Dow fined for conducting unreported dioxin tests

Kathie Marchlewski, Midland Daily News 01/06/2006

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality announced Thursday that the state and The Dow Chemical Company have reached a settlement and signed a consent order stemming from unapproved, unreported dioxin and furan testing.

Dow will pay $70,000 in civil fines and $7,000 for reimbursement of investigation and enforcement costs, and in turn is resolved of further action resulting from violations of its hazardous waste operating license.

Environmental Protection Agency and DEQ regulators became aware that Dow was conducting the studies when they discovered a contractor working on the Tittabawassee River last spring. "We happened to notice that there was a contractor doing sampling we didn't know about," said George Bruchman, chief of the Waste and Hazardous Materials Division of the DEQ.

DEQ also found that in an unrelated matter, the company was incorrectly classifying waste slated for disposal at its landfill.

Dow officials maintain that the company was unaware it was violating its license, and the testing was a matter of conducting work it would need to complete to further its efforts to comply with off-site corrective actions requirements.

"We were proactively conducting testing that, in our view, did not have to be reported," said company spokeswoman Anne Ainsworth. "We had no objection to providing the data from the study to the DEQ and the public."

More than a dozen studies were conducted by Dow between the summer of 2004 and spring of 2005, including the sampling of soil and sediment to find dioxin and furan levels. The sampling turned up some of the highest dioxin levels found in the river to date, including one test that showed more than 8,000 ppt. near Caldwell boat launch in Midland.

The recent settlement also clarifies and expands the language of Dow's operating license to ensure that all study activity and data are reported. Dow also will be required to submit to the state a report detailing steps it will take to remedy the classification system errors.

İMidland Daily News 2006
 


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