Recent testing evidently confirmed
previously reported high levels in the yards, roads, and homes of
residents. In July 2008, the
EPA stepped in forced Dow to initiate an immediate cleanup. River Boulevard is
one of the last dirt roads in Saginaw County and provides the only access to
the residents homes. According to the MDEQ, dioxin levels of 10,000
ppt where discovered in the dusty and often muddy road. The EPA has
since paved it as part of the remediation. This area is prone to
repeated flooding, it will be interesting to see how future contamination is
is a residential cleanup of dioxin contamination
located in Saginaw,
Saginaw County, Michigan. See Polrep 1 for more details.
Set up for the soil removal activities began in August and consisted of:
building a staging area for personnel and equipment, road building within
staging area and creation of access points through pre-existing berm to
staging area, the placement of landscape fabric and stone under crawlspaces
and decks to minimize human exposure to contaminants, and creating permanent
floors in outdoor sheds.
Removal activities of contaminated soil began on September 2,
2008. Pre-excavation activities on these properties include moving of
outdoor personal property to the staging area and the removal of trees and
brush. During removal activities, crews removed 2 feet of contaminated soil
in residential areas and 1 foot of soil from the “transition zones”
(non-residential). After the removal of soil was complete, crews placed
landscape fabric as a demarcation layer, backfilled with clean fill and
topsoil and prepared the area for landscaping and sod placement. All
removal activities of contaminated soil were completed on October 8, 2008.
Highlights of Dow/MDEQ/EPA Activity
Below are a few media articles on the various activities undertaken by Dow ,
the State to address the contamination. See our
Newspaper/Media page for much more. For a comprehensive list of
meetings related to the issues, see our Meetings
Dow "Legislators" repeatedly attempt to hijack
states regulatory system.
A group of Michigan Republican Lawmakers from Midland & Saginaw (Stamas , Moolenaar,
Goschka) have repeatedly filed bills in the Michigan Legislature to raise the States dioxin
Residential Direct Contact Criteria (RDCC) to over 11 times the
current standard, from 90 ppt to 1000 ppt. In our opinion, this is a attempt to
relieve Dow Chemical of it's clean up responsibilities under it's current operating
license. These individuals have shown their true colors: their allegiance to
Dow Chemical company overrides their concern for public safety in City of Midland,
Tittabawassee River flood plain, the State of Michigan, and the United States of
America. A poll found 90% of
Michigan voters support a comprehensive policy to phase out persistent toxic chemicals
(like dioxin). Yet these "representatives" advance the cause of Dow over
their citizens. If passed, these bills may set a precedent that could affect dioxin
standards across the entire United States. Now is the time for concerned citizens
from around the country to get involved in this debacle unless you want Dow Chemical
interfering in your backyard.
to highjack State Regulatory System
2006: Dow hacks try again with three new bills
2005: Dow hacks introduce bills HB4617 and SB390, Governor vetoes
Sub-Committee Votes to Slash DEQ Budget & Eliminate Entire Programs
So far, Dow is attempting to do as little as possible with the SOW. Other than for
putting a few hand washing stations in parks, remediation is not being addressed.
They are not responding to the immediate needs of those with known contamination nor are
they implementing a method to break exposure pathways. Dow's' plan of attack seems
to be delay, delay, delay with more testing, testing, testing. Citizens at CAP are
saying CLEAN IT UP NOW! and take immediate steps to reduce/eliminate exposure pathways in
known contaminated areas until a final solution is implemented. Health Studies
are NOT required before cleanup begins!
The MDEQ , EPA
are finding many issues with the initial Dow SOW. Dow understands what was required
of them for this SOW, they choose to water it down and avoid any of the real issues.
Unless regulatory agencies take a strong position, we will still be talking &
testing years from now.
The discovery of dioxin contamination was not made know to the public
until January 2002 when the Lone Tree Council filed a Freedom of Information Act as the
result of whistle blowers in the States Government.
For the next 12
months, victims of the contamination where caught up in a corrupt & illegal
political process where Dow and the Engler administration tried to work behind
closed doors to create and ram through regulations that would relieve Dow of any
responsibility and raise Residential Human Contact Criteria levels from 90 ppt to 851
December 27, 2002. illegal activities stopped in the 11th hour of the
Engler administration by concerned citizens.
Governor Engler and his administration where shown the door when Michigan voters elected
Jennifer Granholm as Governor.
"administration" did not change, residents expect more of the same from Dow.
Suit filed March of
2003 seeking damages for loss property values and future health monitoring, both issues
that seemed to ignored by the regulatory approach.
The Health Monitoring
aspect of the suit is basically a "Health Study" that is not under the control
or influence of Dow Chemical.
As of February 2003,
over 300 residents have signed on prior to being certified as a Class Action
(certification expected in February 2004).
potential plaintiff's will expand to over 2000.
If not certified as a
class action, our lawyers will sue all 300 as individual cases.
For details of the Law
Suit and all the latest activities, click here
Past, current, and possible future cleanup methods
Can all the dioxin be cleaned up?
Many have asked this question and not one official at
any of the public meetings (Dow, MDEQ, ATSDR, or EPA) could provide an concrete answer.
Current cleanup activity is limited to a few "hot spots", no one
has yet to propose clean up methods for the rest of the 44 miles of
Tittabawassee river banks, 16,000 acres Tittabawassee floodplain
soil, Saginaw River, and the Saginaw Bay.
Cleanup methods mentioned by public officials (in no
Burial with clean soil - silly
idea, might work until next flooding when
contaminated river sediment is spread over the formerly clean topsoil.
How many dump trucks would it take to cover 16,000 acres? What about
all the trees, how do you cover the dirt they grow in without killing them.
Dredging - dredge the entire river of
sediment to prevent it from be
re-deposited on land during flooding.
Use some sort of mesh/filter to
prevent disrupted contaminated sediment
from flushing out to sea. Where
has this been done and did it work?
Can we ship all of the spoils to Midland
where they think this stuff is safe?
As of July 2007,
Hydraulic dredging is being used to clean up 3 sediment hotspots in
the Tittabawassee River and flood plain soils are being excavated and
trucked to Midland Dow's Salzburg dump.
Heating - Thermal Desorption: heat
soil to a high temperature to drive
off contaminants. All 16,000 acres? Are you willing to watch all the plants
and trees die as the soil is treated. This process may or may not work, depends upon many technical factors and probably is not appropriate for such a large scale contamination. A report,
of Thermal Desorption Technology by the Naval Facilities Engineering Service Center describes the various processes
available. Costs estimates range from $35 - $250 per ton of treated soil. How
many tons of soil are found in 16,000 acres and how long would it take to roll off the
little conveyor belt ?
In February 2008, the MDEQ announced it conducted a "Thermal
Desorption" trial in 2007
using existing bacteria in soil to breakdown the contaminants into
Process treats the soil in place, however it needs to be plowed
39 other projects around the world
Solidification - EPA has proposed solidification at some sites, a
process in which contaminated soil is mixed with cement-like material. The sludge
eventually hardens and is left on-site. Everyone who wants a volcanic
moonscape for your back yard should vote for this one.
Incineration - The use of
incineration as a remedy is perpetuated by an industry and government bias against
innovative non-incineration technologies. This bias can be seen in engineering curricula,
regulatory training, and research which focus on building better burners and landfills.
Communities are often frustrated by the lack of alternatives to incineration. As it now
stands, companies have no incentive to develop non-incineration technologies and EPA has
no mandate to certify alternatives for use in the field.
Natural attenuation - Another disturbing trend is leaving the
contamination in place and relying on "natural attenuation" to take care of the
problem. Natural attenuation essentially means performing no further treatment and waiting
for dilution, dispersion, evaporation, and eventually degradation to deal with the
contamination. - Nothing is being "attenuated" in the Tittabawassee or
Saginaw River as indicated by the high levels being
Relocation & Fences - Sad, but this is probably the leading cleanup
"technology" for the 16,000 acre Tittabawassee flood plain dioxin contamination.
In summary, there is less on-site treatment of the source of the
contamination, more frequent use of on-site containment, primarily clay
caps, and more frequent selection of natural attenuation to address both on-site soil and
groundwater contamination happening at Superfund sites. These decisions result in less
cleanup at these sites and less protection of the environment and public health of
surrounding communities and those of neighboring areas where "naturally
attenuated" contamination could spread. By leaving more contamination in
communities for longer periods of time, EPA is letting industry off the hook for the true
costs of cleaning up these sites. And at the same time, the people living in the areas
impacted by these sites continue to face health risks that could be reduced, if not
eliminated, with proper cleanup.
These trends represent a failure of the Superfund program to fulfill its
mission of cleaning up contaminated sites. Instead of giving companies responsible for the
pollution a free hand to decide how to clean up a site, the people directly affected by
these sites need to be able to decide how much cleanup is needed. These companies should
be held accountable for what they did to the sites and to the people who live there. It
is clear, however, from this picture of trends in cleanup remedies that we cannot rely on
EPA to do this. We must do it ourselves with stronger local organizing and
coordinated national efforts. We must work together to force EPA to be the agency
we want it to be and to replace the agency that it has become, one that protects industry
instead of the public.
Note: on January 1, 2003, Jennifer Granholm replaced John Engler as governor
Many of the political appointees that drove the campaign to cover-up the dioxin
left with Engler. It's to early to tell if the new administration will take the
citizens side in these
matters, however, recent news out of the MDEQ indicate a change may be coming.
We will wait and see...
The content of this site referring to all of the deceit and
collusion between Dow and the MDEQ will remain for a historical perspective.
Future developments will hopefully be in stark contrast to the past.
MDEQ is pushing a Corrective Action Consent Order
considered by AG to be illegal
The contents of the CACO will raise
acceptable dioxin levels from 90 ppt TEQ to 831 ppt TEQ. 90 ppt TEQ is the current
MDEQ limit for residential contact in the rest of Michigan. Michigan's attorney
general office commented that draft versions of this document where illegal. Is the
proposed version any better? We better find out before 12/10/02 when the order could
be signed the the departing MDEQ officials of the Engler administration.
Not much other than talk and illegal backroom
negotiations to relieve Dow of responsibility
Dow or MDEQ have no plans to start a cleanup,
they intend for the citizens of the Tittabawassee flood plain to stew in this toxic mess
until they can relieve Dow of responsibility for the cleanup. The only existing DEQ
Part 201 cleanup standard for dioxin in residential soils is 90 parts per trillion (ppt).
We have measured values of over 7000 ppt. Why are they ignoring this?
Because they need time to get the illegal version of the CACO approved before Engler
Dow and MDEQ are trying to raise cleanup standards from
90 parts per trillion TEQ to over 831parts per trillion TEQ. Why?
Because it gets Dow off the hook to clean it up. Many of the contaminated areas are
in the range of 100-830 ppt. Funny thing happened back in February 2002, the MDEQ
tried to raise the limit from 90 ppt to 150 ppt. Public outcry stopped them.
Once they completed the Phase 2 study, the new "scientific" cleanup level
promoted by Dow was 1000+ ppt. Now it's 831 ppt based on the most recent draft of
the CACO. There is no legal or scientific basis to do this and Michigan's Attorney
General has told them to STOP trying to get this CACO approved. However, they are
still trying to do so before Engler leaves office. Below is an internal email leaked
to the public. Outrageous
NOTE: The CACO was defeated in
December 2002 because of the actions of concerned citizens.
Dow & MDEQ are trying to divert attention away from a
cleanup by proposing Health Study to be funded by Dow. A
Health Study is NOT required before a cleanup begins.
The next time you hear about a Health Study being proposed by ANYONE, read
this editorial and then read the proposal again. There are many design criteria which
can included that make the studies outcome inconclusive before it even starts.
Dow & MDEQ are trying to push through an illegal CACO
which will relieve Dow of any responsibility for the contamination. Michigan's
Attorney General office has reviewed the document and deemed it ILLEGAL
and to STOP trying to get it passed. NOTE: The CACO was defeated in December 2002 because of the
actions of concerned citizens.