FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Patricia Spitzley
January 19, 2005 (517) 241-7397
DEQ and Dow Agree On Framework
The Department of Environmental Quality announced today that an agreement has been reached with the Dow Chemical Company on framework to begin immediate work towards the cleanup of dioxin contamination in Midland, along the Tittabawassee River, the Saginaw River, and Saginaw Bay.
"The framework establishes a path for cleanup focused around our strong commitment to healthy people, healthy communities, and a healthy economy," said Lieutenant Governor John Cherry. "It is the result of hard work and a will to reach agreement by both parties."
Developed consistent with Dow’s existing Hazardous Waste Operating License, the framework requires Dow to take immediate actions to reduce citizen exposure to dioxin. These actions, called "interim response activities", are DEQ approved plans that focus first on areas where the risk of exposure to dioxin is the greatest in the city of Midland and along the Tittabawassee River (Priority 1 Areas). Specifically, activities will be focused on Corning Lane, a neighborhood north of the Dow facility; a neighborhood east of Corning Lane in Midland; and residential properties on the Tittabawassee River Floodplain where the home or the yard close to the home was inundated during the March 2004 flood.
Dow may use a variety of measures to mitigate exposure to contaminants including, but not limited to, covering exposed soils and house cleaning. Exposure barriers will be put in place no later than December 31, 2005 and will be maintained until Dow initiates a DEQ-approved final cleanup action plan. Work will begin on the areas flooded by the March 2004 flood along the Tittabawassee River not included in Priority 1 Areas, in January 2006 (Priority 2 Areas).
"The framework enables us to take immediate actions while we continue to develop a responsible, science based, final resolution to the situation for residents, our communities, and the Mid-Michigan region," said Susan Carrington, Vice President and Director of the Michigan Dioxin Initiative for Dow Chemical.
In addition to these steps, Dow will undertake further interim actions to address long term cleanup efforts. These actions include:
Dow will have the opportunity to study the bioavailability of dioxin in soils and use that information to propose potential area-wide or site-specific cleanup criteria for this "off-site" dioxin contamination. The DEQ will consider the results of such study and Dow’s proposed criteria in accordance with state law. DEQ and Dow will further define Dow’s responsibilities for areas beyond the Dow plant site through future agreements.
The DEQ and Dow will engage the public in discussions on the various activities described in the framework as they are developed and implemented. Additional opportunities to provide outreach to the public on the status of immediate actions undertaken and future remedial action will be announced in the coming weeks. Dow, with participation from the DEQ, will schedule outreach sessions with numerous stakeholders, including families and property owners within the Priority 1 Areas described in the framework to explain the process and any potential impact on their properties.
"This framework ensures that the cleanup activities undertaken by Dow will be protective of human health and the environment," said DEQ Director Steven E. Chester. "As we move forward, we welcome the public’s participation in developing a comprehensive resolution of Dow’s corrective action responsibilities."
The framework, along with a map showing Priority 1 and 2 Areas, can be viewed online on Thursday, January 20, 2005 atwww.mi.gov/deqdioxin.
Editor’s note: DEQ news releases are available on the department’s Internet home page atwww.michigan.gov/deq.