DEQ promises cleanup plan by next month

Thursday, May 27, 2004


A cleanup plan for the Tittabawassee River and Midland isn't done yet, but state Department of Environmental Quality officials vow to have it ready by mid-June.

"We're working as fast as we can," said spokeswoman Liane Shekter Smith, responding to complaints about the delay.

The document, known by regulators as a "scope of work," provides a blueprint for cleaning up dioxin contamination downstream and downwind of the Midland-based Dow Chemical Co.

Dow submitted the plan in February, having prepared it as part of its operating license.

Despite previous revisions, state regulators say the document needs tweaking before they will approve it.

Al Taylor, project geologist for the Waste and Hazardous Materials Division, presented members of a citizens' advisory panel with a list of 15 proposed changes on Wednesday. Among them was a proposal to hasten cleanup.

"We understand that it takes time to do it right," Taylor said, "but we don't want to extend (cleanup) any longer than it needs to be."

The state also will require Dow to reduce dioxin exposure immediately on several additional properties.

Taylor said they include the Caldwell Boat Launch near Midland, Saginaw's Green Point Environmental Learning Center and Germania Golf Course, and the Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge, which spans several Saginaw County townships.

The state plans to redefine the term "frequently flooded properties" to areas that were submerged during this March's flood. Those properties will receive immediate attention under the cleanup plan. t

© 2004 Saginaw News.


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