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TRW Archives 2007 4th quarter 10/01/07 - 12/31/07
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12/22/07 Dow requests deadline extension

Dow missed the EPA's cleanup 60 day negotiation deadline of December 10, 2007.  The October 10, 2007 EPA press release , EPA to Dow Chemical: 60 day clock to negotiate on Tittabawassee River system cleanup starts today,  stated "EPA may choose to extend negotiations until Jan. 9, 2008, if appropriate".  Is anyone surprised?  Dow always delays everything it can. 

What should concern everyone is that on the surface, this process closely resembles the pattern of the last "negotiation" in 2004 when the Governor Granholm stopped the transparent public process and went behind closed doors with Dow.   Is this just another replay of 2004/2005?    Should we substitute the abbreviation "DEQ" with "EPA" in the timeline below?  Any one seen Dave Camp hanging around the EPA office lately?  We hope not, however with negotiations behind closed doors again, only time will tell.

bullet May 9, 2004 -- DEQ won't back down on dioxin cleanup
bullet May 26. 2004 -- A community meeting sponsored by the City of Midland draws more than 1,500 to the Midland Center for the Arts to hear DEQ Director Steve Chester, representatives from the city, Dow and the Midland County Health Department talk about dioxin contamination.  Emotions of residents and local lawmakers are inflamed.
bullet May 27. 2004 --A cleanup plan for the Tittabawassee River and Midland isn't done yet, but state Department of Environmental Quality officials vow to have it ready by mid-June.
bullet May 27. 2004 -- Senate & House Bills are introduced by Sen. Tony Stamas and Rep. John Moolenaar to give polluters free ride
bullet June 1. 2004 -- Congressman Dave Camp, state Sens. Mike Goschka and Tony Stamas and state Reps. Jim Howell, John Moolenaar and Sandy Caul request a meeting with Gov. Jennifer Granholm to talk about dioxin.
bullet June 3. 2004 -- The governor tells the Midland Daily News she wants to "turn down the temperature on this very hot issue."
bullet June 3. 2004 -- State Rep. John Moolenaar recommends cuts in the Department of Environmental Quality budget, calling the move a "message of intent" for a department "out of control." Cuts suggested included a 15 percent reduction in director Steve Chester's salary and the abolishment of the DEQ's hazardous waste program.
bullet June 5. 2004 -- Congressman Dave Camp, state Sen. Tony Stamas and state Reps. Mike Goschka and John Moolenaar and Sandy Caul, meet with Gov. Granholm at Mackinaw Island.
bullet June 21 -- Residents of the Tittabawassee River flood plain meet in Lansing to tell Gov. Jennifer Granholm about their personal dioxin dilemmas.
bullet June 24. 2004 -- High level talks between Lt. Gov. John Cherry, Chester and Dow begin. T
bullet Aug. 29. 2004 -- Residents of the Tittabawassee River flood plain send a letter to the governor, lieutenant governor and Chester saying they are growing increasingly concerned about the inaction of officials and are questioning their trust in the government.
bullet Sept. 1,2004   -- John Moolenaar says that a meeting among the concerned parties is planned for Sept. 15 at which he expects a plan of action to be presented.
bullet Sept 10, 2004 -- Enough peace and quiet; it's time to talk, That's what some residents are saying, claiming that high-level dioxin cleanup negotiations between Dow Chemical Co. and the state Department of Environmental Quality have stayed hush-hush too long.
bullet Sept. 16, 2004 -- The state Department of Environmental Quality  emerges from negotiations with Dow Chemical Co. not with an agreement about how to proceed with dioxin cleanup, but with a date.  DEQ spokeswoman said the parties plan to reach agreement by Sunday, Oct. 31
bullet Nov. 1, 2004 -- Halloween deadline missed "
bullet December 27, 2004 -- still no response, residents write letter to Granholm.
bullet January 13, 2005 -- No deal yet on dioxin cleanup
bullet January 21, 2005 -- Dow and DEQ agree on "framework", not cleanup
bullet January 24, 2005 -- Leading citizens and environmental groups today sharply criticized an agreement between Dow Chemical Company and the Granholm Administration, saying it fails to deliver a cleanup of dioxin contamination in the Saginaw Bay basin
 ...
  Slow forward to 2007
 ...
bullet July 3, 2007, EPA tells Dow to clean up dioxin
bullet October 23, 2007, Play it again Sam DEQ and EPA once again announce they will  be going behind closed doors to NEGOTIATE a cleanup with Dow Chemical.
bullet December 21, 2007, Chamber of Commerce asks DEQ to be removed from dioxin negotiations

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12/15/07 Fed up, residents want out

Dow' commercials tug  at the ole heart strings -- until you read and watch how people, their homes and yards, resources and public process- all those things that identify them as part of a community- are dismissed, denied or downplayed as just not important in Dow's quest to avoid responsibility and protect its bottom line.  
 
The most significant issue raised at the  November DEQ Dow Chemical meeting was a group of residents asking EPA to place them in the SUPERFUND RELOCATION PLAN.   People whose homes and yards have been contaminated and their lives forever changed because of the presence of dioxin. People are raising their families on contaminated land and find no reassurance from Dow Chemical that dioxin is not harmful. Fatigued with the courts, the politics and the corporate power, they are asking for a way out.
 
These people on the floodplain matter. Just like all those who consume the fish and utilize the land and waters resources in this region-----But they are an  element to often  lost in the  fray of this struggle for cleanup.  
 
The Detroit Free Press covered the meeting and reported on the request to EPA for relocation. EPA said they will get back with residents soon about their request for relocation. Stay tuned!
 

Michelle Hurd Riddick

Lone Tree Council

###

Below are a few documents which provide a glimpse into the EPA relocation process:

bullet Interim Policy on the Use of Permanent Relocations as Part of Superfund Remedial Actions (June 30, 1999)
bullet Superfund Response Actions: Temporary Relocations Implementation Guidance OSWER 9230.0-97 (April 2002)
bullet Superfund Permanent Relocation Statement of Work Template and Users' Guide (August 2004)
 

Visit http://www.epa.gov/superfund/community/relocation/index.htm  for additional information

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12/15/07
Saginaw
River EPA Dredging Pollution Reports

On the Saginaw River looking towards Wickes Park. This is where the new dioxin hot spot was found. Late on Friday, November 9, 2007, Dow notified U.S. EPA that preliminary data for a sediment sample collected from within the channel of the Saginaw River was in excess of 1.6 parts per million (ppm) Dioxin TEQ.  This is the highest TEQ analytical result recorded for either the Tittabawassee or Saginaw Rivers.  On November 11, 2007, U.S. EPA issued a verbal General Notice Letter of Potential Liability to Dow.

Below is the link to latest EPA "Pollution" reports which summarize the cleanup progress made so far:

bulletSaginaw River 1,600,000 ppt site as of December 10, 2007
bullet Saginaw River Sediment Dioxin Contamination Site (Wickes Park)Wickes Park, Saginaw, MI.  The barge remained anchored in position on the river next to the proposed dredge area.
 

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12/12/07 Under federal pressure, Dow submits dioxin cleanup plan

MIDLAND, MICH. (December 10, 2007) – The Dow Chemical Company submitted its good faith offer to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Region V, for an Administrative Order on Consent in response to EPA’s Special Notice Letter of October 10, 2007.   Click here for AP News story

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12/09/07 Lone Tree Council / TRW Dioxin Update/

bulletThe Secret Memo
bulletHuman Element lost locally but recognized in Michigan's leading newspapers
bulletDow employee files for whistle blower protection
bulletDow deadline tomorrow
bulletAbout that 1.6 million ppt in the Saginaw River
bulletThe MSU Wildlife study

Click here for all the details

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12/7/07  The Secret Memo

Click here to view the confidential EPA memo detailing Dow's deceptive tactics accidentally released to the Lone Tree Council as part of a FOIA request.  See 12/7/07  Detroit Free Press story for an interpretation.  Note: there have been two breaking stories in the last 24 hours, the whistle blower lawsuit filed yesterday about Dow submitting flawed data to the MDEQ is unrelated to the leaked EPA memo above. However they both share a common theme: a sneaky and unscrupulous Dow Chemical
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12/7/07  Secret Memo: Dioxin report details deception

The Detroit Free Press reports (a few snippets)

EPA found state failed to stand up to chemical giant

With the state's complicity, Dow Chemical Co. has delayed cleanup and misled the public about the dangers of dioxin it dumped decades ago into rivers downstream of its Midland plant, Environmental Protection Agency officials charged in a confidential August internal report.

The memo, obtained by the Free Press, also said Dow impeded state efforts to force a cleanup, concealed data and studies, tried to keep documents confidential that should have been made public and insisted on negotiating cleanup details with Gov. Jennifer Granholm's office, rather than staff of the state Department of Environmental Quality.  ...

The situation has left people living along the Tittabawassee and Saginaw rivers frustrated. Their yards and homes are contaminated with dioxin that continues to wash onto their land during flooding. ...

 

Separately from the EPA memo, a high-ranking Dow employee, whose job was to oversee validation of test results of soil samples tested for dioxin along the river, filed a lawsuit in Saginaw County last month claiming tests by Dow contractors were so flawed that the laboratory doing the validation rejected them and then quit, saying it didn't want to continue validation work for Dow. ...

A revealing memo

The EPA memo accidentally was released within recent weeks to the Lone Tree Council, an environmental group, under a Freedom of Information Act request. ...
 
The memo said that Dow, unlike most companies, has insisted on direct negotiations with the governor and with Chester of the DEQ.
The EPA memo also said:

• Dow had done unapproved studies and collected data without telling regulators. The DEQ fined the firm $70,000 in January 2006 over illegal sampling.

• Political figures, including legislators, have been involved on Dow's behalf, trying to soften standards in the company's favor.

• Dow tried to make dioxin seem less toxic. The EPA issued a press release last month rebuking Dow for statements downplaying the extremely high sample found in the Saginaw River.

• Dow used a dispute process to make documents confidential that should not be. The memo itself is one of those documents. ...

Getting to the truth

In her suit, whistleblower Denney said the independent laboratory double-checking the dioxin results told her in November 2006 that the data from Dow's contractor was badly flawed. ...
 

Denney told her bosses. A week later, they ordered her to stop doing any work relating to the data validation.

The lab rejected the data in a letter Dec. 5, 2006, saying it couldn't validate it.

On Dec. 8, the lab sent Dow a letter terminating its contract, citing a breakdown in procedures. Denney's suit said Dow submitted the bad data to the DEQ in February.

"She's been shut out," said Victor Mastromarco Jr., Denney's attorney.

 

bullet Click here to view the entire Free Press article
bulletClick here to view the whistle blowers suit document

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12/6/07  Whistle blower: Dow submitted bad Tittabawassee dioxin data to State

Employee claims she was demoted after questioning test results on Tittabawassee River

A Detroit News article today states that A Dow Engineer was demoted for questioning dioxin level sampling data submitted to the state.  The Engineer is now filing a whistle blower suit against Dow.

Project Enhancement Corp., the Germantown, Md., company hired to validate data from samples collected in August 2006, rejected the data that November because of "major technical non-compliance," Denney alleges in the lawsuit. 

The Engineer states she reported the flaws to her Dow supervisors, but Dow "submitted said bad data to the state on or about February 1, 2007

For more on Dow and it's deceptive practices, click here

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12/04/07 Saginaw River hotspot clean up begins

The Saginaw News reports   ...

"Six members of a Dow dive team are strapping on drysuits and taking a dip in near-freezing water this week to suck up contaminated soil with a hydraulic dredger, "a vacuum cleaner sort of thing, if you will," Dow spokesman John C. Musser said.

The dredger can vacuum 80 to 120 cubic yards of sediment every day, Musser said.

A diver will spend an hour or two at a time vacuuming the riverbed as the other five members on a barge monitor the air feeding down the diver's umbilical cable and other equipment, project leader Todd Konechne said.

"One of the divers on the barge will be suited, ready to go, at all times," Konechne said.

The crew is racing the winter frost to dredge up 800 cubic yards of material, he said.

"The river was essentially frozen completely over Saturday morning," Konechne said."

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11/30/07 Astounding: MSU wildlife study proves normal animals are normal

The Michigan State University "Tittabawassee River Ecological Studies " presentation at the 11/28/07 quarterly dioxin meeting was intended to "convince" the attendees that even though wildlife in the contaminated floodplain are assimilating dioxin at a rapid pace, they are not exhibiting any ill effects. The study protocol includes the tagging/banding of the test subjects at the time of tissue and blood sampling. Depending upon the species tested, only 3% to 27% of the 3200+ subjects tagged where re-captured for subsequent re-testing. In other words, up to 97% of a particular species samples where taken from animals whose prior whereabouts are unknown.

What they failed to mention is that a well known ecological concept termed "sink populations" may be in play here. Dr. Hector Gailbraith discussed the impacts of a sink during the Q&A session following his 2005 presentation of the Tittabawassee River Watershed Ecological Risk Assessment.

"A breeding group that does not produce enough offspring to maintain itself in coming years without immigrants from other populations." (Source: Sibley). A population or subpopulation in which λ < 1, and which would go extinct if it is isolated from source populations.

Wildlife is constantly on the move, competition for food and mating create a dynamic system where vacancies are quickly filled.

In other words, the low number of tagged animals in the Tittabawassee River sampling area may indicate they are dying off and/or failing to reproduce because of the extremely high dioxin levels.  Once gone, the newly opened niche is filled by immigrants from other non-contaminated areas.

Basically, they are testing "normal" animals that may have been in the contaminated target area for only a shot period of time.

Based on the high levels of dioxin reported in most of the animals tested, one could infer that ‘normal" animals migrating into the area rapidly assimilate the dioxin into their bodies soon after their arrival.

A couple of facts you can believe about the study:

bulletThe dioxin contaminants are entering the food web
bulletTissue and dietary based exposure assessments agree.
bulletThe State of Michigan DEQ has not approved the MSU study
bulletDow is paying MSU $5,000,000 for this study.

In our opinion based on other questionable collaborations between Dow and MSU, last nights presentation was intended to confuse the public and can be considered MSU’s quarterly payment back to Dow for their patronage.

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11/27/07 Community Meeting on Dow Corrective Action Work

November 28 Community Meeting on Dow Corrective Action Work

The Department of Environmental Quality and The Dow Chemical Company will be holding the next quarterly Midland/Saginaw/Bay City (Tri-Cities) Dioxin Community Meeting on Wednesday, November 28, at the Horizons Conference Center in Saginaw located at 6200 State Street. The meeting is open to the public and will run from 6:30 p.m. to 9:15 p.m. Staff from the DEQ, Department of Community Health, and Dow, with their consultants, will be available one-half hour before and one-half hour after the meeting for individual discussion with the public. Maps and other handout materials will be available for viewing and discussion.

Agenda items for the November 28 meeting include: Upper and Middle Tittabawassee River investigation work status and DEQ oversight comments; the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), removal actions in the Tittabawassee and Saginaw Rivers and EPA/DEQ oversight comments; an update on the Michigan State University Ecological Study; and an update on the Natural Resource Damage Assessment. The final hour of the meeting is set aside for questions and discussion on these and other topics.

The meeting agenda and related documents will be posted to the DEQ Web site prior to the community meeting at http://www.michigan.gov/deqdioxin  and may be accessed by clicking on the *DEQ/Dow Community Involvement* and *Dow Off-site Corrective Action* Quick Links in the right navigation column. The next quarterly community meeting is scheduled to be held on February 7, 2008.
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11/23/07 Saginaw River dioxin find spreads fear

Detroit News tells it like it is

SAGINAW -- At the spot where two rivers join to form the Saginaw River, clumps of cattails and bald cypress share the sandy shores with deer and raccoon tracks. For years, this scenic tableau has filled riverside residents such as Mitch Larson with dread. The reason became clear last week when the river confluence yielded something never conceived by nature: toxic dioxin.

 

The chemical, dumped into the Tittabawassee River by Dow Chemical Co. a century ago, had been discovered in other parts of the streams but never in this quantity, a federal agency said. Not even close.

Larson worries about the health of his four daughters as he wonders whether this is the price Michigan residents pay for the state's industrial past. .......

Click here to view the Detroit News article.

 

 

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11/23/07 U.S's top toxic spot here?

A top government scientist says a toxic ''hot spot'' found in the Saginaw River near Wickes Park in Saginaw could represent the highest level of dioxin contamination ever recorded in the nation's river and lake systems. ....''We're still saying we can't find numbers anywhere close to this particular value,'' Clark said. ''We're looking at historical databases and I've sent out messages (to the scientific community), but nobody is saying (they've heard of a higher level).'' ....

Click here to view the Saginaw News article

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11/23/07 Video of Tittabawassee River Reach O hotspot cleanup activities

bullet Click here for video
bullet Reach O as of October 24 progress report
bullet The Site known as “Reach O of the Tittabawassee River Superfund Site,” is an
approximately 1,300 foot-long point bar extending approximately 50 to 100 feet
into the Tittabawassee River and situated parallel to the northeast bank of the
Tittabawassee River, approximately 6.1 miles downstream of the confluence of
the Chippewa and Tittabawassee Rivers and located within, or immediately adjacent
to, the Dow Chemical Company property located to the south of North Saginaw Road and to the west
of North Orr Road, in Midland County, Michigan.

For additional information and past progress reports, click here

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11/18/07 Lone Tree Council / TRW Dioxin Update/

bulletFront page headline Detroit News
bulletSky-high dioxin level taints river
bulletDow Chemical in violation of license again
bulletMDEQ and MDCH it was determined the Direct Contact Criteria (DCC) Report is incomplete, has major deficiencies and substantial inaccuracies and is in violation of Dow's license.
bulletDow omitted information, asked for more meetings and submitted not a site specific number but a range! The range 890 ppt to 200,000,000 ppt
bulletThe Dow report supporting these absurd ranges makes considerable use of questionable reference material provided by the notorious Dennis Paustenbach (aka "Dr Evil"), a known industry hack famous for falsifying data to support corporate sponsors.
bullet"It is abundantly clear that CDC's contractor, ChemRisk, does not have the necessary scientific or ethical integrity to engender public trust,"
bulletAdditional fish advisories on the Saginaw River
bulletThe MDCH says nobody should eat carp, catfish or white bass taken from anywhere in the Saginaw River. Women of childbearing age and kids under age 15 shouldn't eat smallmouth bass.
bulletFreeland Festival Park dioxin on the move - where did it go?
bulletThis dioxin hot spot just picked up and moved down river onto someone else's property or perhaps further down river. Either way this mobile chemical compound is made accessible to fish, wildlife, people and Lake Huron.
bulletClass Action in limbo
bulletIt's been two years this past month since the class action, Henry et al v Dow Chemical, was certified by Judge Borello and appealed by Dow Chemical. The case has been heard by the Michigan Court of Appeals but they have yet to hand down a decision.
bulletNext DEQ / Dow quarterly meeting November 28

Click here to view the entire update for all the details

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11/16/07
 EPA: Dow to clean up dioxin hot spot in the Saginaw River

CONTACT: Anne Rowan, 312-353-9391, rowan.anne@epa.gov Mick Hans, 312-353-5050,
 hans.mick@epa.gov

For Immediate Release No. 07-OPA227

EPA: DOW TO CLEAN UP DIOXIN HOT SPOT IN THE SAGINAW RIVER

CHICAGO (Nov.15, 2007) — U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 and Dow
Chemical Co. of Midland, Mich., today signed a consent order to begin an emergency
cleanup of a previously unknown dioxin hot spot on the Saginaw River.

Under the order, Dow must dredge dioxin-contaminated sediments in the Saginaw.
Field work must begin immediately with the dredging to be completed by Dec. 15.

“The extremely high level of dioxin found in the Saginaw River and its possible
consequences warrant immediate action,” said Regional Administrator Mary A. Gade.
“Today’s Superfund emergency order requires action now to eliminate an imminent
and substantial threat to human health and the environment.

“ Friday evening, Nov. 9, Dow notified EPA and Michigan Department of Environmental
Quality of preliminary results of over 1.6 million parts per trillion (ppt) of dioxin in one
sample of sediment taken from the Saginaw River. This dioxin concentration is probably
the highest ever found in the Great Lakes. The sample came from a location a half-mile
below the confluence of the Tittabawassee and Shiawassee Rivers, roughly adjacent to
Wickes Park in Saginaw.

On Sunday, EPA provided Dow legal notice of its potential liability and the Agency’s intent
 to immediately begin cleanup. Under the Superfund law, EPA gave Dow the option to
 perform the cleanup under EPA oversight. On Monday, EPA and MDEQ technical experts
 surveyed the site and met with Dow to discuss cleanup alternatives. On Tuesday, Dow
 notified EPA that it would agree to perform the work under an EPA order.   ....

bulletClick here to read the entire EPA Press Release
bullet Click here to read the "Administrative Settlement Agreement and Order on
 Consent for Removal Action" between DOW and the EPA

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11/15/07
State issues fish consumption advisory for Saginaw River

The state is warning people against eating certain fish in the Saginaw River.

The Department of Community Health says the fish may have unsafe levels of dioxin in their bodies.  Dioxin exposure has bee linked to cancers, birth defects, and harm to the immune system.

The department says nobody should eat carp, catfish, or white bass taken from anywhere in the Saginaw River.  Women of childbearing age and kids under age 15 shouldn't each small mouth bass.

Women of childbearing age and kids under 15 should eat walleye less than 22 inches long no more than once a month, and six meals of larger walleye per year.  For all other species of fish caught in the Saginaw River, women of childbearing age and kids under 15 are being advised to eat no more than one meal per month.

A similar advisory has been in place on the Tittabawassee River for years, evidently some are ignoring the advice, click here for video

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11/14/07
Lone Tree Council / TRW Dioxin Update

EPA responding to Dow's outrageous drops of ink in 55 gallon drum analogy

Would appear EPA did not take lightly Dow's PR spin to down play the significance of 1.6 million
 ppt hot spot in the Saginaw River or the company's attempt to brush aside their dioxin contaminating
fish and then people who eat the fish.

CONTACT: Anne Rowan, 312-353-9391, <mailto:rowan.anne@epa.gov>rowan.anne@epa.gov

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 07-OPA220

Note to correspondents: More information on new dioxin hot spot in the Saginaw River

(Chicago, Ill. - Nov. 14, 2007) Recent published statements by a Dow Chemical Co. spokesman
regarding the company's discovery of another dioxin hot spot in the Saginaw River may leave the
public with mistaken impressions about the health concerns related to this finding and exposure
 pathways. Comparing a highly toxic chemical such as dioxin to ink drops in a drum as Dow
recently did, minimizes the real concern regarding dioxin's toxicity and the very high level found. ...

bullet Click here for the entire update 
bullet Click here to watch latest video which includes EPA comments on the situation (on line for 7 days)

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11/13/07
Lone Tree Council / TRW Dioxin Update

CRYING FOR OUR RIVERS YET?
 
1.6 million parts per trillion of dioxin was  found in the Saginaw River at Wickes Park in
surface sediments ---sediments capable of moving out to Lake Huron. Last year Lone Tree Council,
a couple of doctors and several residents along the Saginaw River petitioned the Centers for
Disease Control ( CDC) for a Public Health Consultation on the Saginaw River. Dr. Howard Frumkin
 from ATSDR (Division of CDC )  found merit in our petition about subsistence fisherman, 
indigent people, people of color and migrant workers
eating the fish from this highly
contaminated river. Well documented in the Michigan Department of Community Health's Fish
Consumption Study

 
http://www.michigan.gov/documents/mdch/FCS_Final_rpt_061407_199288_7.pdf 

is that non-white populations and women that fish these contaminated rivers are regularly consuming the most
 contaminated species of fish resulting in those individuals having the highest chemical intake values. Please take
 time to read this study. Contaminated fish are just one more in the litany of chemicals impacting the community.
 
The impact of persistent pollutants on developing babies, fetuses and pregnant women is well established. Dioxin
 and dioxin like compounds ( PCB's, Furans....)  circulating in the blood of pregnant woman impact their developing
 babies. Contaminated fish equals a contaminated food source. It isn't just about walleye fisherman, tournaments or
 the economic benefits of Shiver on the River. A child with a body burden of chemicals at birth puts them at risk. Did
 mom eat those fish?  Compound that body burden with lead, tobacco and or poor air quality you have a child at a
 huge disadvantage. We've all had the debate about property values, toxicity, levels, ppt  as it relates to dioxin but
 it's high time we had a discussion about kids, babies and pregnant women...those vulnerable populations not really
 discussed by anyone and avoided by others.
 
Many of you may have seen the news tonight, Dow Chemical's John Musser stated this 1.6 million ppt was no threat.
 He equated it to 15 drops of ink in a 55 gallon drum. It's such a disingenuous and species argument.....  and it surely
 doesn't speak to the toxicity of dioxin or the science surrounding this chemical. Truth  is 15 ppm of carbon monoxide
can kill a family of four and their dog. Just 2mg/kg of arsenic is lethal to a child. 5mcg/DL of lead can cognitively impair
 a child. A teaspoon of mercury can poison on inland lake.  500 mcg of ricen which would fit on the head of pin is enough
 to kill an adult. All of these minute, minute amounts. It's not the dose it's how our bodies react to the chemical. So please,
 the next time Dow drags out this analogy in defense of their contamination.......remember it's all just BS.
 
MDEQ has contacted MDCH to take additional steps to advise the public. EPA has instructed Dow on what they will
 do to further investigate this area to determine the true size.
  
The contamination in the Saginaw River is not fully known or understood. It is imperative that no agreement with
Dow Chemical be agreed to until such time as the entire river is sampled.. and the subsequent loss of resources is
ascertained and solid public health interventions are implemented.
 
There has been so much talk in state-wide media about the Great Lakes, diversion, toxic cleanup and invasive
species. According to the  Bi-National Partnership Action
Plan dioxins are declining in Lake Huron with the
exception of Saginaw Bay. In addition concentrations of dioxins still remain at levels associated with deformities
 and reproductive effects in bird populations especially in the Saginaw Bay. 
  http://epa.gov/glnpo/lakehuron/2006/lh_2006.pdf

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11/13/07 EPA orders emergency cleanup, 1,600,000 ppt dioxin found next to park

Highest dioxin level found in Saginaw River: EPA, MDEQ and Dow at work on emergency cleanup

Release date: 11/13/2007

Contact Information: Anne Rowan, 312 353-9391, rowan.anne@epa.gov
 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
07-OPA217

(Chicago, Ill. - Nov. 13, 2007) Acting immediately on information received from Dow Chemical Co. of Midland, Mich., U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and the company have begun preliminary emergency removal activities at a previously unknown dioxin hot spot on the Saginaw River.

Late Friday, Dow notified EPA and MDEQ of preliminary, unvalidated results of over 1.6 million parts per trillion (ppt) of dioxin in one sample of sediment taken from the Saginaw River. This concentration is 50 times higher than a 32,000 ppt level, previously the highest found in the Saginaw River. It is 15 times higher than any dioxin levels found at hot spots in the Tittabawassee River. This new Saginaw River sample came from a location a half mile below the confluence of the Tittabawassee and Shiawassee Rivers, roughly adjacent to Wickes Park in Saginaw.

"EPA has determined that this emergency work should be performed under an EPA Superfund order," said Regional Administrator Mary A. Gade. "EPA and MDEQ are working closely together on a thorough and appropriate plan to remove this hot spot. Moreover, we must be very cautious to make sure, through laboratory tests, that we determine the extent of this high level of contamination. It may be only one additional hot spot or it could cover a larger area."

Dow discovered the latest hot spot during sampling done according to its own Sept. 14, 2007 work plan, which has not been approved by either EPA or MDEQ.

As a result of EPA Superfund orders in June 2007, Dow is now wrapping up the cleanup of three dioxin hot spots in the Tittabawassee River and should be done by year's end. Those dioxin hot spots along the first six miles of the Tittabawassee River were contaminated at levels up to 87,000 ppt, far above state and federal action levels. The area is prone to flooding and erosion which can spread contamination.

Dioxins are highly toxic compounds that pose serious risks to human health and the environment. EPA's reassessment of the most recent scientific findings on dioxin indicates that it is a more potent chemical than previously understood.

For more information about the health impacts of dioxin and eating fish from the Saginaw River system, members of the public may call the Michigan Dept. of Community Health at 800-648-6942 and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry at 312-886-0840.

Dow's Midland facility is a 1,900-acre chemical manufacturing plant. Dioxins and furans come from the production of chlorine-based products. Past waste disposal practices, fugitive emissions and incineration at Dow resulted in dioxin and furan contamination both on- and off-site.

In separate legal actions last week, EPA cited Dow for air and hazardous waste violations at its Midland facility. These involve preliminary findings of violations and Dow has 30 days to discuss resolution of the allegations.

Fact sheets on dioxins from Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) ToxFAQ http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/tfacts104.html

####

bullet Click here for map of 1,600,000 ppt contamination 
bullet Click here for EPA pollution report on the site

Click here for a biased Dow media spin article released earlier today to preempt the EPA report.  Local media bought it up hook, line, and sinker. 

 TV news had the Dow spinmister John Musser comparing the find to 6 drop in a 55 gallon barrel and interviews with fishermen lowering their hook almost directly over the contaminated area.  Both articles are using the term "Dioxin-Like" (assume it was a sound bite provided by Dow) in an attempt to downplay the discovery.  Regardless of the "dow-ese" used by the media, the samples taken near Wickes park revel dioxin in unprecedented levels and it is the same Dow DIOXIN found throughout the Saginaw Bay watershed.  Suffice it to say that this is  "sound science" at it's finest.

Dioxin-Like refers to compounds from a group of halogenated aromatic hydrocarbons that have molecules shaped like TCDD and produce similar toxic effects, such as certain other chlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (CDDs) and certain chlorinated dibenzofurans (CDFs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polybrominated biphenyls (PBBs), brominated dibenzo-p-dioxins (BDDs), and brominated dibenzofurans (BDFs).
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11/09/07 EPA notifies Dow of clean-air & hazardous waste violations

Chicago, Ill. - Nov. 9, 2007) U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 today notified
Dow Chemical Co. that it has found potential clean-air and hazardous waste violations at
the company's Midland, Mich., facility.


EPA issued a finding of violation under the Clean Air Act and a notice of violation under
the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. It also issued requests for information under
 both acts.


"The issuance of these notices and requests for information shows that the agency takes
seriously its responsibility of protecting human health and the environment," said Regional
Administrator Mary A. Gade. "Our investigation of this very large facility spanned eight
weeks over a two-year period and included personnel from EPA's National Enforcement
Investigation Center. Today's actions are a product of that investigation."


EPA alleges Dow violated the Clean Air Act by, among other things, failing to follow
regulations aimed at detecting and repairing leaks, as well as failing to conduct a required
stack test. Dow was also allegedly found to be in violation of multiple Resource Conservation
 and Recovery Act requirements for managing hazardous waste.


These are preliminary findings of violations. To resolve them, EPA may issue a compliance
 order, assess an administrative penalty or bring suit against the company. Dow has 30 days
 from receipt of the notice to meet with EPA to discuss resolving the allegations.


EPA said Dow's alleged clean-air violations may have increased public exposure to organic
 hazardous air pollutant emissions including, but not limited to, ethyl chloride, toluene, ethylene,
 perchloroethylene, methanol and hydrogen chloride. Hazardous air pollutants may cause serious
 health effects including birth defects and cancer and may also cause harmful environmental
and ecological effects. These pollutants are also volatile organic compounds and are major
 precursors of ground-level ozone (smog).


Smog is formed when a mixture of pollutants react on warm, sunny days. Smog can cause
respiratory problems, including coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and chest pain.
 People with asthma, children and the elderly are especially at risk, but these health
concerns are important to everyone.


Hazardous wastes have properties that make them dangerous or potentially harmful to
human health and the environment. They exhibit at least one of four characteristics - flammability,
corrosivity, reactivity or toxicity. They can be liquids, solids, contained gases or sludges and
 can be products of manufacturing processes or simply discarded commercial products like
cleaning fluids or pesticides.

 

Click here for the entire press release
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11/05/07 MDCH releases final Pilot Exposure Investigation report

Click here to view report   
 www.michigan.gov
 
Release Date: November 05, 2007 
Last Update: November 05, 2007 
Contact: T.J. Bucholz (517) 241-2112
Agency: Community Health

horizontal rule

MDCH Responds To Comments On The Pilot Exposure Investigation In Tittabawassee River Flood Plain

horizontal rule

November 5, 2007

The Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) has released responses to comments received on the 2005 public comment draft of "A Pilot Exposure Investigation: Dioxin Exposure in Adults Living in the Tittabawassee River Flood Plain Saginaw County, Michigan." MDCH responses to comments are provided in a final Pilot Exposure Investigation (PEI) report.

This final PEI report does not address new environmental or biological data that have become available since the draft PEI report was released in 2005.

The PEI report found that dioxin levels in some Tittabawassee River Flood Plain study participants were higher than background estimates for people of the same age with no known exposure to dioxins beyond background. While some of the total dioxin toxic equivalent (TEQ) levels in the participants' blood samples were on the high end of the range, all fell between the lowest and highest levels for people with no known exposure to dioxins beyond background.

These findings are consistent with those reported for the University of Michigan Dioxin Exposure Study, which was completed in 2006.

The MDCH Division of Environmental and Occupational Epidemiology conducted this Investigation under a cooperative agreement with the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR).

The Pilot Exposure Investigation Report, "Dioxin Exposure in Adults Living in the Tittabawassee River Flood Plain" is available on the MDCH web page at http://www.michigan.gov/mdch-toxics, or by calling the MDCH toll free at 1-800-648-6942.

Copies of the Report are available for public review at the following locations:

- The Grace A. Dow Memorial Library, 1710 West St. Andrews, Midland, Michigan

- The Midland County Health Department, 220 W. Ellsworth Street Midland, Michigan

- The Saginaw County Health Department, 1600 N. Michigan Avenue, Saginaw, Michigan

- The Tittabawassee Township Office, 145 South 2nd, Freeland, Michigan

- The Zauel (Saginaw Township) Library, 3100 N. Center Road, Saginaw, Michigan

- The Thomas Township Library, 8207 Shields Drive, Saginaw, Michigan

- The James Township Hall, 6060 Swan Creek Road, Saginaw, Michigan

- The Hoyt Library, 505 Janes Avenue, Saginaw, Michigan

- The Saginaw Bay-District office of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, 503 N. Euclid Avenue, Suite 9, Bay City, Michigan.

Requests for copies should be addressed to Dr. Linda D. Dykema, Michigan Department of Community Health, Division of Environmental Health, 201 Townsend Street, P.O. Box 30195, Lansing, Michigan 48909. People may also call the toll-free telephone number, 1 800 648-6942 (1-800-MI TOXIC).

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11/05/07
Lone Tree Council / TRW Dioxin Update/

bulletBay City Times launching Saginaw Bay Watershed Watch
bulletDioxin, public health, and food for thought
bulletManufacturing Uncertainty: Contested Science and the Protection of the Public's Health and Environment
bulletDioxin alters normal ratio's of girls and boys
bulletEPA right in urging Dow to speed up work

Click here to view the entire update

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11/01/07
Tittabawassee River EPA Dredging Pollution Reports

On June 27, 2007, U.S. EPA ordered The Dow Chemical Company (Dow) to negotiate an
Administrative Order on Consent, to address removal of extremely elevated levels of
dioxin-contaminated sediment within Reach D of the Tittabawassee River near Midland, Michigan.
  Dow contractors mobilized to the site on July 9, 2007.  Dow agreed to the terms of the Order
and on July 12, 2007, the Order was signed by the Regional Administrator and Dow.

Below are the links to latest EPA "Pollution" reports which summarize the progress made so far on reach D and O:

bullet Reach D as of  October 29
bullet The Site covers the area in the vicinity of, an historic, 1,200 foot-long, water
 discharge flume containing approximately 15,000 cubic yards of dioxin-contaminated
sediment and bottom deposits.  The site is generally bounded by the Dow Revetment
 Groundwater Interception System (RGIS) sheet piling along the northeast bank of the
 Tittabawassee River and a line of old sheet piling constructed in the 1930s-1940s and
 varying from 5 to 40 feet distant from the bank.  The entire removal area is located upstream of the Dow Dam.
  The historic water discharge flume was, at one time, connected to an outfall at the Midland Plant
bullet Reach O as of October 24
bullet The Site known as “Reach O of the Tittabawassee River Superfund Site,” is an
approximately 1,300 foot-long point bar extending approximately 50 to 100 feet
into the Tittabawassee River and situated parallel to the northeast bank of the
Tittabawassee River, approximately 6.1 miles downstream of the confluence of
the Chippewa and Tittabawassee Rivers and located within, or immediately adjacent
to, the Dow Chemical Company property located to the south of North Saginaw Road and to the west
of North Orr Road, in Midland County, Michigan.
 

For additional information and past progress reports, click here

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10/25/07
Lone Tree Council Press release

Lone Tree Council P.O. 1251, Bay City, Michigan 48706 (Fighting for environmental justice since 1978)
 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Michelle Hurd Riddick: (989) 799-3313
OCTOBER 24, 2007                         Rita Jack: (517) 484-2372
                                                   Terry Miller (989) 686-6386
                                                   Kathy Henry (989) 695-5348
 
GREENS AND RESIDENTS ALARMED BY EPA ACTION IN DIOXIN CLEANUP Fear Delayed
 Clean-Up; Loss of Transparency Due to Closed-Door meetings

 
 Local and state environmental organizations and residents are expressing alarm over
recent reports that regulators are again going behind closed doors to negotiate next
steps on the cleanup of Dow’s massive contamination in the Saginaw Bay watershed.
 EPA recently announced plans to engage in confidential discussions with Dow Chemical,
the polluter. “The full sunshine of public scrutiny is essential to keep the parties honest,”
 said Michelle Hurd Riddick of the Lone Tree Council.” While we welcome the EPA’s
 recent announcement to demand action on the contamination, we want the taxpayers
and residents of this region to be fully informed, and we want all of the agencies working
together”

Dow Chemical Company is responsible for one of the largest contamination sites in the
country, with highly toxic doxins and furans, cancer causing synthetic wastes produced
 by the company and discharged into the Tittabawassee and Saginaw Rivers, as well as
into Lake Huron. Since the discovery of the extent of the contamination five years ago,
Dow and the state have bobbed and weaved over responsibility for the contamination,
removal, and the risk of dioxin. Over the past five years, the Dow Chemical Company,
regulated by permit through the federal law called the Resource Conservation and Recovery
 Act (RCRA), has missed deadlines, provided the State inadequate sampling plans, initiated
 unapproved actions, and waged a public campaign denying the danger of dioxin. But after
 five years, this summer saw the DEQ pursue the first company directed efforts to remove
 some hotspots of contamination in the Tittabawassee River. Suddenly, the EPA has had
 enough, and when they reportedly saw more foot-dragging from the company they stepped in.  

The sound of clapping, however, has been silenced by the realization that the EPA may not
bring the comprehensive cleanup or openness that residents and environmentalists want.

“The EPA comes to the table with a different set of regulations than the state,” said Lone
 Tree Council’s Michelle Hurd Riddick. “The state has a signed license by the company, a
requirement of transparency, and a legal obligation to deal with off-site chemicals. The
EPA has Superfund (CERCLA), and it has a different set of regulations. Among the tools in
their toolbox is a provision that negotiations between polluter and regulator will occur in a
climate of confidentiality,” said Riddick. “ We’ve been down that road with the state, and
the closed door negotiations resulted in a weak agreement and slowed progress on cleanup.
 We don’t want to go there again.” ...
  
Click here to view entire PR

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10/24/07
Lone Tree Council / TRW Dioxin Update/

Play it again Sam!

Beginning tomorrow Dow, DEQ and EPA will once again be going behind closed doors to NEGOTIATE
 a cleanup with Dow Chemical. Dioxin Update # 102 contains the letter from EPA initiating  the
negotiations under Superfund. Dow could have challenged EPA because they are regulated under
 a license being handled by MDEQ. Dow chose not too. It's not  like Dow to back down from a
legal challenge...ever.   Nobody knows why EPA is doing this and EPA has not seen fit to explain
to the community their rationale. Yes, once again closed door meetings and again no public involvement.
 Again no way to conduct the business of the taxpayers over the rivers and resources we own.

While no one should give this closed door process their blessings, DEQ in order to secure a seat
at the table with EPA and Dow had to agree to confidential negotiations. MDEQ still has authority
under Dow's license to regulate the company and EPA by issuing these orders is muddying the
 waters with Superfund. The dynamics are going change. They always do when Dow is behind
closed doors. We've heard from folks on the Kalamazoo River and  Pine River and they are raising
 red flags all over the place for us with regard to EPA's recent involvement. We appreciate their insight.........

Here is a short history of negotiations  with Dow Chemical just in the last six years.

bulletIn 2001/2002 DEQ and Dow, were behind closed doors negotiating Consent Orders with Dow
 Chemical for their dioxin contamination of the Tittabawassee, Saginaw Rivers and Saginaw Bay.
 Defined as “fatally flawed and illegal” by the Attorney General’s office they never saw the light of day.  
bulletIn 2003 DEQ, Dow, EPA negotiated and finalized Dow’s RCRA Corrective Action license to
address Dow Chemical’s dioxin contamination of the Tittabawassee, Saginaw Rivers and
Saginaw Bay. This license was to be a clear path to finally addressing this serious contamination.  
bulletIn 2005 DEQ, Dow and the Governor’s office went behind closed doors to further negotiate the
 cleanup of the Tittabawassee, Saginaw Rivers and Saginaw Bay. Secreted away from the public
the reasons for these closed door meetings…Dow, DEQ and without protest from EPA, emerged
after 8 months with a negotiated “FRAMEWORK for and agreement “   
bulletLater in 2005 Dow, DEQ, EPA., USFWS, DOJ agreed to private closed door meetings under
the Natural Resource Damage Assessment to once again negotiate Dow’s responsibility to
address their contamination of the Tittabawassee, Saginaw Rivers and Bay.
bullet2007, October Dow, DEQ and EPA will again be going behind closed doors to negotiate
under Superfund, Dow Chemical’s cleanup of the Tittabawassee River and possibly the
Saginaw River and Bay.

We applauded EPA for walking away from the NRDA process because it wasn't transparent. But were
 they lying? .........think about it. They have now driven the entire cleanup behind closed doors to the
 exclusion of the public............what could be less transparent?  

Go to the TRW web site to view related documents.

 Michelle Hurd Riddick
 Lone Tree Council

bulletSpecial Notice Letter to Dow from EPA
bulletRemedial Investigation/Feasibility study, IRA, AOCt
bulletAppendix A: Statement of work for remedial action and feasibility study
bulletAppendix B: Statement of work for remedial design, Tittabawassee River

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10/23/07
EPA right in urging Dow to speed up work

To the editor (Midland Daily News):

    Your editorial of Sept. 17th entitled "Our View: EPA should finish its work" suggests that
 because the agency's dioxin reassessment is not yet completed, dioxin toxicity remains
open to serious scientific debate. This is simply not true.

    EPA has extensive scientific knowledge on the toxicity of dioxin. Thousands of peer-reviewed
 scientific studies have been published. No matter how you look at dioxin, one fact remains indisputable:
dioxin is a highly toxic compound. In fact, EPA's reassessment of the most recent science indicated
that dioxin is a more potent toxic chemical than previously believed. A recent University of Michigan
study funded by Dow Chemical revealed that people consuming fish from the Tittabawassee River,
Saginaw River and Saginaw Bay have higher than average levels of dioxin in their blood. Any increase
 in the dioxin levels of fish consumers is a health concern.

    For more than 25 years, the State of Michigan has found it necessary to issue consumption
advisories on fish from the Tittabawassee River, the Saginaw River and the Saginaw Bay because
 dioxin contamination extends over 50 miles. EPA believes that the current science on dioxin is
 sufficient to develop cleanup criteria for the watershed. Even without a final dioxin reassessment,
EPA has moved forward with dioxin cleanups across the nation to protect public health.

    The Midland Daily News is right to urge EPA to continue its work on a final dioxin reassessment
and take into consideration comments provided by the National Academy of Science. And EPA is
 right to urge Dow Chemical to continue and accelerate its work to restore the Saginaw Bay watershed
 so that fish consumers will no longer need to be concerned about dioxin in the fish they eat.

    Richard Karl, Director
    Superfund Division
    U.S. EPA Region 5
    Midland

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10/23/07 Study indicates dioxin pollution lead to more baby girls

Dioxin Pollution Leads to More Baby Girls: Study
    By Jonathan Spicer
    Reuters
   
    Thursday 18 October 2007

    Toronto - More girls than boys are born in some Canadian communities because airborne
 pollutants called dioxins can alter normal sex ratios, even if the source of the pollution is
many kilometers away, researchers say.

    Dioxin exposure has been shown elsewhere to lead to both higher cancer rates and the
 birth of more females.

    Researchers at the IntrAmericas Centre for Environment and Health say their findings,
released this month, confirm the phenomenon in Canada.

    The study also reveals the health risks of living within 25 km (15.5 miles) of sources
 of pollution - a greater distance than previously thought, they said.

http://ca.today.reuters.com/news

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10/12/07
Tittabawassee River EPA Dredging Pollution Reports

On June 27, 2007, U.S. EPA ordered The Dow Chemical Company (Dow) to negotiate an
Administrative Order on Consent, to address removal of extremely elevated levels of
dioxin-contaminated sediment within Reach D of the Tittabawassee River near Midland, Michigan. 
 Dow contractors mobilized to the site on July 9, 2007.  Dow agreed to the terms of the Order
 and on July 12, 2007, the Order was signed by the Regional Administrator and Dow.

Below are the links to latest EPA "Pollution" reports which summarize the progress made so far
 on reach D and O:

bullet Reach D as of  October 12
bullet The Site covers the area in the vicinity of, an historic, 1,200 foot-long,
water discharge flume containing approximately 15,000 cubic yards of
 dioxin-contaminated sediment and bottom deposits.  The site is generally
bounded by the Dow Revetment Groundwater Interception System (RGIS)
sheet piling along the northeast bank of the Tittabawassee River and a line
of old sheet piling constructed in the 1930s-1940s and varying from 5 to 40 feet
 distant from the bank.  The entire removal area is located upstream of the Dow Dam
.  The historic water discharge flume was, at one time, connected to an outfall at the Midland Plant

Reach O as of October 10
bullet The Site known as “Reach O of the Tittabawassee River Superfund Site,” is
an approximately 1,300 foot-long point bar extending approximately 50 to 100 feet
 into the Tittabawassee River and situated parallel to the northeast bank of the
Tittabawassee River, approximately 6.1 miles downstream of the confluence of the
Chippewa and Tittabawassee Rivers and located within, or immediately adjacent to
 the Dow Chemical Company property located to the south of North Saginaw Road
 and to the west of North Orr Road, in Midland County, Michigan.
 

For additional information and past progress reports, click here

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10/10/07 EPA gives Dow 60 days to negotiate cleanup settlement of rivers and Saginaw Bay

CONTACT: Mick Hans, 312-353-5050, hans.mick@epa.gov Anne Rowan, 312-353-9391,
 rowan.anne@epa.gov

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 07-OPA175

EPA to Dow Chemical: 60 day clock to negotiate on Tittabawassee River system
 cleanup starts today

CHICAGO (Oct. 10, 2007) - At a meeting today in Chicago, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
 Region 5 formally notified Dow Chemical that it has a limited opportunity to negotiate with the
Agency on a settlement to conduct an investigation, a study and interim response actions for
 dioxin contamination in the Tittabawassee River system. The Midland, Mich., company has until
 Oct. 17 to decide whether it will negotiate.

The targeted area begins upstream of Dow's Midland Plant and may extend downstream to the
 Saginaw River, its floodplains and portions of Saginaw Bay in Lake Huron.

EPA has the authority to call for negotiations under the Comprehensive Environmental Response,
Compensation and Liability Act, or Superfund. Superfund specifies the process in which a remedial
 investigation/ feasibility study (RI/FS), cleanup removal actions and remedy design must be conducted.

"The Superfund law provides a strong mechanism to continue necessary actions to comprehensively
 and definitively address the issue of dioxin contamination in the river system," said Ralph Dollhopf,
 associate director of EPA's Regional Superfund Division. "The work begun this summer to address
three hot spots in the Tittabawassee River is also being performed under Superfund authority."

Dow's expected RI/FS effort must evaluate the nature and extent of hazardous substances, pollutants
 or contaminants from the site and assess the risks they present to human health and the environment.
 It must also provide enough data to develop and evaluate a range of cleanup options.

If the company agrees begin negotiations, Dow will have until Dec. 10 to present EPA with a good faith
 offer demonstrating its willingness to conduct or finance an RI/FS and design a remedy. EPA may
choose to extend negotiations until Jan. 9, 2008, if appropriate.

Top EPA and Michigan Department of Environmental Quality officials are meeting today in Lansing
 to discuss their respective roles throughout this process.

Dow's Midland facility is a 1,900-acre chemical manufacturing plant. Dioxins and furans were
byproducts from the manufacture of chlorine-based products. Past waste disposal practices,
fugitive emissions and incineration at Dow have resulted in on- and off-site dioxin and furan contamination.
 

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10/08/07 EPA prepares to offer initial response to NAS Dioxin Risk Report

Inside EPA

October 5, 2007

EPA PREPARES TO OFFER INITIAL RESPONSE TO NAS DIOXIN RISK REPORT

EPA is poised to issue a plan detailing how the agency will address recommendations
from the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) for improving its risk assessment of dioxin,
a move that will provide a long-awaited guide on the agency's future efforts but could
prolong uncertainty over how to regulate the ubiquitous contaminant.

Although the plan for responding to NAS will be released in approximately a month, an
agency source says EPA may not have a revised risk assessment available for peer review
for up to two years, and may not ultimately develop a full toxicological profile for dioxin
 because the agency's current responsibility "is to respond to NAS."

The source says developing a profile for the Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) --
which contains agency risk data used by state and federal officials to set health and cleanup
standards -- would be the "logical next step" after preparing the response, but internal
discussions of the agency's long-term dioxin efforts remain unsettled.

In July 2006 NAS released its highly critical report -- Health Risks from Dioxin and
Related Compounds: Evaluation of the EPA Reassessment -- finding among other
things that EPA's 2003 draft risk assessment did not adequately characterize the
uncertainties associated with different approaches to dioxin's cancer risks.
..<snip>..
Activists and public health advocates have long been critical of the pace of EPA's dioxin
 efforts, which began in 1991 with an agency announcement that it would proceed with
an initial draft reassessment. In the intervening years the substance has generated significant
controversy, including an industry push earlier this year for the Supreme Court to review
whether EPA cleanup orders at an Arkansas site contaminated with dioxin were unlawful
because of the lack of clarity over the substance's risk level.

The delay on dioxin has meant significant uncertainty for cleanup officials, including at
sites such as the Dow Chemical Company headquarters in Midland, MI, where activists for
a number of years have demanded action.

Nevertheless, EPA is only now coming around to responding to the NAS critique, the agency
 source says, adding that limited resources may have contributed to the delay. "There have
been all these big IRIS assessments" -- such as trichloroethylene and perchlorate, in addition
to dioxin -- "and for all these highly visible chemicals, there's just a finite number of people
to work on them," the source says.
..<snip>..
The source adds that the response may be made available for peer review only in pieces
and will likely not be available in any form for at least a year. "Some NAS questions will be
 pretty hard to answer," the source says, because the critique "was a prescription for a lot
more work." The source says EPA is now looking for individuals within and especially outside
the agency who can assist with different parts of the response because of their expertise in a
given field. "We're sitting down and deciding what parts to bite off and deal with," the source
says, adding that the work plan is "a month away."

Gathering needed outside expert assistance will likely prolong the effort, the source says,
because of the time involved with going through the grant-making and contracting process.
 -- Adam Sarvana

Visit InsideEPA.com for all the details

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10/08/07
Tittabawassee River EPA Dredging Pollution Reports

On June 27, 2007, U.S. EPA ordered The Dow Chemical Company (Dow) to negotiate an
Administrative Order on Consent, to address removal of extremely elevated levels of
dioxin-contaminated sediment within Reach D of the Tittabawassee River near Midland, Michigan. 
Dow contractors mobilized to the site on July 9, 2007.  Dow agreed to the terms of the Order and
 on July 12, 2007, the Order was signed by the Regional Administrator and Dow.

Below are the links to latest EPA "Pollution" reports which summarize the progress made so far on
reach D, J-K, and O:

bullet Reach D as of  October 5
bullet The Site covers the area in the vicinity of, an historic, 1,200 foot-long,
water discharge flume containing approximately 15,000 cubic yards of
dioxin-contaminated sediment and bottom deposits.  The site is generally
 bounded by the Dow Revetment Groundwater Interception System (RGIS)
sheet piling along the northeast bank of the Tittabawassee River and a line of
old sheet piling constructed in the 1930s-1940s and varying from 5 to 40 feet
distant from the bank.  The entire removal area is located upstream of the Dow Dam.
  The historic water discharge flume was, at one time, connected to an outfall at the Midland Plant

Reach O as of October 4
bullet The Site known as “Reach O of the Tittabawassee River Superfund Site,” i
s an approximately 1,300 foot-long point bar extending approximately 50 to 100 feet
into the Tittabawassee River and situated parallel to the northeast bank of the
Tittabawassee River, approximately 6.1 miles downstream of the confluence of the
Chippewa and Tittabawassee Rivers and located within, or immediately adjacent to
the Dow Chemical Company property located to the south of North Saginaw Road
and to the west of North Orr Road, in Midland County, Michigan.
 

For additional information and past progress reports, click here

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10/03/07
Lone Tree Council / TRW Dioxin Update/

bulletEPA being Hypocritical?
bulletEPA walks away from NRDA
bulletHow transparency was killed
bulletImplications of ADR
bulletIs their information in the Saginaw River that Dow doesn't want us to know?
bullet EPA Lone Tree FOIA
bulletInformation on the DMDF

Click here to view the entire update

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10/01/07
EPA Bashing

A Letter to the Midland Daily News
by Richard A. Maltby

This letter is in response to the Midland Daily News editorial "EPA should finish work" (September 17, 2007).
 I would like to comment on the Daily News’ accusation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency not
 being helpful in "pushing to complete its own reassessment" of dioxin and related compounds. The Daily
 News also failed to mention the Dow Chemical Company’s intervention to complete the dioxin reassessment.

As I said in a previous letter to the Midland Daily News, given the recent intervention of the EPA into
Dow’s dioxin remediation work plans, I am reminded again of editor Jack Weinberg’s 1995 testimony
 given at a congressional hearing on "Scientific Integrity and Federal Policies and Mandates: Case Study 3
– EPA’s Dioxin Reassessment." The EPA had just completed its 1994 "Health Assessment Document for
 2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenso-p-Dioxin (TCDD) and Related Compounds," describing the health hazards of
 TCDD to humans and animals.

Regarding Dow’s involvement in EPA’s Dioxin Reassessment, Weinberg said that a new trade group,
the Chlorine Chemistry Council, was launched "to handle public relations, political lobbying, and
‘scientific initiatives’ on all issues for the chlorine industry. From its origin, the CCC was a Dow-led
effort. The Council’s first managing director was Brad Lienhardt, a career-long Dow employee."

Weinberg gave more information in regard to the release of EPA’s 1994 long-awaited draft of the
Dioxin Reassessment. Weinberg said, "Dow and the CCC moved immediately to undermine EPA’s
alarming findings. CCC organized a public relations push, and EPA public hearings in Washington
on the reassessment were dominated by the CCC’s hired scientific consultants. The main thrust
of the Dow/CCC offensive, however, centered on the EPA Science Advisory Board, which was
slated to review the draft reassessment."

In view of this testimony, Weinberg said, "Dow and its chemical industry allies … have achieved
another victory. Delay and confusion have always been primary industry goals. This is the third EPA
 dioxin reassessment in 10 years, and the existence of an on-going reassessment has been used as
an excuse for making no decisions in the interim. Each new study has been undertaken at the
urging of the chemical and paper industries."

Let’s stop bashing EPA and get on with the work of cleaning up the dioxin contamination of
our communities.

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

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