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Saginaw-Tittabawassee Rivers Contamination Community Advisory Group Meeting Rescheduled to Feb. 28; Public Comment Period Extended

Release Date: 02/17/2011
Contact Information: Jayna Legg, 312-353-0562, legg.jayna@epa.gov

02/17/11 - For Immediate Release
Chicago --- The next meeting of the Saginaw-Tittabawassee Rivers Contamination Community Advisory Group will be at 6 p.m., Monday, Feb. 28, at Saginaw Valley State University, Regional Education Center, Room ES-202, 7400 Bay Road, Saginaw.

The regular schedule of the third Monday of the month will resume in March. The advisory group meets monthly to discuss issues related to this Superfund site and its cleanup. The meetings are open to the public. The group was established to represent the interests of the community and to share information and make recommendations to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Public comments are still being taken on the interim plan to limit dioxin exposure at the Tittabawassee River, Saginaw River and Bay Superfund site. The public comment period has been extended until March 13.

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 Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment, 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 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 EPA’s website. The meeting agenda and preliminary materials will be available a few days in advance on EPA’s website and at these local libraries: 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 March 13 to Patricia Krause, Community Involvement Coordinator, EPA Region 5 (SI-7J), 77 W. Jackson Blvd., Chicago, IL 60604; via the Internet at 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 advisory group 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.