Dioxin Update
Lone Tree Council and TRW

March 22 , 2008 #115


 Henry et al v Dow


The Michigan Court of Appeals has denied Dow Chemical's request for reconsideration in granting class action status for residents living in the Tittabawassee River floodplain for property damage due to their dioxin contamination.  This was in response Dow’s Motion for Reconsideration filed February 14, 2008 regarding the Michigan State Appeals Court January 2008 decision to grant Class Action Certification to the Tittabawassee floodplain residents case against Dow Chemical.


Presentation to the Saginaw County Board of Health


Special thanks and kudos to the Saginaw County Department of Public Health for bringing in MDCH fish toxicology guru, Kory Groetch (March 5th) to discuss the fish advisories and fish consumption of contaminated fish in the Saginaw Bay Watershed.  Kory identified the most highly contaminated fish and the minority populations/indigent population eating those fish for subsistence, cultural or accessibility reasons. 


Dr. Varner, Medical Director, for the Saginaw County Health Department encouraged those in attendance to work together to find ways to engage the at risk community who are consuming these highly contaminated fish from our waterways.  


There was also discussion in the MDCH presentation about the limitations of the Dow funded University of Michigan Dioxin Exposure study. The limitations were discussed in terms of who was not tested, like children and pregnant women, as well as the limitations due to lack of all the data being released and the small number of highly contaminated properties which were sampled AND  the lack of sampling data for fish eaters from local waters.


 In addition, Dr. Varner did a great job in this week's Saginaw News (Letter to the Editors) cautioning the public about the possible implications of eating contaminated fish.



What’s in and what’s coming up


Sampling data is in on the middle Tittabawassee River and we are told MDEQ is going through it to put in perspective for the public. We are three months into 2008 and keeping our fingers crossed for minimal flooding on the T-river AND for an early quick start on sampling further on down the river by Dow Chemical.


The end of March the company is required to submit their sediment trap studies to address the migration of dioxin to Lake Huron.


Of course Dow is grousing about having to deal with MDEQ and EPA in what the company is calling  a

" bifurcation that creates an artificial division" .......... Dow feels it is not effective or efficient nor does it provide for a final remedy. In all honesty, Dow's posturing is pathetic. No final remedy will be forthcoming until  the sampling is completed and the final landscape of their contamination is visible. How to progress with the final remedy is a ways off. Dow's incessant delays, as articulated by EPA, are the only thing hampering progress.


You can read Dow's letter at http://www.michigan.gov/documents/deq/deq-whm-hwp-dow-Cochran-2-8-2008-letter_226943_7.pdf.


And MDEQ and EPA response at:



Of course Dow is going put up a fuss and their apologists are going to go into anti-regulatory overdrive and bash MDEQ and EPA at every chance. Let's face it.......this decades old problem saw more results with MDEQ and EPA working together last summer than in thirty years. 


Sunshine Week  March but not for Midland or the DMDF

This past week was sunshine week. This is a national effort, highlighted and celebrated during March, about the importance of open government and freedom of information. Participants include print, broadcast and online news media, civic groups, libraries, non-profits, schools and others interested in the public's right to know and people’s right to open and transparent government. ( from the sunshine web site) Sunshine--- it keeps government and elected officials honest and it and creates a level playing field for taxpayers, citizens and individuals to participate as equals in their government. So where do we need a little sunshine?


Residents in Midland attempting to assess the impact of the coal-fired plant are looking for soil sampling data for dioxins, furans and other contaminants in their community. Wisely, they want to address the cumulative impact of pollution in and around Midland—they want all the information and are entitled to it by law. Classic case of citizens put in a position unable to fully participate in the debate of the day. Why? Midland officials took this “public information” and hid it away in a double blind process, with a private law firm not subject to the Freedom of Information Act. It is illegal. This data is public under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.


Somebody needs to ask what’s up with this boondoggle. The dredge site on the Saginaw River needs sunlight to disinfect the mildew and odor caused by the lack of light on the process. Saginaw County’s Public Works Director, Jim Koski, has pulled the request for groundwater permits. Doesn't think they're needed anymore. It’s been three years and there is no Operational Management Plan. Of late we are told the Corp of Engineers doesn't think a slurry wall to contain highly contaminated sediments is needed.  No slurry wall  and no ground water permits! Yet it was the Corp and the county who have argued before the courts (federal and local) and public that stringent permitting and design would make this site state of the art. What's changed.

The 401 certificate issued for this site, in accordance with the Clean Water Act is predicated on an approved Operational Management Plan, the slurry wall/containment and this site having the necessary permits to protect people and resources. It was obvious early last year there was no money to do this project correctly.  Underestimating costs is a chronic problem of the Corp of Engineers for many projects across this country. The taxpayers of Saginaw County own this site. There is HUD funding being utilized. How about a little inquiry and some sunshine?

Please visit the Sunshine Week web site at the link below and embrace how your government was intended to work.  http://www.sunshineweek.org/sunshineweek/about


Detroit Free Press on our Sweet Water Seas


Great Lakes states must protect every drop they can
Editorial comment


Water quality can no longer stay in the back seat to worries about the water quantity of the Great Lakes. There is too much going wrong.





The Freep brings it home as always. We all love and cherish these Great Lakes of ours. Cleaning them up, protecting them, stopping the migrations of dioxin to Lake Huron and ridding the Saginaw Bay of the muck and sewage.........conserving this resource, edible fish and  swimmable waters  should be our collective goal as inhabitants of Michigan’s largest watershed. The importance of this water resource isn't up for debate------  it dictates our quality of life and its restoration will be a large part of our regional economic recovery. Commit and embrace the watershed you call home!


Best Regards,



Michelle Hurd Riddick

Lone Tree Council



Source: Lone Tree Council / TRW

For additional articles like this one, go to the Tittabawassee River Watch web site www.trwnews.net. for complete coverage of the Tittabawassee River Dow Chemical dioxin contamination saga.. The source organization's web site link is listed above. The Newspaper / Media page of our site contains an extensive archive of media articles dating back to January 2002. The Newspaper / Media page may be accessed by scrolling down to the bottom of the CONTENTS section and clicking on the Newspaper/Media link.