EPA Ends River Cleanup Talks with Dow Chemical
EPA Region 5
(Chicago, Ill.) on Jan. 4 stopped its negotiations with Dow Chemical of
Midland, Mich., aimed at a settlement to conduct a study and interim
cleanup actions for dioxin contamination in the Tittabawassee River
"EPA does not believe that the deal Dow is offering goes far
enough," said Ralph Dollhopf, associate director for the Superfund
Division of EPA's Chicago office. "Key issues that are paramount for
protecting human health and the environment remain unresolved. EPA
simply will not accept any deal that is not comprehensive."
Last October, EPA called for 60 days of negotiations under
provisions of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation
and Liability Act, or Superfund. The law specifies the process in which
a remedial investigation and feasibility study must be conducted, as
well as the design and execution of a cleanup plan. Last month, EPA
extended its Dec.10, 2007, deadline to resolve remaining issues and
reach a final agreement.
"I am extremely disappointed with this outcome," said Regional
Administrator Mary A. Gade. "EPA approached negotiations with high
hopes and realistic expectations. Our team put in many long hours of
good faith efforts that came to an unfortunate end today. EPA is now
reviewing its options for ensuring that dioxin contamination in the
river system and the Midland area can be fully addressed."
The targeted area begins upstream of Dow's Midland facility and
extends downstream to the Saginaw River, its floodplains and Saginaw
Bay in Lake Huron.
Under Superfund, an investigation and study are necessary to
evaluate the nature and extent of hazardous substances, pollutants or
contaminants from a site and assess the risks they present to human
health and the environment. It would also require that enough data be
developed to evaluate a range of cleanup options.
Dow's Midland facility is a 1,900-acre chemical manufacturing plant.
Dioxins and furans are 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.
For more information about the cleanup, visit http://www.epa.gov/region5/sites/dowchemical