Mary and Greg Whitney of Saginaw live along the Tittabawassee River, downstream from Dow Chemical's Midland plant. The Whitneys and other area residents sued the company for polluting the river. / December 2007 photo by ERIC SEALS/Detroit Free Pre
The fine is part of a negotiated settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency, and it still is subject to public comment and final approval. The violations that EPA investigators found have been corrected.
The violations included cracking and pitting of structures that keep hazardous materials out of the environment and failures in testing, monitoring, leak detection, recordkeeping and reporting under various environmental regulations.
Dow said in a news release that some of the violations were because of the company and the EPA interpreting regulations differently.
"While there has been no harm to human health or the environment with regard to these findings, we have taken corrective action and implemented measures to prevent recurrence," Earl Shipp, vice president of Michigan Operations, said in a statement.
However, the agencies said the violations may have led to the release of hazardous air and water pollutants, including into the nearby Tittabawassee River.
"Today's settlement with Dow will reduce the potential for future violations and protect communities from emissions of hazardous air pollutants," said Cynthia Giles of the EPA's Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance.
The EPA and state environmental regulators are working separately to settle other past violations at the plant that led to extensive dioxin and furan contamination of the Tittabawassee and Saginaw rivers, as well as Saginaw Bay. A number of residents with properties along the contaminated rivers have sued Dow over that contamination; some cleanups of properties are under way.
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