Here is a well-written review of the Dow/MDEQ meeting Thursday at Horizons. Í did not attend this meeting but i actually have something to discuss about this topic & will do it soon.... but..... right now i'm busy!
Dow expects work on dioxin hotspots to be done this year
By Tony Lascari
The Dow Chemical Co. expects interim remedial action cleanup at three dioxin-contaminated sites along the Tittabawassee River to be completed by the end of the year. Work that began earlier this summer at one contamination hot spot adjacent to Dow's Michigan Operations site, which is a historic source of the contamination, is expected to be finished in December, Dow On-Site Remediation Leader Steve Lucas said.
Construction of a facility to remove water from dredged sediment could be finished this month. "We're going to start hydraulic dredging immediately after it's done, so we're targeting the beginning of September," Lucas said.
The next project, just upstream from the Caldwell boat launch, will include the removal of soils in about 1,700 feet of the riverbank.
"This is really driven by the potential for erosion and the concerns that the contamination could be spread further by the erosion process," said Todd Konechne, Dow's project leader.
The area labeled as "Reach J/K" also would have a cap placed on the upper terrace area of the river, and a portion containing wetlands would be fenced, Konechne said. Site preparations began this week and excavation on the riverbank could begin Monday.
He said the site will receive fresh topsoil and be replanted with natural vegetation to restore it.
"This is actually a very important part of this project," he said, and the work is expected to be completed in mid-October.
The third project is in "Reach O" of the river, about six miles downstream of the confluence of the Chippewa and Tittabawassee rivers. The plan is to remove sediments in the river through excavation after removing water from the area.
Site preparations, including temporary road construction, are expected to begin Monday.
Dow will place contaminated materials from all three sites in the Dow Salzburg Landfill.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Dow agreed to the work in July after the EPA issued three administrative orders in June requiring action by the company this year.
Jim Augustine, with the EPA, said while the agency knew Dow was planning to begin the work, it wanted projects completed this year.
"The reason that the EPA stepped in at this time and issued the three orders was simply to establish completion dates -- deadlines -- and ensure cleanup work began on all three regions this year," he said. "The U.S. EPA believed that these three cleanups needed to be expedited and moved forward as quickly as possible."
The Lone Tree Council's Terry Miller said he applauds the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and Dow's efforts to remove the dioxin-tainted soils. He said the council was "ecstatic" when it heard the EPA was stepping in to require action this year.
"It sounds like an extremely elaborate process, and we've been hoping for these removals for the length of time that we became aware that they were in the river," he said.
He questioned what impact the removal activities would have on the river system.
Peter Simon, with Dow contractor Ann Arbor Technical Services, said there are tradeoffs any time humans begin to alter the river system.
"There are absolutely consequences for any type of removal, and that's why you can't just jump into them," he said.
He said in the long-term, removing the contamination is expected to help relieve stresses on the river.
Further study of contamination in the river is under way by ATS, which is using a GeoMorph system to map the riverbed.
"In general, this provides us with insight into what Mother Nature has been doing in terms of erosion and deposition," he said.
The results of the study in the first six miles of the river have led to the cleanup efforts under way.
©Midland Daily News 2007