River Watch www.trwnews.net
Tittabawassee River Floods
In the spring, the Tittabawassee River often floods at various locations along it's
banks due to snow melt and/or rain. In the fall of 1986 an extraordinary amount of
rain fell in a short period of time (up to 14 inches in 12 hours). The resulting
flood was on a scale that statistically would occur once every 100-500 years. The
2004 spring floods were closer to the norm, however; there were more of them (4) and more
extensive than the "average" spring flood. In all of these floods, river
sediment and surrounding flood plain soils are swept up and redeposited. Dioxin binds to soil
particles and travels wherever the soil goes.
Above: T.River bank photo 3/28/04. The layer of sand is a new deposit left after the 2004 flood
Above: April 2011; Tittabawassee floods West Michigan Park that was remediated by EPA in 2009; Good place for a playground?
MDCH Warning:, people should take precautions when entering the flood plain: "There are some common sense steps you can take to limit your exposure to the dioxins found in the flood plain. If you have been playing or working in soil that could be contaminated, wash your skin to remove any dirt. Thorough hand washing is especially important before eating. Children playing outside should be prevented from putting toys or other dirty objects in their mouths. Clean fill dirt can be added over contaminated dirt in gardens, on lawns, and in play areas if dioxin contamination is known or suspected. However, if the area is flooded after clean fill is added, the surface soil could be re-contaminated. Care should be taken not to disturb the layer of clean soil covering the contaminated soil. Because they may be especially sensitive to dioxins, children should not play in soil or sediment that is known to contain elevated levels of dioxins. "
MDEQ graph of Tittabawassee River Flooding 1960- 1999
The Bay City Times, in retrospect, summed up "The Flood" of 1986 well by telling their readers to just scan the "D" listings in the dictionary,"its all there, Downpours, Drenching, Devastation and Disaster"!
In the fall of 1986, the Tittabawassee River as well as many other rivers in the state experienced what some call a "100 year flood'. During this storm, the Dow Chemicals waste treatment plant was overwhelmed and it's contents flushed into the Tittabawassee River and backyards of everyone down stream.
Images of the 1986 Flood
Below are a number of photographs of the aftermath in the Freeland area. A few include current views of same area in 2003 for reference. Be patient, a lot of photo's are loading....
1986 boat in the backyard Vs same view spring 2003
Backyard 1986 Vs same area in spring 2003
Imerman Park by entrance, notice roof of pavilion.
Waterfront property? 1986 vs 2003
Tittabawassee Road Bridge. Closed for ~ week.
View to west of Freeland Road towards bridge.