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Cleanups in the Tittabawassee River and Saginaw River

Superfund removal actions (cleanups)

2007 - Dow cleaned up four dioxin hot spots in the Tittabawassee and Saginaw Rivers downstream of Dow's plant in Midland.

July 2008 - Dow began cleaning up dioxin contaminated yards, homes, and paving road surfaces in the Riverside Boulevard neighborhood of Saginaw.

Both cleanups were done with EPA oversight. Residential yards were dug up and backfilled with clean soil, interiors of homes were cleaned, and surfaces on Riverside Boulevard were paved.

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Exposure Units in flood-prone areas

Map showing where Island MM is

Click to see larger map

EPA and MDNRE (now MDEQ) identified flood-prone properties along the Tittabawassee and Saginaw rivers that may be frequently used by people. These areas are called Exposure Units, or EUs. Dioxins and furan contamination has been found downstream from the Dow Chemical Co. Midland Plant due to historical waste management practices. The floodplains of the rivers are subject to flooding and erosion, particularly during high flow events. This may result in the spread of dioxin contamination to other locations within the floodplain, as well as to downstream locations. The floodplain is greater than 4,000 acres and areas that flood frequently are likely to contain contamination. These early actions are intended to mitigate potential exposures to contaminated floodplain soils ahead of the comprehensive cleanup of the rivers and floodplain.

Tittabawassee River

Island MM

Map showing where Island MM is

Click to see larger map

Island MM likely formed in the early 1900s as a result of changes in river currents caused by stone piers from a former bridge that once existed as an extension of Hospital road. During the same time period, intensive logging and agricultural practices allowed extensive runoff. The resulting high solids loading into the Tittabawassee River caused sediment to build up downstream of the bridge, forming Island MM. The solids that formed Island MM mixed with dioxins and furans that were released historically from Dow's Midland Plant. Review of historical aerial photographs taken over the last 70 years and more recent post-flood monitoring and evaluation shows that Island MM is eroding over time. The currently visible Island MM persists above the median water surface elevation of about 580 feet and supports some vegetation. The cleanup took place in August 2011.

Segment 1

Segment 1 is the stretch of the Tittabawassee River adjacent to Dow's Midland plant, approximately 3.1 miles in length. Segment 1 starts at the confluence of the Tittabawassee and Chippewa rivers at the Tridge and extends downstream to Lingle Drain. Segment 1 is located within the City of Midland and Midland Township, Midland County, Michigan. Segment 1 is the first of eight segments that comprise Operable Unit 01 (OU 1) of the Tittabawassee River, Saginaw River & Bay site. Segment 1 includes Reaches A through H. Segment 1 transects the Dow Midland plant and is characterized by engineered banks (e.g., embankments, rip rap, and sheet pile), a relatively narrow river valley, and a very small amount of adjacent area that floods. Land use is industrial on both sides of the river. The Dow Dam is located about one mile downstream of the Tittabawassee and Chippewa confluence.

Reach D

The Site covers the area in the vicinity of an historic, 1,200 foot-long, water discharge flume containing approximately 15,000 cubic yards of dioxin-contaminated sediment and bottom deposits. The site is generally bounded by the Dow Revetment Groundwater Interception System (RGIS) sheet piling along the northeast bank of the Tittabawassee River and a line of old sheet piling constructed in the 1930s-1940s and varying from 5 to 40 feet distant from the bank.The entire removal area is located upstream of the Dow Dam. The historic water discharge flume was, at one time, connected to an outfall at the Midland Plant.

Reach JK

The Site is located in over-bank areas on the northeast side of the Tittabawassee River, approximately 3.6 miles downstream of the confluence of the Chippewa and Tittabawassee Rivers and located within The Dow property bounded to the northeast by a wetland with Saginaw Road to the northeast beyond the wetland, the Caldwell boat launch to the South, and to the west by the east channel bank of the Tittabawassee River, in Midland County, Michigan.

The Site includes two areas of focus.The first consists of buried, post-industrial deposits immediately adjacent to the River and extending at least 75 feet inland, near the southern end of Reach J and extending through the southern end of Reach K (the "Levee Area").The second area consists of high and low terraces, and includes wetlands, that occupy most of the Reach J/K over-bank area and are subject to sediment deposition during flood conditions.

Reach O

Reach O of the Tittabawassee River Superfund Site is an area of contamination within the Tittabawassee River Dioxin Spill Site. The site, which is located in Midland County, Michigan, was contaminated with dioxin and furans, primarily as the result of historic wastewater discharge practices associated with The Dow Chemical Company Plant.

Reach O is an approximately 1,300 foot-long point bar extending approximately 50 to 100 feet into the Tittabawassee River and situated parallel to the northeast bank of the Tittabawassee River, approximately 6.1 miles downstream of the confluence of the Chippewa and Tittabawassee Rivers and located within, or immediately adjacent to, the Dow Chemical Company property located to the south of North Saginaw Road and to the west of North Orr Road, in Midland County, Michigan.

Riverside Boulevard

The site is located along a private road and is generally located approximately 4 miles to the west and 2 miles to the south of the intersection of Interstate 75 and State Route 46 in Saginaw, Saginaw County, Michigan. The site is approximately 1,000-foot long by 150-foot wide area along the north bank of the Tittabawassee River just above its confluence with the Shiawassee River. Riverside Blvd runs through site and is located just south of the land berm located on the northern edge of the site. The site contains 26 parcels of property that includes 11 residences and open lots that can be accessed from Riverside Blvd. Riverside Blvd is privately owned by one of the neighborhood property owners. The site is prone to heavy flooding which lead to contamination from river sediment deposition. The site is located approximately 22 miles down river from the Midland Plant.

West Michigan Park

Completed July 2009

The site is located along West Michigan Avenue and is generally located approximately 7 miles to the west and 1 mile to the south of the intersection of Interstate 75 and State Route 46 in Saginaw, Saginaw County, Michigan. The site is approximately 3,000-foot long by 500-foot wide area along the northeast bank of the Tittabawassee River, 3 miles upstream of the confluence of the Tittabawassee and Shiawassee Rivers. It includes a 5-acre public park named West Michigan Park (WMP); a condominium complex located directly adjacent to and west of WMP; several residential properties directly adjacent to and east of WMP. Site activities will be concentrated to the areas of WMP; two elevated contamination areas near single condominiums and four elevated contamination areas near single-family residents (ECAs); and a moderate-use zone (MUZ) in several areas located on the wooded portion of the residential properties. The site is located approximately 15 miles down river from the Midland Plant.

Saginaw River

Wickes Park

The Site is located in the Saginaw River, approximately 0.5 miles downstream from the confluence of the Schiawassee and Tittabawasee Rivers and is adjacent to Wickes Park in Saginaw. The site is generally bounded by the City of Saginaw's Wickes Park to the east and by General Motors to the west. The contaminated zone is located at the approximate center of the Saginaw River, just north of the abandonned boat ramp in Wickes Park. During previous sampling by Dow contractors, this area was identified as containing elevated levels of dioxin contamination. Due to the level of contamination, the highest observed in the river system to date, a removal action was required immediately.

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