Thursday, August 25, 2005

I Attended a Meeting of the MDEQ and Dow Chemical Yesterday... was not a waste of time, even though I missed out on a picnic. First, since I'm so late with my report, Kathie Marchlewski's Midland Daily News article Dow dioxin responses under way about the meeting is already online. No need for repetition here, so I'll get on with what happened from my viewpoint.

Not many people were in attendance, perhaps less than a dozen residents. The rest were MDEQ, Dow and press... even though much of the press left without attending the meeting, but one TV station managed to show a camera's-eye panorama of attendees and short 2 person interview.

MDEQ overview of flood-areas and definition of 'facility' was a bit long for those following the dioxin drama regularly. No newbies were present; no need for all that yadda-yadda.

Dow brought us up-to-date on progress to date. You can read all about it in Kathie's article, but the bottom line is - Dow is pretty much where they should be in the remediation phase.

MDEQ then began a discussion about informational meetings - a topic that we all felt was pretty much a done-deal after the June 28 meeting in which the 'old' CAP members didn't like the idea of a 'new' CAP (relabeled CAC, but nonetheless, a CAP). Bottom line on this subject - Information meetings are a part of the overall plan to get the job done and keep residents informed. I guess that means meetings are a requirement and we will perhaps rejuvenate the 'old' CAP with some new members.

I came prepared for the discussion period, with questions about the new 'facility' terminology. I gave them the questions ahead of time with options and they chose to respond later and publish answers along with other questions brought up at the current trio of meetings after the Horizons meeting tonight. For your information, my questions were quite simple. If you care to read the questions, here they are. I will share the answers when I get them.

When I was aware they wanted to wait to answer my questions I brought up #4 - Why were you able to change the meaning (of the word 'facility') without that required legislation? The rather long-winded stock answer was not satisfactory, even with discussion and clarifications by other resident attendees.

MDEQ personnel insisted 'reasonable inference' is a fair way to assume the existence of dioxins in all of our backyards because samples were taken from a few residences. Mike Krecek called attention to the Michigan Department of Community Health study of dioxin exposure in adults, published earlier this year. See the paragraph below... from page 3 of that report (page 9 on the .pdf file noted here).
'In the summer and fall of 2003, the MDEQ sampled soil on 22 properties believed
to be frequently flooded by the Tittabawassee River. Analysis of surficial soils
for chlorinated dioxins and furans indicated DLC contamination above the MDEQ
criterion of 90 parts per trillion (ppt or ng/kg) on 15 properties (MDEQ 2004).'
Mike pointed out that MDEQ assumed all 22 of the properties were dioxin-laden - based on their criteria. Upon testing of each property - for analytical purposes - only 15 of the 22 properties contained dioxins above the 90 parts per trillion criterion. Do the arithmetic! Mike pointed out that meant that more than 33% of the supposed 'facilities' did not have the 'required' minimum amount of dioxins based on the State of Michigan criterion. Shucks! Do you realize... based on THAT information, 134 of the 400 priority 1 residential properties have no dioxin above 90 ppt. Hmmm! Whaddaya think about that?

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