addition, the identification of locations, establishment and regular disposal of sediment through traps within the Tittabawassee River should be established to begin the cleaning of the river.
Eliminate Park Exposure. Initiate actions to eliminate human exposure at public parks. This may include but not be limited to capping, removal of soils, closure, and/or eliminating use of high human use, high contamination, areas through coverage with non-permeable material.
Relocate Families. In areas of heaviest contamination, Dow Chemical Company should offer families buy-outs at a price acceptable to the families.
Respond to Floodplain Agriculture. a) Dow must immediately remove any of its agriculture properties within the floodplain from cultivation. Because of the risks posed by blowing dust during cultivation, the risk of bio-uptake, and other ecological exposures, Dow should immediate suspend those leases. b) In addition, Dow should aggressively provide monetary support and staff to either enroll (through the Michigan Department of Agriculture) existing private agriculture within the floodplain in the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) program or make outright purchase at a price acceptable to the owners.
Conduct Floodplain Erosion Control. Eroding banks continue the cycle of contamination. Dow must identify areas where the Tittabawassee River shoreline is unstable and take steps necessary to stabilize. This may include but not be limited to rip/rap or plantings.
Continued Sampling. All the above are not contingent on sampling, and should be expedited to prevent human exposure. The State, however, has not been as comprehensive as necessary to determine the full extent of soil contamination. Dow Chemical should initiate soil sampling in areas identified by the State including, but not limited to the Center Road Boat Launch, Green Point Nature Center, the Germania Golf Course, and a nearby driving range within the floodplain. Sampling should be split with the State, reported in a timely manner, and Interim Responses taken immediately upon finding elevated dioxin levels.
It is critical that all six of these Interim Responses be implemented as soon as possible, delay and debate continue a process of denial and avoidance that has allowed human exposure to continue for decades -- that is simply unacceptable. Dow Chemical Company seems committed to a health study or future ecological study before taking action -- that too is unacceptable. We know where the hot spots are in the river, we know the yards and the parks that are contaminated, the shoreline areas that need stabilization, to delay responding to these continuing sources of contamination is unconscionable. Also, these six responses do not preclude actions taken in the future relative to Remedial Investigations and Responses.
PRIORITIZATION OF WORK
- TASK II - Description of Current Conditions. More substance is needed. I'd like to see some baseline assumptions laid out, such s priority based on contamination levels and populations. Since there's no timeline associated with tasks such as depicting the "general geographic location", I don't know if this means we're going to spend another 4 months drawing a map of Midland and calling it the "general geographic location", then another 4 months creating a map with property lines, etc. Such an approach would take a good bit of time and resource with little value to the obvious individuals and properties in areas of greatest concern. We need focus and we need priorities. This task is written very broadly (e.g. "A preliminary description of the geology, soils ..."). What does that mean? What is the purpose and value of this information? Let's not just meander through the steps, here. Let's get something effective done.
- TASK III - RI Workplan Requirements. Pull this ahead. Someone needs to start managing this now. A workplan is needed now. The tasks described here can be done in parallel. That is, you can set up an information center while you're describing the current conditions, and organize a project -- all at the same time. The leadership component to this is critical because that person can get this on a plan and get the component parts moving, track them and report out progress. We need to be able to point to a single person who is driving this and can show me what will be done and when. Go get a full-time project manager with drive, gusto and big feet.
- Proposed Schedule - Unacceptable. Too slow and ineffective. Please rework, considering the above comments.
- Areas that pose the greatest risk of exposure to the public, and particularly to children, should be prioritized for immediate action.
- Cleanup of residential properties should be a higher priority than the parks.
- [CAP] Separate health & environmental activities to move more quickly on environmental issues.
- [CAP] Focus on elimination of contamination - areas above 90 ppt that require some level of action.
SOW ADMINISTRATIVE PROCESS
- How many deficient SOWs does Dow get? Give them one chance to make corrections then do it for them. The license does give DEQ authority to make those modifications and impose them on Dow. Correct? Please don't let this drag on.
- The panel and the community has to now to wait an additional two or three months -- year end 2003 -- before we have a plan with meaningful components, let alone timelines, resources and other associated details required for progress.
- Moreover, we believe that the integrity of the process requires continued supervision by the Department of Environmental Quality, and that the Dow Chemical Company should reimburse all future staff time, and split sampling costs to the State.
- Dow’s Scope of Work is all wrong because it should originate in your office. The present era of wholesale public utility and private commercial deregulation will pass when people finally get a belly full of corporate government corruption that is subversive both in intent and in practice.
You should be the primary designer of Dow’s scope of work outline. It was painfully evident during the recent meeting in the library in Midland that this is not happening. I know habits are hard to break. That is why Michigan’s new Governor should have come out swinging at the opening bell, She did not. And that is why your present role in Michigan politics is difficult and critical.
- I am aware that there are several studies, either being planned or ongoing by several entities. Obviously DEQ cannot manage all of them. Somehow, these various studies should be coordinated so that results are comparable and additive. Can DEQ request responsibility for or handle the coordination?
ECOLOGICAL RISK ASSESSMENT
- Make it clear to the public and the media that this issue is at best in limbo, may contain redundant studies and fails to follow guidelines.
- There is no need for Dow to do duplicate aquatic/wildlife ecological risk assessment studies.
- A commenter questioned whether sampling would be just TCDD or congener specific, whether ecological risk assessment sampling would be statistical and whether methodologies would be accessible.
- [CAP] Wildlife – include invertebrates, earthworms, etc.
- Adding grass seed or a limited amount of top soil on top of what is already highly contaminated is a "Band-Aid" fix.
- [CAP] Groundcovers in parks and other potential areas (also wildlife habitat improvement).
- [CAP] Create barriers in areas of parks that are high.
- I would like testing for dioxin and other chemicals in Overlook Park. All the parks on the east side of Midland with no grass cover should be closed until there is more testing. Other parks should have dioxin warnings about the soil.
- [CAP] Signage in Midland parks.
- [CAP] Softball fields (Waterworks Park) closed until testing is done, then decide what to do with park.
- [CAP] Do mapping in Midland, too (airborne exposures).
- [CAP] Share mapping with local authorities.
- [CAP] Historical uses of Dow property along Tittabawassee River.
UTILITY WORKER EXPOSURE
- Workers from Consumers Power plan to replace an old gas pipeline on our property very soon. The trucks are already parked here, and they will be doing a lot of excavating. Is this now a concern?
- Utility workers digging for the Tittabawassee Township sewer system upgrade in which a hole was dug under the river were not wearing PPE. Was the soil tested and disposed of properly?
- TASK V - Reports. What would the content and format of these reports be? There's really not much detail here, so let me just generally comment that if we plan to do these tasks sequentially, some of them look like they could take years. A report once every year or two is hardly satisfactory. This item needs more effort put into it.
- Dow needs to submit in writing a program and outline of what it is they are addressing and or proposing when they meet with township or public officials.
- TASK VI - Public participation needs to be regular and in close contact & communication throughout the project. I like the idea of small-group or one-on-one meetings being held as necessary. It seems one is needed right now to get this thing kicked off appropriately.
- The State should NOT sanction or approve Dow's efforts to host meetings with community members to get input on cleanup plans outside of a state-led process.
- [CAP] Expand beyond deer/turkey to mice, rabbits, etc.
- [CAP] Advertise turkey/deer testing, with where to deliver them. Do we need fat only?
- [CAP] Concerned about dredge spoils in Zilwaukee Township.
- [CAP] Dredge Tittabawassee River for barge traffic for dredge spoils.
FLOOD PLAIN SOIL MOVEMENT
Address properties along Midland Rd. where backfilling with floodplain soil occurred in order to build the houses.