EPA attorney: Resident relocation from Superfund sites rare occurrence
Published: Monday, April 18, 2011, 9:45 PM Updated: Tuesday, April 19, 2011, 8:51 AM
By Lindsay Knake | The Saginaw News

KOCHVILLE TWP. — Resident relocation at Superfund sites is a rare event, said a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency attorney.

EPA attorney Catherine Garypie was on hand at Monday's Saginaw-Tittabawassee Rivers Contamination Community Advisory Group meeting to shed more light on the EPA's relocation process.

It is always EPA's preference to address risk using engineering methods which allow people and businesses to stay in place, she said.

"It's really pretty extraordinary that we consider relocation," Garypie said. "We have the ability to do cleanups in so many different ways."

Community members at past advisory group meetings had asked the EPA why relocation was not an option.

The advisory group is made up community members to give recommendations to the EPA about the Great Lakes Bay Region dioxin cleanup.

The group meets at 6 p.m. every third Monday of each month at Saginaw Valley State University’s Curtiss Hall, 7400 Bay in Kochville Township.

Dioxin is a group of chemical byproducts from combustion. People exposed to the human carcinogen can delay motor skills and neurodevelopment in children and impact growth, metabolism and reproductive hormones. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 95 percent of Americans have dioxins in their blood.

Whether the EPA considers relocation is related to the condition of the Superfund, Garypie said. If environmental contamination poses a high threat to human health or response actions threaten the safety of residents, before the EPA would consider temporarily or permanently removing all people, businesses and organizations from the area, she said.

In permanent relocation, the site must post an immediate risk to human health with no ready cleanup available, she said.

In the Great Lakes Bay Region, she said, "contaminated sediments have been dealt with both through dredging and capping."

People who have been relocated noted stress, social disruption, inability to find a comparable home, increased taxes and utilities and new residences and dissatisfaction with appraisal process, she said.

The EPA is hosting a public comment period starting April 22 for a proposed plan for an island in the Tittabawassee River. Island MM has shown erosion and has a high concentration of furans, said EPA Interim Cleanup Manager Mary Logan.

http://www.mlive.com/news/saginaw/index.ssf/2011/04/dioxin_community_action_group.html


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