River Watch www.trwnews.net
9/29/03 Why is the EPA's Dioxin Toxicity Reassessment Report never going to be published?
What ever happened to the EPA's Dioxin Toxicity Reassessment Report? Click here for some reasons behind the delay. Article is from 2000, just before it was believed the Clinton administration was going to release the report. In case you have not heard, the new Bush administration has delayed it again by sending it to the NAS for review as the EPA developed a case of amnesia and could not reach a consensus.
Dow's lawyers are now "clarified". Judge Leopold Borrell denied Dow's
request for a 6 + month delay before moving to trial on Class Certification.
The Judge said there is sufficient evidence at this time to move forward. The Class
Certification court session has been moved to 12/18/03 so that each side time can submit
interrogatories to their opponent and have a chance to object to requests at a hearing
scheduled for 10 a.m. Oct. 13.
Today, MDEQ released preliminary results of dioxin testing on a Tittabawasse River residents property located in Freeland. The most frighting result was found literally at their back door. 242 ppt TEQ was measured at the surface. This is almost 3 times the states maximum level Residential Direct Contact Criteria (RDCC) of 90 ppt TEQ. THE HOME IS AT LEAST 20 FEET ABOVE THE FLOOD PLAIN AND A 100 FEET FROM THE WATERS EDGE AT THE CREST OF THE 1986 FLOOD.
This development opens a 'floodgate' of questions and concerns. How did it get
there? At this point, possible causes are speculative. However, a former
resident of the area states that many years ago, it was common practice to scrape up the
flood plain soil and use as back fill in the property lying above the flood plain to
increase the size of a home's building site.
The scope of the Dow's SOW currently under development MUST be expanded to include ALL
property adjacent to the Tittabawasse river, regardless of it's "flood
plain" status. The practice of backfilling building sites was probably not
unique to this property. Further more, Dow must take IMMEDIATE ACTION to protect
residents identified with contamination within their immediate living space.
The above testing results where made know to Dow representatives at tonight's public SOW meeting.
Sources indicate local Saginaw Real Estate agents are advising potential sellers of flood plain property to NOT disclose dioxin contamination to potential buyer. This advise is in direct violation of Michigan's Act 451, part 201 rules which require disclosure by the owner. If you receive this advise, get the Realtor to put in in writing and check with your lawyer. Following this advise may set you up for future lawsuits when the new owners discovers they where deceived.
This is a terrible situation for all flood plain property owners. Many of us are in a state of denial and think if we ignore it, it will go away. Unfortunately, the genie is out of the bottle. The MDEQ has classified your land as a Hazardous Waste Facility and you are obligated to follow the rules. Please take the time to learn more about the laws that now affect you. Click here to begin. Contact your lawyer before doing anything connected with selling or buying flood plain property.
If this situation makes you angry, you are in good company. Channel your anger in the proper direction, click here to learn more.
Part 201 of Michigan's Act 451 of 1994 addresses Environmental Remediation of contaminated sites. The rules of Part 201 are used to regulate Dow's remediation plan for it's dioxin contamination of Tittabawassee 100 year flood plain. The same rules now apply to private property in the 100 year flood plain now classified as Hazardous Waste Facilities. Click here for actual Part 201 documents.
DEQ Announces Public Meetings on Dow Scopes of Work for Remedial
Today, Dow Chemical filed papers in Saginaw Circuit Court demanding a hearing to
"Clarify" the September 10th order by Judge Borrello to proceed on Class Action
Certification and trial scheduling.
9/16/03 New, simplified MDEQ web site address for Tittabawasse Dioxin
A new, simplified web address option for accessing DEQ information about the
Tittabawassee River Flood Plain Contamination site. You now have the
option to use a simplified web address:
9/13/03 Dr. Suzanne White, M.D. presentation on Dioxin Toxicity and Human Health Effects
here to download and view powerpoint presentation made at the ATSDR/MDEQ public
"Dioxin concerns me, the more I read about it, the more concerned I become.
Why am I here? I can sum it up in three words - for the children."
Today, Judge Borrello has denied Dow's request to reconsider allowing the
For more informaiton on the lawsuit, click here.
Video presentation on Dioxin Health Effects by Dr. Birnbaum of the EPA Saginaw River Dioxin
Update on Community Advisory Panel and Scope of Work Dow Lawsuit update
Future meetings and agendas
Watch for future meeting schedules on our Meeting page
9/9/03 Dow Chemical release of divinylbenzene Tuesday evening in MIdland.
"accidental" chemical releases from the Dow site are routine (especially in
Please take note and share MDEQ 24 hour hotline for pollution emergencies
9/9/03 Dow Chemical Scope of Work Woefully Inadequate: Lone Tree Council Press Release
Activists and Citizens Propose More Aggressive Cleanup
Gathered in Imerman Park, one of the most contaminated parks in Saginaw County, environmental activists and citizens criticized Dow Chemical Companys recent response to dioxin contamination in the Tittabawassee River, and proposed actions they said would be more protective of human health.
The activists noted that the Scope of Work (SOW) Plan submitted by Dow Chemical to address its dioxin contamination of the Tittabawassee River Floodplain was delaying clean-up by continuing calls for more sampling and ignoring the immediate exposure of people in the floodplain.
"The SOW not only fails to address the immediate pathways of exposure but delays, the necessary cleanup," said Lone Tree Councils Michelle Hurd-Riddick. "Dow should be doing a range of things from relocating families in heavily contaminated areas to dredging to shore stabilization."
Lone Tree Council, the Saginaw Bay Watershed environmental group that disclosed the contamination in the Tittabawassee River after a Freedom of Information Act request, is calling on Dow Chemical of Midland Michigan to drop its pursuit of more testing and take six immediate steps to protect public health down stream in the Tittabawassee River floodplain.
"For decades, Dow has been able to stall cleanup in Midland by influence peddling and by calling for more studies. This cannot be permitted to happen here on the Tittabawassee River Floodplain, " said Sandy Mannion, long time Midland County activist.
It is Lone Tree's position that an adequate Scope of Work must immediately address Dow's contaminant in the following ways: (see press release below for details)
09/09/03 Wall Streel Journal: U.S. Opposes EU effort to test chemicals for Health Hazards
Important article in the Wall Street Journal about the way the US chemical industry, notably DOW, is controlling the US Government's position on important European chemical policy initiatives that could have implications here in the US. The article is based on leaked internal memos outlinging the US Government/chemical industry strategy.
To learn more about the European initiatives and their US implications, the Ecology Center is hosting a policy briefing in Lansing on September. Click here for all the details
09/06/03 Meeting Schedule page added to trwnews.org web site
Click here or on Meetings in the menu to the left.
09/05/03 MDEQ responds to issues raised during CAP 9/3/03 meeting
MDEQ George Bruckman, chief of Waste & Hazardous Materials Division of MDEQ, issues a follow-up to questions and/or issues raised during CAP meeting by it's members. Check out the CAP page for additional details about the Community Advisory Panel.
09/05/03 Community Advisory Panel page added to trwnews.org web site.
A new page has been added to this web site documenting CAP activities. The
Community Advisory Panel was formed to provide input to the Michigan Department of
Environmental Quality (DEQ) on issues related to corrective action activities for Midland
area soil contamination and Tittabawassee/Saginaw River sediment and floodplain soil
contamination. Contents include meeting schedules, meeting summaries, related
documents, media coverage, and TRW opinions. Click here
or on CAP in the menu to the left.
From Maureen Corser Saginaw County League of Women Voters
09/03/03 Dow attempting to alter Judge Borrello's decision on Medical Monitoring claim?
Rumor has it that Dow has filed some sort of motion asking Judge Borrello to reconsider
9/3/03 Plaintiff's in Dow Chemical Dioxin Lawsuit grows to 266.
For additional information on the Dow Chemical lawsuit, click here.
8/25/03 Dow, "Butt out", editorial comment from concerned citizen.
"I cannot believe the nerve, audacity and gall of Dow Chemical to stand up like
they did last week at the Freeland HS meeting and tell residents not to take part in the
Exposure Study being done by Michigan Public Health Department. What, we are suppose to
trust Dow? I don't think so. Dow needs to butt out, shut up and get out of the way and let
the state finally deal with this contamination. Not always one to trust government,
especially after the way Dow was coddled last year, but I think things are better now.
8/20/03 Why be concerned about dioxin? "For the children"
"Dioxin concerns me, the more I read about it, the more concerned I become.
Why am I here? I can sum it up in three words - for the children."
Dr. Whites comments where made during her presentation at the Freeland High School
public meeting hosted by the MDCH August 20, 2003.
Her recommendations to limit exposure: do not eat fish caught in river, washing and peeling produce grown near river, and discouraging children from placing toys or dirty items in their mouths. For additional precautions recommended by the Michigan Department of Agriculture, click here.
It should also be noted that the head of the ATSDR, Dr. Henry Falk, M.D. attended the meeting to make a presentation and to meet with local residents to hear their concerns. The following day he made a tour to the entire flood plain as well as Dow Chemicals Midland plant. During his presentation, Dr. Falk said his agency receives 400-500 new cases each year. He went on to say that he personally could not visit every site and therefore limited visits to those sites with the greatest potential for exposing the public to harm.
For a recap of the meeting, check out local media coverage.
8/20/03 What really happened today with the lawsuit?
A lot of media attention and almost all totally misrepresented Judge Borrello's ruling on Dow Chemical's motion for summary disposition in the Henry v. The Dow Chemical Company lawsuit. To read or watch these stories would give the viewer the impression that Dow won and the flood plain victims lost. Nothing could be further from the truth. Here are the facts:
August 20, 2003
For immediate release
JUDGE ALLOWS MEDICAL MONITORING TO PROCEED AGAINST DOW
Yesterday, the Honorable Leopold P. Borrello issued his ruling on Dow Chemicals motion for summary disposition in Henry v. The Dow Chemical Company. This landmark toxic tort class action seeks property damages and the establishment of a medical monitoring trust fund because of years of dioxin pollution by Dow in the Tittabawassee River flood plain downstream of Dows World Headquarters. 180 plaintiffs have brought this class action, which is pending in the Circuit Court of Saginaw County, Michigan.
By virtue of Judge Borrellos order, the plaintiffs, property owners and residents of the Tittabawassee flood plain, may proceed on their property damage theories of nuisance, public nuisance, and negligence. In denying Dows motion for summary disposition as to the medical monitoring claim, Judge Borrello is allowing the plaintiffs to proceed on that theory as well despite significant objections by Dow. Dow was successful in striking two of plaintiffs property damage legal theories, but plaintiffs ability to seek full compensation for the lost value of their property remains unaffected.
"Overall, this was a huge victory for the plaintiffs and a big loss for Dow," said Jan Helder, the Kansas City-based lawyer representing the plaintiffs. "Dow spent most of its time and effort fighting the medical monitoring claim and lost. Dow did win some minor technical issues, but since Dow did not even attempt to attack our principal claims for lost property value, those claims remain in tact. In the final analysis, the plaintiffs may still seek the lost value for their real estate, a medical monitoring trust fund, and all damages allowed under Michigan law."
Any further inquires may be directed to Jan Helder at (816) 714-7111, (800) 714-0360, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
8/19/03 Judge Borrello issues opinion.
Late today, Judge Borrello issued an opinion and order granting summary disposition as to count II - Trespass; Count V - Strict Liability; and Claim for Punitive damages.
He Denied Dow's motion for summary judgement as to count VI- Medical Monitoring. Remaining counts stand: Count I - Nuisance, Count III Negligence, Count IV - public nuisance. Although punitive damages where denied, claims for exemplary and compensatory damages remain. More details to follow.
8/14/03 MDEQ preliminary review of Dow's SOW - needs lot's of work.
A few excerpts appear below, click here for entire summary.
Today, At the 11th hour, Dow submitted it's preliminary Scope of Work (SOW) to the MDEQ as mandated in it's new Hazardous Waste Site Operating License and Corrective Action Consent Order. This was not something Dow did on it's own recognizance to serve the public, rather, it was something the State of Michigan forced them to do after a long and drawn out battle. This is not an announcement of a solution to the problem.
Two SOW's where submitted, one for Tittabawassee River and flood plain, the other for soils outside Dow's facility in the Midland area. In summary, their purpose is as follows (links to actual document are at the end of this article):
Dows Hazardous Waste Site Operating License ("License"), Condition XI.B.2., issued on June 12, 2002, requires Dow to submit to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality ("MDEQ") for review and approval a Scope of Work ("SOW") for conducting Remedial Investigation ("RI") of the Midland area soils and the Tittabawassee River Sediments and Floodplain. The SOW outlines the general steps involved in the implementation of a RI, which will be elaborated upon in the RI Workplan that will be submitted to MDEQ for review and approval following approval of the SOW. The License also requires Dow to propose Interim Remedial Activities and a Public Participation Plan along with the SOW. The SOW is intended to be a preliminary outline that provides an overview of the contents of the RI Workplan that Dow will prepare after approval of the SOW by MDEQ. The RI Workplan will be developed by Dow working with the MDEQ after Dow and MDEQ receive public input on the SOW. As it is developed, the RI Workplan may vary from the SOW in its organization, task, prioritization of activities, or other aspects, subject to MDEQ approval.
After a very brief review of the SOW's, a few opinions by TRW (more in-depth analysis will follow):
Some good things:
Some bad things:
Accompanying the SOW release was the usual Dow PR spin-masters media blitz, consider the source before you believe anything you hear.
Below are copies of the actual preliminary SOW documents.
Hopefully, the Citizen Advisory Panel will be able to steer this process in the right direction.
8/8/03 Court update
Judge Borello was to issue ruling on Dow's motion for partial Summary Disposition this week.
Did not happen, the judge has been very busy and is trying to get to it as fast as he can.
The Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) will hold a public meeting on Wednesday, August 20, 2003 from 7:00 to 9:00 PM in the Freeland High School Auditorium located at 8250 Webster Road, Freeland, MI. The purposes of the meeting are:
8/3/03 Community Advisory Panel (CAP) Meeting Update
39 people attended 1st session. Panelist included MDEQ & MDCH staff (10), (18) local residents from Freeland, Saginaw, Midland, and Bay City, Tittabawassee Township officials (3), City of Midland officials (2), Saginaw & Midland county health departments (4), local radio media (1), and Dow Chemical (1). Note that counts are estimates, local citizens involved as individuals, business owners, or representatives of TRW, Lone Tree Council, and other environmental groups.
Agenda: Roles and Goals of CAP, Ground Rules/Expectations for Participants, Operation and Make-up of CAP, Overview of Corrective Action and Scope of Work Requirements and update on MDEQ work, Overview of Draft Tri-Count Project Coordination Plan/Community involvement Plan
Overview: A lot of background info presented by MDEQ, spirited debates on many topics including membership, ground rules, privacy, press/media & public meeting attendance, goals of group, and what to focus on 1st.
Minutes will be provided by MDEQ at a later date. Next meeting agenda topics to be submitted to Cheryl Howe by 8/29. Next meeting September 3rd, 2003.
Judge Borello may issue ruling on Dow's motion for partial Summary Disposition this week.
Update 8/3/03: Did not happen this week, maybe in week of August 4th.
7/28/03 Community Advisory Panel Planning meeting scheduled for 7/31/03
Th MDEQ is hosting the initial Community Advisory Panel (CAP) to provide input to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) on issues related to corrective action activities for Midland area soil contamination and Tittabawassee/Saginaw River sediment and floodplain soil contamination. The meeting will be held on Thursday, July 31, 2003 at the Thomas Township Library. If you are interested in attending please contact Ms Cheryl Howe at MDEQ. Her e-mail is email@example.com
Rules: 1. Read the two Scott Davis articles below and identify what's
different (besides the title).
We may post your
responses on our Citizen forum page . If you prefer to remain
*Note: Just kidding
about the free dirt, there is no prize. We cannot remove it due to
"In a study led by Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, in
collaboration with the
In total, the nine subjects carried:
ü76 chemicals linked to cancer in humans or animals (average of 53),
ü 94 chemicals that are toxic to the brain and nervous system (average of 62),
ü 86 chemicals that interfere with the hormone system (average of 58),
ü 79 chemicals associated with birth defects or abnormal development (average of 55),
ü 77 chemicals toxic to the reproductive system (average of 55), and
ü 77 chemicals toxic to the immune system (averageof 53). ..... "
The study found 15 of the 17 dioxins and furans tested for in all 9
people. All of these people never
The report addresses low dose toxicity in humans, why current testing
regulations are flawed,
Click here to view the
entire the 83 page document (1.45 MB pdf file)
TO RESUME AGAIN IN SEPTEMBER
Community Advisory Panel Future TRW meetings July 21, 2003 10 A.M. Court session
7/12/03 Additional Dioxin Plaintiffs Sue Dow Chemical - Number Grows from 26 to 219
Plaintiffs file brief in opposition to Dows motion for summary dispostion
7/11/03 Next Dow Dioxin Lawsuit Session Monday 7/21/03 10 a.m. Saginaw County Circuit Court
7/1/03 U.S. needs to act to reduce dioxins, panel says
The U.S. government needs to help its citizens reduce their exposure to dioxins, in part by encouraging healthy eating, an expert panel said on Tuesday. (National Academies of Sciences Institute of Medicine)
"Since fetuses and infants are especially sensitive to the effects of toxic compounds, one part of the government's action plan should be an effort to reduce girls' and women's exposure to dioxins in foods during the years well before childbearing, so that less of these compounds accumulate in their bodies and are passed on through the placenta and breast milk," the Institute said in a statement. Click here for the entire article
6/30/03 Latest MDEQ maps and chart of Dioxin Contamination locations
Tittabawassee & Saginaw
River/Bay Sediment & Floodplain Soil data in ppt TEQ