'Dioxinlike' hot spots near Wickes
Tuesday, November 13, 2007 AMY PAYNE
THE SAGINAW NEWS
Dow Chemical Co. crews have discovered some ''hot spots of dioxin like material'' in the Saginaw River near Wickes Park, a company spokesman said.
Preliminary test levels on a sample in the surface soil of the river taken last week measured 1.6 million parts per trillion of the substance, said Dow spokesman John C. Musser, who added that levels of 1,000 parts per trillion are enough for possible corrective action.
A foot deeper than that sample, the soil came back at levels that barely registered. The contaminated zone comprises about 12 feet of water, Musser said.
''At this point we believe it's not a large deposit,'' Musser said. ''We don't believe there's any imminent threat to human health or the environment at this point.''
The dioxin-like compounds likely are the remains of waste material from Dow plants at the turn of the 20th century, Musser said. The site is at the junction of the Tittabawassee and Shiawassee rivers in the Saginaw River.
''These are deposits that have been there for roughly a hundred years,'' he said.
Dow is working with the federal Environmental Protection Agency and the state Department of Environmental Quality to remove the contaminated soil.
Dow leaders hope to hustle to beat the winter frost, Musser said.
''We're working as expeditiously as we can at this point,'' he said.
City Manager Darnell Earley updated City Council members on the cleanup at Monday's meeting.
''We were notified that there were some hot spots and that they were working with the regulatory agencies to remediate the problem,'' he said.
Before World War I, Dow workers would wait for flood waters to rise and flush waste material away into the river, Musser said.
''At that time the method for waste treatment was basically 'dilute it with water,' '' Musser said. v
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