Lone Tree Council and TRW
January 20th 2007 # 81
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
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.
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."
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
“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
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.