Dioxin Update
Lone Tree Council and TRW
January 20th 2007 # 81
www.trwnews.net
 
 
Poor decision to receive and file DMDF resolution
 
Tuesday night the County Services committee of the Board of Commissioners ( BOC) voted to receive and file the resolution introduced by Commissioner Novak. The language in the resolution, in keeping with the commitment to the residents of Saginaw County, stated that the slurry pit (DMDF) would only accept navigational dredgings intended to keep the Saginaw River open to ship traffic and prohibiting third party use of the pit.  In receiving and filing this document the commissioners have chosen to not take a position against Dow Chemical's use of the DMDF.  
 
We the taxpayers are liable for any problems with the site. The highly contaminated sediments from Dow Chemical do not belong in the DMDF on the Saginaw River.  Having said that I will tell you the Corp's attorney stated in Federal court on Monday this past week  that they alone have authority over third party use of this site. A position the Saginaw County attorney did not argue.  So assuming the county has no control over the DMDF the resolution may well be moot. Nonetheless we have seen politicians pontificate and "go on the record" with regard to many issues of the day. Yet they chose to receive and file this on a motion from Commissioner Wurtzel of Thomas Twp.
 
If the Corp is correct, the Saginaw County BOC essentially committed the taxpayers of Saginaw County  to liability for a project we have no control over? Did Jim Koski tell the board they had no control over who could use the site?
 
County Services received and filed this even in light of Dow Chemical admitting they want to use the DMDF in the event the DEQ ever makes them do any cleanup along the river. To reiterate, meetings ( according to DEQ documents) have taken place with DEQ, The Corp of Engineers, Saginaw County Public Works Commissioner and Dow Chemical's attorney and consultant to discuss the DMDF. Dow will be using this site and I would find no reassurance in the promise that the permitting process will be stringent, transparent or public.
  
Request for Operational Management Plan Denied
 
As was mentioned in the previous Dioxin Update, Lone Tree Council attempted to obtain a
copy of the October 2006 Operational Management Plan. Since DEQ shared these plans  in the past as part of the agencies commitment to transparency we assumed obtaining the most recent OMP would be no problem. WRONG. All of a sudden DEQ doesn't want to share the OMP. In a letter of denial DEQ cited the following for their denial " a deliberative process concerning enforcement action(s) related to the Saginaw River Dredge Disposal Materials Facility".   Won't speculate at this point what that means but it can't be good. Would also think that the county might want to ask what that enforcement action is since they have committed the taxpayers.
 
Freedom of Information Act Document on the October 2006 Operational Management Plan
 
As a result of a FOIA request by Bay City resident John Witucki we do have a one page document of comments submitted by one DEQ staff with regard to the October 2006 OMP. The one the  DEQ will not share. The one page document of comments are concerning.  Dated November 3, 2006 one DEQ official comments:
  

"Dave, here are the comments from WHMD on the Operational Management Plan for the Upper Saginaw River DMDF dated October 19, 2006. I have attached a copy of the October 19, 2005 comments that the DEQ made on the previous version of the Operational Management Plan underlining the comments that were not addressed in the current version.

In addition to the attached comments in the attachment a number of other issues have arisen due to the recent construction activities at the DMDF which include:

The text mentions contamination with dioxins and furans (top of page 2). It should also more accurately reflect the wide range of contamination of organics, BCCs, heavy metals, and nutrients, as known to date, and put into context that the highly contaminated sediments ought to be limited from ecological exposures and cause chemical releases to the watershed by a contained upland disposal facility.

There are no plans for the design included in the submital.

Where did they put the sand they excavated with the soils from the bottoms to build the dikes? Was the sand place into the constructed dikes? If so, than the plan and design might not be accurate to state that the perimeter dikes and cross-section dikes are built of clay.

What is the fix for the moat created when clay/sand was excavated and the dikes were built of clay and sand, and the sand lenses brought in groundwater to the moat? How is the moat to be filled, compacted, stabilized in place? What quality control is there for the compaction of wet moat backfill if that is done? Is the moat water discharged somewhere (past or future?) and are there approved NPDES construction controls for this storm water discharge?

Are dikes seeded, grassed, and therefore to be mowed? I doubt mowing is possible on 2.5 to 1 slopes; however, the plan is very poor in not defining or providing plans to make it clear what the outside dike slope is.

What vegetation is acceptable on the outside, top, and inside slopes. The plan is not definitive. In fact, it states that "vegetative growth will take place and further limit wildlife exposures in the site." How does this happen? Where? Why? I think wildlife generally lives within and amongst vegetation.

The Appendix A check sheet for inspections is not included in the draft plan.

 

The dikes should have at least 2 feet of freeboard above the current 100 yr flood elevation, or they will be submerged by larger sized rain storms and snowmelt events that also generate greater flows due to greater runoff rates from the developing Saginaw River watershed. The predicted 100-yr flood elevation has risen on tributaries and the S.R. over the past 30 yrs and will continue to rise in the future."

 
 
As stated in the first paragraph of this communication items identified in 2005 and not addressed one year later were underlined. The October 2005 document  will be on www.dredgeitright.org later this week. Unbelievable that one year later some of the key issues not addressed include : ANNUAL REPORTING, PERIODI INSPECTIONS, DISPOSAL OF PRIVATE DREDGING , PERPETUAL CARE AND INITIAL SITE DESIGN
  
Stay tuned..........
 
Michelle Hurd Riddick
Lone Tree Council
 
“Access to public information in a timely and effective manner is a vital piece of our democratic system of checks and balances that promotes accountability and imbues trust.”.......Senator Patrick Leahy

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.