Little new information at session

Friday, November 11, 2005

In Biblical terms, they covered everything from Genesis to Malachi. Revelation is still to come.

The state Department of Environmental Quality and Dow Chemical Co. staged a dioxin forum heavy in history and light in new data this week at the first of its quarterly meetings.

Officials spoke of dioxin advisories dating to 1978, of soil samples taken downstream of Dow's Midland plant and of studies that someday will shine a brighter light on dioxin's effect on humans.

They spoke of new warning signs that would appear along the Tittabawassee and Saginaw rivers and talked of landscaping projects that Dow has undertaken to reduce dioxin exposure along the river.

For regular meeting-goers, it was nothing new.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service offered an exception. Officials reported for the first time that they will assess the impact of dioxin on natural resources along the Tittabawassee River. Even then, they had few details.

Daniel Essenmacher, 21, attended the near three-hour session to get extra credit in a biology class at Delta College.

With little knowledge about dioxin and no ties to any homeowner, regulator or Dow employee who might have had a stake in the discussion, he watched the meeting with fresh eyes. He walked away disappointed.

"Nobody really got anywhere," said Essenmacher, a native of Wheeler.

Essenmacher said the meeting was little more than a he-said-she-said affair.

The new data will come, said DEQ spokesman Robert McCann. This was simply the catch-up course.

"This was an introductory meeting," he said. "We didn't want to get bogged down in too much detail because it's going to fly over some people's heads. But come February, we are going to have a lot of new data."

Quarterly meetings are scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 9; Wednesday, May 10; and Wednesday, Aug. 9. Information also is available online at . v

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.