Dow to post fish and soil advisories along Saginaw and Tittabawassee rivers

Detroit News / Associated Press
Saturday, August 20, 2005

BAY CITY -- Dow Chemical Co. will post signs along the Saginaw and Tittabawassee rivers to alert anglers about the safety of different types of fish, state officials said.

The move is aimed at addressing dioxin in the watershed.

High levels of the chemical have settled into the soil and river sediment along at least 22 miles of Tittabawassee River flood plain downstream from the chemical giant's headquarters in Midland.

Some fish in the river are unsafe to eat due to contamination. Others should only be eaten in moderation.

The fish advisories will run along a 50-mile stretch through Bay City and likely will be posted before winter, Al Taylor, a geology specialist with the state Department of Environmental Quality, told The Saginaw News.

He said he hopes agreements with Dow will soon be reached to post additional signs at boat launches and fishing spots in nearby Essexville and Bangor townships.

Dioxin -- a toxin linked to cancer, birth defects and other health problems -- was a byproduct of Dow processes dating back several decades. Under a remediation plan with the state DEQ, Dow must help reduce dioxin exposure.

Taylor said the signs are crucial because budget constraints mean the state Department of Community Health no longer prints fish advisories.

He said separate signs will carry warnings about contaminated soils in Midland and Saginaw.

Earlier this month, state officials said a majority of soil samples taken by Dow from along the Tittabawassee River show dioxin levels higher than what the government considers safe.

Taylor said additional soil samples taken from the Bay City area last year are being analyzed and investigators continue to collect samples.
 


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