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EPA: No dioxin contamination in samples from Saginaw, Midland and Bay City water supply systems

Release Date: 11/18/2009
Contact Information: Mick Hans, 312-353-5050, hans.mick@epa.gov

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
No. 09-OPA231

(CHICAGO - Nov. 18, 2009) U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 said today that results from a second round of samples collected from the Midland, Saginaw and Bay City, Mich., water supply systems show no dioxin or furan contamination. EPA rejected a previous round of unusable samples in early October due to laboratory contamination.

EPA and its contractor, Weston Solutions, collected samples in July from both intakes and treated drinking water at the Midland, Saginaw and Bay City, Mich., water supply systems. The effort was in response to community questions about potential impacts to drinking water from contaminated sediment stirred up by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' navigational dredging in the Saginaw River. Dioxins and furans are byproducts of historical industrial processes by the Midland-based Dow Chemical Co. SGS North America, Wilmington, N.C., a laboratory working for Weston to analyze for dioxins and furans, performed the original analysis using equipment that was found to be contaminated at the laboratory. The SGS lab equipment has since been upgraded. EPA collected additional samples in October, in order to have accurate results.

"EPA and Michigan Department of Environmental Quality have strong programs to ensure that the water people drink is safe," said EPA Acting Regional Administrator Bharat Mathur. "We will sample these systems once again when the Corps' dredging resumes in 2010."

The EPA water sampling tested for more than 180 other chemicals. The results for these other chemicals, analyzed at a different lab, were below EPA's maximum contaminant levels which ensure municipal drinking water supplies are safe. The complete reports from both rounds of water sampling are posted on EPA's Web site: http://www.epa.gov/region5/sites/dowchemical .

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