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Residents invited to comment on Tittabawassee River near-term cleanup plan at meetings Jan. 18-19 in Saginaw, Mich.

Release Date: 01/14/2011
Contact Information: Jayna Legg, 312-353-0562, legg.jayna@epa.gov

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
No. 11-OPA005

Chicago (Jan. 14, 2011) --- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5, along with Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment, will hold availability sessions and a public meeting to get input on an interim plan to limit dioxin exposure along the Tittabawassee River.

EPA and MDNRE representatives will talk to residents at two informal public availability sessions: 5 to 8 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 18, at the Freeland Sportszone, 5690 Midland Road, Freeland; and 1 to 4 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 19, at the Thomas Township Library, 8207 Shields Drive, Saginaw. A public meeting where EPA will be accepting comments about the plan is scheduled for 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 19, at Saginaw Valley State University, Curtiss Hall, Seminar Rooms D-G, 7400 Bay Road, Saginaw.

EPA’s recommended plan for near-term work includes placing a barrier such as ground cover over bare floodplain soil to limit human contact; or moving and raising gardens, fire pits and other recreation areas out of the floodplain. The plan is aimed at areas that frequently flood and contain bare soil. EPA is also recommending criteria that would make properties along the Tittabawassee River eligible for these early actions. The recommended plan proposes short-term measures, until long-term solutions are implemented for floodplain soil.

Dow Chemical Co., with oversight by EPA and MDNRE, has been evaluating properties near the river since last year. The evaluations include visits to homes to ask residents how they use their land and to assess property conditions.

Dioxins are the primary contaminant found at the Tittabawassee River, Saginaw River and Bay Superfund site. At this site, dioxins were formed as byproducts of Dow’s early manufacturing processes at its plant in Midland. In the past, the chemicals were released to the Tittabawassee River, where they washed up onto floodplains during high river flows. It is believed current waste management practices now control contaminant releases from Dow’s facility.

Since signing a Superfund hazardous waste agreement with Dow Chemical in January of 2010, EPA and MDNRE have been overseeing the company’s work in three major areas:

• Assessing properties along the rivers for early exposure controls.
• Looking at areas in and along the rivers where early stabilization of eroding contaminants may be necessary.
• Developing comprehensive cleanup plans for the first Tittabawassee River segment.

The proposed cleanup plan is explained in a fact sheet available on http://www.epa.gov/region5/sites/dowchemical. More details about the plan can be found in a document called Task 1.4 Engineering Evaluation/Cost Analysis for Early Response Action to Address Potential Acute or Near Term Exposure Risks, which can be found on the EPA’s website and in these local information repositories: Grace A. Dow Memorial Library, 1710 W. Saint Andrews St., Midland; Hoyt Main Library, 505 Janes Ave., Saginaw; and Alice and Jack Wirst Public Library, 500 Center Ave., Bay City.

Comments on the proposed plan may be submitted in writing until Feb. 11 to Patricia Krause, Community Involvement Coordinator, EPA Region 5 (SI-7J), 77 W. Jackson Blvd., Chicago, IL 60604; via the Internet at http://www.epa.gov/region5/publiccomment/dowchemical-pubcomment.htm: or by fax to Patricia Krause at 312-697-2568. People who need special accommodations at the availability sessions and public meeting should contact Patricia Krause, 800-621-8431, Ext. 65906, 9:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. weekdays, or via e-mail krause.patricia@epa.gov

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