30 percent of homeowners along Tittabawassee River declined EPA's early dioxin cleanup
 Published: Tuesday, October 18, 2011, 10:10 AM Updated: Tuesday, October 18, 2011, 1:01 PM By Lindsay Knake | The Saginaw News

KOCHVILLE TWP. — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has visited homes along the Tittabawassee River to implement early cleanup to prevent residents from coming into contact with dioxin-contaminated soil.

Diane Russell, remedial project manager at the EPA’s Saginaw Field Office, reported at Monday’s Saginaw-Tittabawassee Rivers Contamination Community Advisory Group meeting the work is nearly done for the season

More than 130 properties were assessed for dioxin exposure and more than 40 residents agreed to allow the EPA to do the work. Cleanup measures included removing and capping soil and moving play equipment and gardens.

About 30 percent of residents declined to allow the EPA do complete the work on their properties.

This work was done ahead of the interim cleanup that's started in Midland and will continue downriver over the next few years.

Dioxins are a group of chemicals that are a byproduct of combustion. Dow Chemical has acknowledged leaking the chemicals into the Tittabawassee River from the 1930s to the 1970s. The chemical giant and EPA have an agreement to cleanup the pollution, to be paid for by Dow.

The company has spent more than $36 million on the cleanup.

Mary Logan, EPA interim cleanup project manager, said the EPA is reviewing comments from the Aug. 1 to Sept. 15 public comment period on Segment 1 of the Tittabawassee River and will make changes to the proposed cleanup plan if necessary.

Segment 1 is a three-mile stretch of river adjacent to Dow Chemical Co.’s Midland plant. Dioxins are not the main chemical at that location, but problematic chemicals include arsenic.

Work at Reach MM Island, a heavily contaminated island near near Weiss Street and M-47 in Saginaw Township, is completed, the EPA reported. Dow workers removed sediment below the water line and capped the island. The workers then rebuilt the small island with river rock and native plants. The EPA was concerned with the island eroding and carrying dioxins down the river.

Also at Monday's meeting, Dr. David Garabrant, leader of the University of Michigan Dioxin Exposure Study, presented the methods, results and conclusions of the study.

The eight-year study, which tested how dioxins are getting into the human population, concluded dioxins must be ingested through food. Soil and dust contamination will not have an effect on a person's dioxin blood levels.

The next Saginaw-Tittabawassee Rivers Contamination Community Advisory Group meeting is 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Dec. 12 at Saginaw Valley State University’s Curtiss Hall, 7400 Bay. The group canceled the November meeting because of the Thanksgiving holiday and moved the December meeting ahead one week because of Christmas.
 

http://www.mlive.com/news/saginaw/index.ssf/2011/10/30_percent_of_homeowners_along.html


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