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Letter to the editor Saginaw News 4/7/04

River is better

Editor, The News:

A.M. Watson has taken a stand in a March 23 letter and is no longer a part of the silent majority.

In 1950, I spent the summer in Freeland, and in the fall moved to Shields. In the early '50s, the Tittabawassee River had a nasty, sour smell, very much like the waste-settling ponds on both sides of "old" U.S.10 just southeast of Midland. I spent lots of time on and in the river until I moved away in 1972. The river is much cleaner and healthier than it was in the '50s.

In the late summer of 1969 or 1970, a friend and I were at his residence on the west bank of the river, south of the Gratiot Road bridge. We were on a floating platform on the river. The river changed from its normal muddy brown color to a slate gray color, and several hundred fish of varied sorts floated past us, belly-up. The next day, things were back to normal. I neither heard nor saw any mention of the incident, but it did happen. Sewage spills do get good coverage. Most of them are due to heavy rain overloading outdated facilities.

Do not discount the dioxin issue. It probably has not been in the river system for 100 years. It is a man-made toxin, generated in part from the burning of plastics. I will agree that we don't have the information we need to evaluate the problem. I'm not sure that the information doesn't exist.

During a flood, sandbars wash out of some areas to be re-deposited in others, so contaminants can be moved about in the system.

I don't think the flood made the problem worse, but it did not make it any better.

William Cox

Saginaw Township

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