Dow outlines plan for dioxin in floodplain

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

PAUL WYCHE
THE SAGINAW NEWS

MIDLAND—Dow Chemical Co. today revealed its plan to deal with dioxin release woes that have more than 200 property owners in the Tittabawassee River floodplain seeking legal damages.

The company’s "scope of work" effort includes short- and long-term goals for handling the situation.

Susan Carrington, director of sustainable development at Dow’s Michigan Operations, said the plan doesn’t affect the pending lawsuit.

The company’s actions will include:

Dow working with the community to immediately start soil testing at Freeland Festival Park, Imerman Memorial Park and West Michigan Park.

The plan may feature hand wash stations for park visitors and covering playground areas and pathways.

Dow consulting with residents on Riverside Boulevard in Thomas Township, where higher levels of dioxin were reported by the state Department of Environmental Quality, and offer to conduct soil and blood sampling as part of an exposure evaluation.

The company addressing questions about consuming wild game from the area by conducting a preliminary evaluation of wild game.

Establishing a community information center for the public to review relevant documents and information. Dow will provide information to residents to better understand what is known, what the company is doing, and what residents can do to minimize their exposure.

Floodplain resident Mary Whitney said she is not impressed.

"’Let’s not be proactive, let’s be reactive’ seems to be (their motto)," she said.

"The DEQ is already doing testing, so I don’t know what good Dow’s testing will do. I mean, this is the DEQ we’re talking about."

In May, 22 homeowners filed a lawsuit against the state and Dow seeking compensation.

Along the 22-mile section of the Tittabawassee, there are some 2,500 lots. Lawyers for the homeowners have requested Saginaw County Chief Circuit Judge Leopold P. Borrello to classify the case as a class-action lawsuit.

State officials have begun additional testing to see how far the dioxin has spread.

Wastewater from Dow has flowed from the plant into the Tittabawassee for decades, although the company has reduced dioxin emissions to small amounts in recent years. t

Paul Wyche covers business for The Saginaw News. You may reach him at 776-9674.

© 2003 Saginaw News.