Tittabawassee River Watch Editorial          Back to editorial page  

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John Taylor 03/22/04 Email to MDEQ and MDCH staff

Hello Cheryl. My wife and I just came from one of our TRW meetings, and it was brought up again about input to you, the DEQ, regarding comments from affected residents. At the meeting we had a video from the Army Corp of Engineers (TRW note: Tape was from EPA) about different ways to address the contamination of rivers in regards to cleaning up the contamination. It was quite obvious after viewing this video that " natural attenuation " is a hopeless cause as a way of addressing the pollution here. It doesn't work on dioxin. There were other ways the Corp had to address contamination in different situations that were entirely dependant on the nature of the body of water in question. If the body was placid there were simple and inexpensive ways of addressing it. If the water happened to be a slow moving river, obviously not prone to flooding, there were other ways to address it, also less costly. But with the natural current and volatile nature of this river after heavy rains or a large melt off in the spring causing frequent flooding, sometimes excessive, it became very apparent that the only way the situation here could ever be addressed in regards to remediation would be to first, completely dredge this river from Dow all the way to the confluence. Then, the river banks themselves would have to be addressed in some manner that would either remove the contaminate completely or render it positively immobile for an indefinite period of time. Then the land would have to be addressed by either removal and replacement or in some instances where the contamination may be minimal, capping the soil. The problem with this last suggestion is the fact that property such as mine has been declared a toxic waste facility. Therefore, even if it was to be capped, I still couldn't put a shovel in my soil because of the contamination that lies beneath. The obvious thing that has to be done first and foremost is the complete dredging of this river. Nothing else will ever matter and be totally inconsequential if this step is not taken first. All the capping and planting of grass will be for naught as this last flood so vividly displayed. We now have more contaminated gook deposited everywhere and in some cases at a considerable depth. As it was pointed out at the last CAP meeting, even the local public servants who show some concern can not even find a location to dispose of the contaminated soil when they accumulate some and do attempt to dispose of it. This will be a never ending reoccurring situation that may well happen several times a year. And each and every time exposing people to this contamination.

This is my suggestion Cheryl, and I can see no other recourse. I have heard about Natural Attenuation, which obviously does not work. Then I hear about some microbial thing that Dow is touting that is supposed to devour, digest, then expend it being rendered harmless. Now, this would truly be something, if it existed. But I find it hard to accept since microbes are a living thing and dioxin is the most toxic substance ever produced by man. If they did exist, what miracle chemical compound do they have in their digestive systems to completely alter ALL of the compounds that are associated with the dioxin family rendering them completely harmless? Is this now some sort of germ warfare on dioxin devised by Dow? If it does exist, what is to say that it may not be more devastating to humans than dioxin is? If it did exist, I would have to see an enormous amount of data regarding " tests " conducted for the past 40 years proving it to be completely safe to release into the environment. And, I would want this data to come from several independent entities other than Dow. After all, Dow was the one that made the statement in the early 60s that Dioxin is the most toxic substance they had ever seen, and their own chemists refused to study it because it was so toxic choosing something less toxic instead to study in it's place. Ever since that time there has been a history of misinformation regarding dioxin to the point of them stating that one would have to consume a large amount of contaminated soil to have any chance of health risks. You and I are both well aware of the history of deception. And I for one am becoming a little impatient waiting for something positive to begin. I do realize you and everyone there are under a great deal of pressure from many sources and also under close scrutiny by Dow. I am quite certain they will be reading this, and I don't care. I have a right to present my views and opinions. I don't know if this will be of any help, but it's the way I feel.


John Taylor

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