Cleanup called 'Band-Aid'

Thursday, March 03, 2005


Jeff Jacob suspected that more than river muck was in his carpet after the Tittabawassee River overflowed its banks last spring and submerged his Saginaw Township home.

People had talked about chemicals that may have washed ashore with the flood, and he didn't want to take any chances. Instead of cleaning his carpet and the underlying pad, Jacob decided to replace them both.

Jacob, 52, joined a handful of residents who met with Dow Chemical Co. officials Wednesday to discuss ways to reduce dioxin exposure on their properties.

The company is offering to clean homes, purge ventilation ducts and provide new landscaping for residents on the most contaminated properties along the Tittabawassee River -- measures mandated by the state Department of Environmental Quality.

The state has deemed Jacob's home on West Michigan one of those "Priority 1" properties, meaning it contains dioxin levels exceeding 1,000 parts per trillion.

The state standard is 90 parts per trillion.

Jacob said he is no adversary of Dow. He isn't part of a lawsuit that claims the chemical giant has hurt property values and health. He just wants to see the river cleaned up.

This is a start, Jacob said of the interim cleanup, but it's not enough.

"This is a Band-Aid," he said. "Let's get to the real problem."

Dow invited 220 property owners and residents to informational forums at the Horizons Conference Center in Saginaw Township this week. The meetings are to educate residents about the options available for dioxin mitigation.

DEQ officials also attended.

Meetings were to conclude today.

Dow officials provided no timeframe for when mitigation will begin -- after the snow melts, they say -- but reported that they will have work completed by the end of 2005, as required by the state. v

Jeremiah Stettler is a staff writer at the Saginaw News. You may reach him at 776-9685.

© 2005 Saginaw News

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