Dow Chemical Must Cleanse Tittabawassee River of Dioxins

New results from sampling along and in Michigan's upper Tittabawassee River have identified several areas with elevated levels of dioxins and furans that require short term response activities, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality said Thursday.

The sampling results identified 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 6.5 miles of the Tittabawassee River.

The dioxins and furans found in the Tittabawassee River originated from a Dow Chemical factory in Midland, Michigan.

Dioxins are a family of chemicals produced by combustion and other industrial processes. Some dioxins have been linked to cancer.

The sampling was taken as part of the ongoing study and investigation being conducted by the Department of Environmental Quality, DEQ, and Dow Chemical.

The chemical profile of the in-channel and eroded bank samples are 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.

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.

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 from 7 to 9 pm at The Horizons Center in Saginaw Township.

This article originally appeared in the 01/01/2007 issue of Environmental Protection.

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