EPA, Michigan, Dow Propose Settlement, Ask for Comments

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 and Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) are seeking comments on a proposed agreement with Dow Chemical Co. that outlines the next steps in a comprehensive Superfund evaluation of dioxin contamination in the Tittabawassee River and Saginaw River and Bay and their floodplains.

All three organizations have approved the proposed settlement. A public comment period runs through Nov. 17.

EPA and MDEQ will not sign any agreement until after the agencies have engaged the community and fully considered public comment; the proposed agreement could be revised based on comments received.

A public meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on Nov. 5 at Saginaw Valley State University, Curtiss Hall, Banquet Rooms A&B, 7400 Bay Road, Saginaw. EPA will hold a question-and-answer session and accept public comments at the meeting. The proposed settlement includes:

  • Dow will be required to complete technical activities, including addressing high-use properties along the rivers, addressing erosion and movement of highly contaminated soil and sediment, and identifying cleanup options in an upstream-to-downstream fashion;
  • how the Superfund process will be used to meet Dow's investigation and cleanup obligations under its MDEQ Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (active facility waste regulations) license;
  • legal terms addressing EPA's and MDEQ's site costs as well as fines Dow may be required to pay and the process for resolving disagreements among these parties, and
  • how the community will be able to obtain technical assistance.

"For this process to be successful, the public must be engaged in a genuine and meaningful way," said MDEQ Director Steven E. Chester. "We look forward to discussing issues of importance with the public and getting their feedback on the proposed settlement."

The complete proposed settlement, as well as a plain language fact sheet, will be available to review at Grace A. Dow Memorial Library, 1710 W. St. Andrews St., Midland, and Hoyt Main Library, 5050 Janes Ave., Saginaw. It may also be read at www.epa.gov/region5/sites/dowchemical/ and comments may be submitted electronically. Information on where to send comments by mail is available at the libraries and the Web site. Residents who have questions or need special accommodations at the meeting may contact EPA community involvement coordinator Patti Krause at 800.621.8431, Ext. 69506, or krause.patricia@epa.gov.

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