Back Up NextTittabawassee River Watch   www.trwnews.net
WB01727_.gif (697 bytes)

TRW Archives 2007 1st quarter 01/01/07 - 03/31/07
WB01727_.gif (697 bytes)

03/31/07 U of M dioxin study on the road again

According to a Midland Daily News report, The U of M is about to release new statistical manipulations of their data.  Some consider this just another payment to Dow for the 15 million they spent on their dioxin exposure study.  IF they follow past practices, statistics will be used to diverted attention from the real fact that 50% (472) of the people tested had levels higher than the studies median (which is 28% higher than those in the rest of the nation). In preparation, review the MDCH Pilot Exposure Investigation results and consider the following:

bulletThe recent U/M Dioxin Exposure Study did not fully explain the significance of elevated dioxin blood serum levels found in Michigan residents. In addition, the U/M did not discuss many of the significant findings presented in the supplied data tables.
  1. When compared on a year 2005 to year 2005 basis, Michigan median serum levels are 70% higher than the national levels. This elevation is much greater than the 10% increase reported by the U/M. When compared on a mean, 95th percentile and maximum level basis, Michigan serum levels are from 52% to 125% higher than US levels.
  2. Dioxin serum levels in the Midland Dow Plume are lower than other Michigan areas. The U/M has kept the specific locations that were sampled confidential. However, based on data from previous soil sampling programs, more than 70% of the locations sampled in Midland by the U/M may have been two miles or more from the Dow incineration complex. Only 2 out of a total of 31 samples may have been taken in heavily contaminated neighborhoods. Although Midland serum levels are low compared to other Michigan study zones, average serum levels in Midland are still nearly 150% higher than the corresponding 2005 US level.
  3. The U/M found very high dioxin blood serum levels even in background areas believed to be regions of low dioxin contamination. Every Michigan area studied by the U/M was found to have dioxin serum levels significantly higher than 2005 US national levels. The study confirmed that dioxin contamination in Michigan is more wide-spread than previously believed and not just confined to the Midland/Saginaw area.

A comprehensive analysis of the U/M study, including information not discussed in the U/M report, can be found on at  www.MI-Dioxins.com  The website will only carry information related to the U/M dioxin blood serum report  and is produced by David Linhardt, a Chemical Engineer formerly employed by Dow.
 

bullet EPA Questions Applicability Of Key Dioxin Study To Michigan Cleanup
bullet EPA Region V is questioning the applicability of a recent landmark dioxin exposure study to a contentious dioxin cleanup near Dow Chemical Co.’s headquarters in Michigan, saying the study did not thoroughly target susceptible subpopulations and is not the type of information that forms the basis of remediation decisions.
bullet Moreover, EPA says that because background levels of dioxin—a suspected carcinogen—found in human blood are high enough to pose health risks, the elevated levels found in the study are of concern, since residents near the Dow site had 28 percent higher dioxin levels than the control group. “EPA is concerned about the dioxin blood levels in some local residents,” one Region V source says, since “a number of studies have confirmed a relationship between background levels [of dioxin in humans] and adverse health effects” such as diabetes, endometriosis, thyroid disorders, immune disorders and neurological impairments.

WB01727_.gif (697 bytes)

03/24/07  Dioxin on the move, 2 floods so far this month

The flood stage of the Tittabawassee River is
approximately 24 feet.  As the images below show,
flooding occurs on many properties at lower levels.

March 15, 2007
Hard to imagine anyone thinking they can predict where all the dioxin
laden soil lands after the flood, especially that 100,000 ppt "hot spot"
located a few miles upstream of where these photos were taken.

March 23, 2007Click here for more flood pictures from the past

March 23, 2007
Click here to watch a short video of the river in action
Before we knew about the dioxin
MDCH Warning:, people should take precautions when entering the flood plain: "There are some common sense steps you can take to limit your exposure to the dioxins found in the flood plain. If you have been playing or working in soil that could be contaminated, wash your skin to remove any dirt. Thorough hand washing is especially important before eating. Children playing outside should be prevented from putting toys or other dirty objects in their mouths. Clean fill dirt can be added over contaminated dirt in gardens, on lawns, and in play areas if dioxin contamination is known or suspected. However, if the area is flooded after clean fill is added, the surface soil could be re-contaminated. Care should be taken not to disturb the layer of clean soil covering the contaminated soil. Because they may be especially sensitive to dioxins, children should not play in soil or sediment that is known to contain elevated levels of dioxins. "

For more information concerning flooding in previous years, click here.

WB01727_.gif (697 bytes)

03/24/07  The Daubert Effect

Interesting article discussing methods used by corporations such as Dow to twist our Judicial system.  Below are a few excerpts:

"In the past the courts asked scientists to play gatekeeper by deciding what was good science--permissible in the courtroom--and what wasn't. But 1993 brought a dramatic shift. The Supreme Court ruled in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals that scientists should not be the ultimate arbiters of the quality of science. That power should be reserved for judges.
 ...
The decision brought the two disciplines into ugly conflict. Since Daubert, respected researchers have seen their legitimacy questioned, even rejected, by judges who may never have taken a college biology course. Cutting-edge science has been banished from courthouses. And juries, a fundamental element of the justice system, have been stripped of much of their power. "Daubert lets judges have much too much leeway to follow their personal inclinations," says Stanley Feldman, retired chief justice of the Arizona Supreme Court. "It's an interference in the jury process and wholly unneeded." Feldman says the 1993 ruling was written to address legitimate concerns about how science is used in courtrooms. But "the remedy," he says, "is worse than the problem." ...
But now rigorous science also gets thrown out. "There have been numerous examples where highly qualified scientists, sterling scientists, have been Dauberted out," says David Ozonoff, chair emeritus of Boston University's department of environmental health. That's because controversial lawsuits often turn on groundbreaking science--the type that attracts the best researchers and the type Daubert discourages.
 ...
In March 2006, for example, Dow Chemical persuaded a federal judge to exclude the opinions of three scientists including renowned North Carolina toxicologist Ken Rudo, who had concluded that groundwater contamination at a Louisiana trailer park increased residents' risk of cancer. The case was then dismissed. This wasn't unusual: The RAND Institute for Civil Justice, in a 2002 analysis of 400 lawsuits, found a marked upswing in summary judgments following Daubert. In 96 percent of those judgments, the defense prevailed.
 ...
Until significant changes take place, say Daubert critics, the system will continue to harm more than scientists' reputations--it will also harm ill and injured Americans. "We do need tools to make sure that bad science doesn't get to court," says David Michaels, a George Washington University epidemiologist who served as an assistant energy secretary during the Clinton Administration. "But Daubert is an imprecise tool, and its application has resulted in miscarriages of justice." "

Click here for the entire article posted on yahoo, source www.thenation.com

WB01727_.gif (697 bytes)

03/22/07  Class Action Suit Gets a Day in Court?

The Midland Daily News reports the Michigan Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments for the Dow Class-Action certification on May 7, 2007. 

Our comments:

I think the different branches of government in Michigan have lost touch with what truth and justice is for "the people", from past actions and decisions that have been made.  Therefore, I have no expectation one way or the other on what might happen.  But it is good to know that we finally do have an argument date that has been in the Court of appeals for a year and a half, holding our case in limbo.  No matter the outcome of Dow's appeal for class certification, we look forward to moving on to the merits of this case. 

Kathy Henry, TRW

Click here for 4 years of details  concerning the case.

WB01727_.gif (697 bytes)

03/21/07  Washington State to dredge dioxin

"Olympia, WA. Marine sediments, low oxygen levels, over 100 years of industry and other pollution, dioxins, and more - cleaning the southernmost tip of Puget Sound, Washington will be quite a feat.

Dioxin levels in the lower Budd Inlet are too high to safely dredge excessive sediment. Shellfish harvesting is off limits in the area due to safety concerns. During the summer months oxygen sinks too low, dangerous to marine life. ...."

Click here to read the article: toxic_water_toxic_soil_budd_inlet_and.html

According to the articles author, Charlotte McNamara, "The dioxin contents are high enough that soil to be dredged has to be properly disposed of (on land, not deeper into the sound). The current study being done is to determine the actual dioxin content, so sure facts are not yet available.

Sediment sampling in lower Budd Inlet last year revealed dioxin levels ranging from 0.1 ppt to 52.7 ppt. The dioxin limit set by state and federal agencies for disposing of marine sediments at a South Sound marine disposal site near Ketron and Anderson islands is 3.8 ppt. In Washington, the state toxic cleanup standard for dioxin found in residential soil is 6.67 ppt. "

The federal Clean Water Act requires states to clean up water bodies that don't meet water quality standards.

In Michigan, the state toxic cleanup standard for dioxin in residential soil (RDCC) is 90 ppt.  The Tittabawassee River sediment has over 100,000 ppt dioxin, flood plain soil sampling reveals levels greater than 8,000 ppt in our parks and dioxin levels in wildlife and humans are elevated.  State officials are still debating whether it is a problem.  What's wrong with this picture?

WB01727_.gif (697 bytes)

03/12/07 It's Time to think ahead  - A Planners Perspective

Developing a Regional Environmental Enhancement Plan of Action

In view of the Dow Chemical Company’s eventual decontamination of dioxin in Midland soils and in the Tittabawassee and Saginaw rivers and Lake Huron’s Saginaw Bay, may I suggest that the Counties of Midland, Saginaw and Bay and the State of Michigan collaborate in developing a regional environmental enhancement plan of action for the Tittabawassee River and Saginaw River corridors and the Saginaw Bay.

As for example, in the 1970s the Erie and Niagara Counties Regional Planning Board in Western New York oversaw an international study of the environmental enhancement of the Niagara River Corridor through Western New York and Ontario, Canada, from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario. The international environmental study examined the environmental status of the Niagara River Corridor in relation to pollution sources, geophysical features, land use and population concentrations, historic features, prominent buildings, highways and entranceways, and tourist activities concentrations. Possible conceptual solutions to environmental problems were considered through preparation of alternative design concepts for geographic areas within the river corridor and preparation of alternative river corridor “themes” for river system management. A preferred “design” concept was selected for each geographical area. Based on the improvement actions implied in the selected area design concepts, a series of environmental action programs, both short-range and long-range, were prepared for the entire Niagara River Corridor. These actions involved natural resources maintenance and enhancement, land use and transportation, aesthetics and prominent buildings, recreation, tourism and historic features. Among these, first priority for implementation was assigned to pollution abatement programs, particularly the need for upgrading municipal and industrial wastewater treatment plants. The coordinated management program involved actions at the local, county, regional, state, federal and international levels to implement recommended action programs.

Later would come open space acquisition, housing development, urban redevelopment, storm water drainage and flood control management, trafficways planning, water quality management, toxic waste management, Love Canal Superfund site remediation, air quality improvement strategies, and coastal zone management planning programs pursuant to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, U.S. Department of Transportation, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, and the New York State Department of Health. In 2004, New York State Governor George E. Pataki and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation promoted the creation of the Niagara River Greenway which will aid in the planning and development of a greenway of interconnected parks, river access points and waterfront trails along the Niagara River from Lake Ontario to Lake Erie.

Perhaps an environmental enhancement program such as the Niagara River Corridor would be applicable to the Tittabawassee River and Saginaw River corridors here in the Saginaw Valley. It’s time to plan ahead! x

Richard A. Maltby, AICP
Midland, Michigan

----------
TRW Note: Mr. Maltby is a retired professional urban and environmental resource planner and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planers (AICP) and the American Planning Association.  He has 38 years of experience in Michigan, Illinois, and New York; the most recent as the Midland county planning director from 1983-1998.  He currently resides in the Midland area and was a Freeland resident form 1942-1957.

WB01727_.gif (697 bytes)

03/08/07 Lone Tree Council / TRW Dioxin Update

bullet Saginaw News Editorial gets it wrong!
bullet Editorial comments are opinion and everyone has one and is entitled to one but they are not entitled to their own facts. Editorial boards must deliver accurate information when sounding off atop their daily soapbox. Accuracy being a core editorial value…so one would think.  Last week’s editorial by the Saginaw News could not be more wrong in their opening editorial statement:  ...
bullet Judge says Saginaw County attorney's not allowed to keep secrets
bullet Saginaw County attempted to keep confidential the depositions of Saginaw County’s Jim Koski and Jim Sygo of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. Not sure what Saginaw County’s attorneys were trying to hide and nobody asked or if they did it was not reported in the stories. ...
bulletDelay Game
bullet During the Feb 8th 2007 DEQ/Dow meeting at Horizons, DEQ stated there were still a number of issues with Dow’s human health risk assessment one year later. Dow sat silent and said nothing.  After three years it is inconceivable that Dow cannot submit a plan that adheres to EPA guidelines and policy. Delay game by design? Probably. No less than 20 Dow scientists or hired contractors are present for the DEQ/Dow town hall meetings………..yet collectively they cannot, in three years, come up with a risk assessment that follows EPA guidelines. Yeh, right!

Click here to view the entire update

WB01727_.gif (697 bytes)

02/25/07 A "Human Element" Metamorphosis?

Excellent essay, A few excerpts:

...I grew up in Midland, Michigan with three parents...My father was and still is a chemical engineer in the plant... my third parent's name was on everything: There was the Grace A. Dow Memorial Library and the Dow Gardens...Even if the buildings didn't have the Dow name on the sign out front, such as the arts center and several prominent citizens' homes, they had a suspicious look, since they were designed by Alden B. Dow...Dow not only dominates the cultural landscape of my hometown, but the physical one...Through these tubes flows the substances that make Midland bigger and more important than the other dying auto towns in the area....Without these chemicals, there would be no Midland...The benefits appeared to outweigh this damage. How many kids had gone to college on Dow money?...Besides, Dow had been pretty good about cleaning up its mess. Or so I thought, before I heard about the deer...As is inevitable in a company town, there are people who are mad because Dow is being attacked....One valley resident calls the environmentalists “terrorists” on her website...She notes that Dow has put in a nice park on the river for area residents to enjoy, and that the company brings good cookies to public meetings. How could we, the ungrateful children concerned about a little mess in a little floodplain, be so angry?...Everyone wants to defend her family when it is attacked. ... No one wants to believe that the provider that put food on their family’s table for the last century might have done something wrong. If Dow is responsible for the dioxin contamination, that means that the environutz are right. It means that their neighbor’s little boy’s birth defects might not be the act of God that they had blamed it on all those years. It means that their own risk of cancer is higher, and that they might have unwittingly poisoned their children. ...My brother was diagnosed with a rare form of non-Hodgkins Lymphoma at 21 years old; we had blamed it on genetics and bad luck. But his form of cancer is one of those that has a high correlation with dioxin exposure, ... I find myself hearing the voices of those extremist environmentalists, and I start to think they might be right: Dow might not be such a good parent after all. Even worse, all those times that I supported my third parent, I was wrong, too. Eating crow is hard, but it’s something that we have to do. Midland residents just need to make sure that they don’t get that crow downriver from the plant.

Click here to read the entire essay

TRW Note:  The author did a excellent job with her review of the situation; however a few points require corrections or updates:
bulletTheir is no paradox, the U of M Exposure Study found increased dioxin levels in people as did the MDCH PEI study, the U of M chose to present it's findings based on statistical tools that down played it's results.  Follow the money.
bulletRiver dioxin levels are much higher than 2,000 ppt, recent river sediment and flood plain testing revel levels as high as 100,000 ppt.
bulletThe Dow supporter blog site mentioned represents the view of a few Tittabawassee river residents

WB01727_.gif (697 bytes)

02/23/07 Lone Tree Council / TRW Dioxin Update

bullet  SLURRY PIT FIGHT CONTINUES IN LANSING COURT
bullet National Wildlife Federation/Lone Tree Council Asks Ingham County Court to Review DEQ Decision
bullet Environmental groups continue to challenge the Corps of Engineers’ plan to dump toxic pollutants into the Saginaw River.
bullet
“The real issue is the rush by which the facility was sited,” said Lone Tree Council’s chairman, Terry Miller.  “It should never have been placed near residences, in a floodplain, next to a State Game Area, in a wildfowl flyway, with no public construction plans, operation and management plan or water treatment.   Now the State is closing ranks to defend its faulty process, and we are hopeful the courts will intervene on the public’s behalf.”

Click here to view the entire update
WB01727_.gif (697 bytes)

02/14/07 Dow fined for bribing Indian Government officials

Dow Chemical Co. will pay a $325,000 civil penalty to settle charges that a subsidiary made improper payments to Indian government officials who held sway over regulatory approvals for the company's pesticides, the Securities and Exchange Commission said.  Click here for the details

WB01727_.gif (697 bytes)

02/13/07 Lone Tree Council / TRW Dioxin Update

bullet  DEQ Dow Community Meeting  
bullet One young mother from Midland stood up and talked about her son’s cancer, Ewings Sarcoma.
bullet Dow employees had higher incidents of prostate and stomach cancer
bullet DEQ responded ... residents living along the floodplain did have higher levels of dioxin.
bullet The Dow contractors gave a very detailed analytical presentation of their GeoMorph sampling along the upper T-river and floodplain.
bullet Environmental cleanup is a jobs creator
bullet GE seeks businesses to help with dredging

Click here to view the entire update
WB01727_.gif (697 bytes)

02/11/07 City of Midland dioxin results to be released next month

As reported in the Midland Daily News,  results of 400+ samples in the plume of the Dow plant revel levels as high as 1,000 ppt TEQ in the soil of residential neighborhoods.  Michigan's background level is 6 ppt, the States cleanup standard Residential Direct Contact Criteria is a maximum of 90 ppt TEQ.

DEQ officials say the Midland soil sample results will be posted on the DEQ website around the beginning of March.

WB01727_.gif (697 bytes)

02/11/07 Final GeoMorph Upper Tittabawassee River dioxin testing report available

On 2/1/07, Dow and Ann Arbor Technical Services submitted their GeoMorph Pilot Site Characterization Report for the Upper Tittabawassee River (UTR)  to Michigan's Waste and Hazardous Materials Division.  The report is composed of many documents, each containing maps of the testing area and the results obtained.  Note that many of these files are very large pdf's and will require a high speed internet connection to download.

 

bullet Submittal letter of Final GeoMorph Pilot UTR Site Characterization
bullet Final GeoMorph Site Characterization UTR and floodplain soils Midland Michigan
bullet Attachment A: Study area - Reaches A - O overview 100 year floodplain
bullet Attachment B: Thalweg/Longitudinal Profile of T.River
bullet Attachment C: 1937 and 2004 Channel Comparison UTR
bullet Attachment D: Sample Location Summary UTR
bullet Attachment E: Method Comparability Study Summary
bullet Attachment F: US EPA Appendix IX Target Analyte List
bullet Attachment G: 2006 Aerial Photography and High Resolution Topo Maps Part 1
bullet Attachment G: 2006 Aerial Photography and High Resolution Topo Maps Part 2
bullet Attachment H: Historical outfalls the Dow Chemical Company
bullet Attachment I: Geochemical protocol and results
bullet Attachment J: Report on development of hydrodynamic model
bullet Attachment K: Conceptual model of solids movement in T.River and floodplain
bullet Attachment L: Maximum TEQ by location maps
bullet Attachment M: Surface TEQ concentration maps
bullet Attachment N: Cross -sections
bullet Attachment O: Fixed-interval and random-on-grid maps statistical calibration
bullet Attachment P: Technical memorandum  statistical calibration and verification
bullet Attachment Q: Preliminary in-channel sediment inventory
bullet Attachment R: Site characterization data summary report
bullet Attachment S: Site characterization data summary erosion scar sampling
bullet Attachment T: US EPA appendix IX laboratory report site positives and compounds

WB01727_.gif (697 bytes)

02/08/07 Tri-Cities Dioxin Community Meeting Tonight

The next quarterly Midland/Saginaw/Bay City (Tri-Cities) Dioxin
Community Meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, February 8, 2007, at the
Horizons Conference Center, 6200 State Street, Saginaw.  This meeting is
open to the public.  The press release and agenda for the meeting are
available at:
 
http://www.michigan.gov/deq/0,1607,7-135--161455--,00.html and
http://www.michigan.gov/documents/deq/deq-whm-hw-2-08-07CommMeetingAGENDA_185765_7.pdf

Supporting materials to be discussed at the meeting are the December
2006 and February 2007 documents submitted by Dow that are available at
the following location:

http://www.michigan.gov/deq/0,1607,7-135-3312_4118_4240-53424--,00.html

WB01727_.gif (697 bytes)

02/06/07 New sampling data:   100,000 ppt TEQ dioxin found in T.River

Levels as high as 100,000 TEQ of dioxin (page 303) are noted in a recent Geomorph study document which summarizes dioxin levels in samples collected in and around the first 6 miles of the river down stream of Dow's Midland plant.  The report contains the results of what looks to be over 3,000 samples collected from various depths and sites including wetlands, in channel, floodplain, levees, and river bank terraces. Sample results seem to vary all over the place, ranging from <10 to 100,000 ppt TEQ.  Note numerous samples collected at the surface contain levels ranging up to 30,000 ppt TEQ on the river banks (page 125) which is over 300 times the States RDCC (Residential Direct Contact Criteria) of 90 ppt.

Attachment R, Site Characterization Data Summary Report of Upper Tittabawassee River

Another document seems to be focused on erosion areas.  This report indicates levels as high as 9,700 ppt TEQ found in exposed soil, over 100 times the RDCC

Attachment S, Site Characterization Data Summary Report: Erosion Scar Sampling

We assume the State & Dow will now try to put all of this in perspective for us, the spin machine is ramping up to full speed.

WB01727_.gif (697 bytes)

02/02/07 For your information

February 2, 2007
 
TRW Current News:
 
FOR YOUR INFORMATION
 
In response to Richard Pastula's letter, "Erroneous conclusions," published in the Midland Daily News, February 1, 2007, I would point out that my letter was submitted to the Midland Daily News prior to the January 11, 2007 Dow article. My letter was published January 12. Also my remarks had nothing to do with the January 11 Dow article.
 
Furthermore, I would say any citizen confronted with the history of Dow's pollution of the Saginaw Valley ought to feel outraged, as I have expressed in many letters and in my book "The Pollution Signature" and the four episodes of "The Dioxin Story." Copies of my books have been given to the Dow Chemical Company, DEQ, EPA, and area libraries, newspapers and nature centers.
 
I will continue to monitor Dow's involvement in the cleanup of the community, the Tittabawassee and Saginaw rivers, and the Saginaw Bay. And I will continue to register my criticism of the Dow Chemical Company when I know it is justified. After all, that is my duty as a professional environmental planner certified by the American Institute of Certified Planners.
 
Also I am obligated to uphold the AICP Code of Professional Conduct. Until the dioxin-contaminated areas in the Saginaw Valley are restored to a clean and healthy environment, I must strive to continue to protect the integrity of the natural environment and must follow several other professional obligations to serve the public interest.
 
In view of my environmental management planning work experience in Western New York, I would not want to see the Niagara Falls Love Canal tregedy repeated here in the Saginaw Valley.
 
Sincerely,
 
Richard A. Maltby

WB01727_.gif (697 bytes)

01/23/07 Dioxin's harm already done

Below is the Saginaw News editorial admonishing Dow and DEQ to move cautiously with the cleanup of the Tittabawassee River. (After 30 years I didn't think it could move any slower). DEQ and Dow have said they will address the recently found hot spots in excess of 83,000ppt in sediments and 87,000ppt on the banks. The SN suggests removing would only cause sediments to migrate further down river.........this after 30 years of the Tittabawassee and Saginaw Rivers depositing dioxin laden sediments to Lake Huron.

Below the editorial link is Dave Dempsey's commentary and link in response to the Saginaw News.

Michelle Hurd Riddick Lone Tree Council

bullet Saginaw News Editorial
bullet Dave Dempsey's Reply
bullet Michelle Hurd Riddicks Reply
bullet Rachel C.H. Anger Reply

WB01727_.gif (697 bytes)

01/20/07 Lone Tree Council / TRW Dioxin Update

bullet Poor decision to receive and file DMDF resolution
bullet 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?
bullet Request for Operational Management Plan Denied
bullet 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.
bullet 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:

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.

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."

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

Click here to view the entire update

WB01727_.gif (697 bytes)
01/17/07 Former Saginaw Resident publishes song about Tittabawassee Dioxin

Tag Team Productions releases Johnny Coldheart's "Requiem For A River" as free internet download.

"Although I no longer live in Saginaw, I have been closely following the developments in the situation regarding Dow Chemical's pollution of the Tittabawassee River with Dioxin.

Today I am releasing a new CD single entitled "Requiem For A River".  It is a tribute to those who have been affected and/or exposed to one of the most toxic substances ever devised.  The poisoning of this beautiful river and it's inhabitants (human and animals) saddens and sickens me to such a degree that I can no longer stand by idly and watch - It's time for action."  Jonny Coldheart

TRW Note: The artists web site contains obscenity and foul language and the song itself contains strong lyrics, viewer/listener discretion advised.   The artists web site content and the songs lyrics  represents his personal interpretation of the issue, TRW and The Lone Tree Council did not contribute to either.

Visit Jonny's site for details & a free download of the song”.  http://mysite.verizon.net/res1twnq/johnny_coldheart_page.htm

 Click here to play

WB01727_.gif (697 bytes)
01/11/07 Horrifying levels of dioxin found in and around the Tittabawassee River

 87,000 ppt  State Cleanup Level is 90 ppt

MDEQ mandated sampling of the Tittabawassee River and it's banks have discovered the highest levels of dioxin soil contamination ever found in a region surrounding a Michigan chemical plant.

"I think the numbers are horrifying," said Terry Miller of the Bay City-based Lone Tree Council, which has been pushing Dow and the state to clean up previously known hotspots, at least.

    "It confirms the need to address these things and address them upstream before they get downstream," he said. "The DEQ has got to stiffen its spine, and Dow's got to do the right thing."
 

DEQ Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 11, 2007

DEQ Contact:  Robert McCann
                        (517) 241-7397

Dow Contact:  John Musser
                       (989) 636-5663


Tittabawassee River Sampling Identifies Areas for Interim Clean-up Action

Recently available results from sampling along and in the upper Tittabawassee River have identified several areas with elevated levels of dioxin and furan that require short term response activities.  The sampling results identified certain eroding river banks with concentrations up to 84,000 parts per trillion (ppt) TEQ, the combined toxicity of dioxins and furans, and certain in-channel deposits with concentrations up to 87,000 ppt TEQ.  The elevated sampling results are located within areas along and in the first six and one-half miles of the Tittabawassee River.

The sampling was taken as part of the ongoing study and investigation being conducted by the Department of Environmental Quality and The Dow Chemical Company.  In general, the chemical profile of the in-channel and eroded bank samples are largely consistent with earlier sampling results from the same general area showing a mixture consisting mainly of furans with a small percentage of dioxins.

Dow has proposed a conceptual approach and schedule for a focused pilot corrective action plan (PCAP) to address these areas.  The details of the PCAP will be developed jointly by DEQ and Dow with measures that will ensure a timely approach that will achieve the greatest protections for human health and minimizes harm to the environment and natural resources.  These initial corrective action activities are scheduled to begin this month and be completed as early as August 2007.

Preparation for implementing the interim actions is underway with Dow developing the final plan and initiating the permit application processes with state and federal agencies for the work to be done in and along the Tittabawassee River.  Dow has committed to working collaboratively and cooperatively with DEQ to further refine, design and implement the plan for addressing these areas as quickly and as safely as possible.

These findings were generated during the implementation of the DEQ-approved sampling plan that was developed and is being implemented by Dow and its contractor, Ann Arbor Technical Services, as part of the remedial investigation of the Tittabawassee River required by DEQ’s hazardous waste management facility operating license, issued to Dow on June 12, 2003.

The public will have an opportunity to ask questions about short and long-term actions that will be developed during the February 8, 2007 Tri-Cities Community Meeting at The Horizons Center in Saginaw Township from 7-9pm.

#####

Public Reaction

 In today's  DEQ Press Release it would appear Dow Chemical and DEQ have agreed that 83,000 ppt is just too high a sediment concentration for dioxin in the Tittabawassee River and therefore Dow will remove it by sometime in August at the latest.
 
 For the first time in the history of this contamination DEQ is going to require removal of contaminated sediments but  it took an alarming number of 83,000 ppt to get any action. Not acceptable!
 
These latest numbers are astounding and far exceed anything to date found in the Tittabawassee River or floodplain. We have repeatedly asked DEQ what's the threshold for dioxin cleanup? What number ( ppt) would require sediment removal from the river? We have yet to get an answer.  Surely it isn't as high as 83,000 ppt! Last we were told, Dow Chemical and DEQ could not agree upon a number. Interesting that the regulator needs the agreement of the polluter in order to settle on  a number protective of public health and natural resources. Just last year in Jeb Bush's Florida a community cleaned up dioxin to a state standard of 30 ppt. In Michigan, however, everything is negotiable with Dow Chemical.........
 
In the past few years DEQ commissioned a number of studies by Galbraith Environmental Services to ascertain the ecological thresholds.  Dr. Galbraith's findings for impairment? 50 ppt ( dioixin/furan) for mammalian populations and 10 ppt to 200ppt for avian species. State residential contract criteria is 90 ppt............Arriving at cleanup number may not be  politically comfortable but it is certainly scientifically defensible.
 
Today's press release states future activities with regard to these high dioxin numbers will include:
"...................measures that will ensure a timely approach that will achieve the greatest protections for human health and minimizes harm to the environment and natural resources". Would have to assume that in an effort to achieve the greatest protections for the inhabitants, DEQ would need an identifiable number to clean up to that they consider protective. What is that number?
 
Dow stated that the 83,000ppt is not a public health threat. Surely DEQ will not hold their breath waiting for Dow to acquiesce to defining a cleanup level.
 
As DEQ oversees Dow's next phase of mapping and sampling it is imperative that DEQ establish the number for cleanup/removal/ interim response along the Tittabawassee River. 
 
Michelle Hurd Riddick
Lone Tree Council

Related stories

 Saginaw News  Midland Daily News  API

WB01727_.gif (697 bytes)
01/02/07 ATSDR revises guidelines for dioxin in residential soil, deletes 1000 ppt

ATSDR is seeking public comment on the draft revision of its 1998 Policy Guideline for Dioxins and Dioxin-Like Compounds in Residential Soil.

The 1998 policy established a screening level of 0.05 ppb TEQ (50 ppt), an evaluation  level (>0.05 ppb TEQ, <1 ppb), and an action level of 1 ppb TEQ (1,000 ppt) for dioxins in residential soil.

ATSDR revised the 1998 policy because

bulletit has been used inconsistently over the past eight years.
bulletThe ATSDR "action'' level has been misinterpreted by health assessors and others as ...
bullet(1) a soil concentration that defines a public health hazard
bullet(2) an ATSDR clean-up level which implies the need for site remediation, and
bullet(3) an initial screening level that defines a safe level of exposure, below which there is no public health concern.
bulletHowever, ATSDR believes that these actions could be considered in some circumstances when the 1 ppb level in soil is not exceeded. In response to these concerns ATSDR has updated its Policy Guideline for Dioxins and Dioxin-Like Compounds in Residential Soil.
bulletDeletion of the 1 ppb action level as the criteria for taking specific public health actions.
bulletThe 1-ppb dioxin soil concentration should not be used as a comparison value for defining public health hazards in public health assessments and consultations.
bulletThe 1-ppb action level can be cited by health assessors as the Superfund Dioxin Cleanup policy criteria (EPA 1989,1998). 
bulletRetention of the 0.05 ppb Screening Level  The minimal risk level (MRL)-based environmental media evaluation guide (EMEG) of 0.05 ppb for dioxin TEQ in soil is retained as the basis for screening soil concentrations. Levels exceeding this screening level should be  evaluated as described in the ATSDR Public Health Assessment Guidance Manual (PHAGM) (ATSDR 2005).
bullet Click here for additional information.

DATES: Comments concerning this document must be received by February 27, 2007.
ADDRESSES: Public comments should be forwarded to Ms. Athena Gemella,
ATSDR, Office of Science, 1600 Clifton Road, N.E., Mail stop E-28.  Atlanta, GA. 30333, or e-mail
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Athena Gemella, Office of Science,
telephone (404) 498-0621.
Dated: December 22, 2006.
Kenneth Rose, Acting Director, Office of Policy, Planning and Evaluation, National Center for Environmental Health/Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.

------------

Dioxin Soil Policy Fact Sheet

Updated Dioxin Soil Policy Document

Environmental groups past efforts to change the policy

bullet Environmental Groups request ATSDR to discontinue referencing 1000 ppt "Action" level 050206l
bullet ATSDR Dr. Frumkin's response 072006
bullet News article: MDN Dioxin Legislation Opposed 042506
bullet Lone Tree Press Release 072506
bullet Example: Moolenaar legislation to change state Dioxin Standards to 1000 ppt, 052904



Visit the ATSDR website for additional details. http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/substances/dioxin/policy/index.html

WB01727_.gif (697 bytes)

bulletSee newspaper articles for information dating back to January 2002.  Click here
bulletFor additional archived information, click here
 

hit counter for myspace

Locations of visitors to this page

WB01727_.gif (697 bytes)

Back Up Next  Back to the top   Site Map  www.trwnews.net