Lone Tree Council

P.O. 1251, Bay City, Michigan 48706

(Fighting for environmental justice since 1978)

Terry Miller 989-686-6386

Michelle Hurd Riddick 799-3313

Sue Roller Cameron 752-2302


December 6, 2004


High Numbers Prompt Groups to Ask County and Corps to Rethink Dredging Project

Through the Freedom of Information Act, Lone Tree Council and Citizens Against Toxic Substances (CATS) has learned sediment sampling for dioxin in the Upper Saginaw River, conducted by the US Army Corp of Engineers (USACOE), far exceeds any samples identified along the Tittabawassee River. A total of 50 samples revealed concentrations as high as 11, 812 ppt (TEQ) in the Saginaw River.

Samples taken in the navigational channel of the Upper Saginaw River are intended as a baseline analysis for the sediments which the Corp of Engineers intends to dredge and dispose of in a proposed Saginaw County owned disposal facility in Zilwaukee and Frankenlust Twps. A second Freedom of Information Act has been filed to gather additional information on exact location of the samples as well as the fingerprint.

Environmentalists have expressed concern about the site location, design, and long-term impacts of the proposed Dredged Materials Disposal Facility (DMDF). Citizens and groups have repeatedly requested a full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). They point out that the new data adds urgency to proper handling of the dredge spoils and the need to fully involve all federal and state agencies.

"This project has been rife with environmental problems from day one because of the USACOE's efforts to do it on the cheap. However, the discovery of these severely elevated samples is reason to go back to the drawing board and do it right beginning with a commitment to do an Environmental Impact Statement," said Sue Cameron of Zilwaukee Twp. To date the USACOE has refused an EIS.

Environmentalists maintain that they support dredging -- in the proper location and with proper care of contaminated sediment.

"The dredging project is desirable and if done correctly can be a huge economic and environmental success, something that we all want for Saginaw County," said Michelle Hurd Riddick of the Lone Tree Council, "but given these disturbing baseline numbers, it's imperative that all government entities get serious and interject scientific integrity into the debate. That means a serious look at public health, site construction and natural resource protection. Refusal to do an EIS is irresponsible."

The groups also believe the new data is a significant addition to existing concerns, particularly those raised by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

"In a November 8, 2004, letter from the EPA, Region 5, to the COE, EPA officials questioned the COE's use of 'selective dredging' that could 'ultimately lead to the dispersal of sediments downstream', failure to characterize the PCBs in the sediment, and the adequacy of the dikes. This new sampling data adds incentive to the sponsor, Saginaw County, and the Corps to address these issues - and more," said Terry Miller of the Lone Tree Council. "These are no longer simply navigational spoils but highly toxic, persistent materials."

Saginaw River Dioxin TEQ


(TEQ ppt)

Station Result

1 61.05

2 38.46

3 130.49

4 192.79

5 132.10

6 184.70

7 0.28

8 214.02

9 375.23

10 101.30

11 264.40

12 232.81

13 406.56

14 0.00

15 94.67

16 156.76

17 13.40

18 66.29

19 576.51

20 248.81

21 182.78

22 111.66

23 82.78

24 73.17

25 0.51

26 14.79

27 0.43

28 64.13

29 no sample

30 12.00

31 287.93

32 834.65

33 5872.33

34 142.18

35 293.31

36 219.36

37 100.83

38 282.79

39 138.30

40 413.59

41 5204.12

42 272.66

43 no sample

44 229.41

45 8187.18

46 27.14

47 134.18

48 923.60

49 718.49

50 173.09

51 11812.81

52 144.

Source: Lone Tree Council

For additional articles like this one, go to the Tittabawasse River Watch web site www.trwnews.net. for complete coverage of the Tittabawassee River Dow Chemical dioxin contamination saga.. The source organization's web site link is listed above. The Newspaper / Media page of our site contains an extensive archive of media articles dating back to January 2002. The Newspaper / Media page may be accessed by scrolling down to the bottom of the CONTENTS section and clicking on the Newspaper/Media link.