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Release Date: 08/12/2009
Contact Information: (EPA) Phillippa Cannon, 312-353-6218, (EPA) Mick Hans, 312-353-5050, (MDEQ) Bob McCann, 517-373-7917

No. 09-OPA155

(Chicago - August 12, 2009) U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 and Michigan Department of Environmental Quality today reported updates on a number of fronts in their ongoing effort to comprehensively address dioxin and other Dow Chemical contamination along the Tittabawassee River and Saginaw River and Bay. Some of this information was previously announced via EPA's e-mail listserv.

Community Outreach
A workshop to discuss organizing a Community Advisory Group is set for Saturday, Aug. 15, 9 a.m. to noon, at Saginaw Valley State University, Regional Education Center room ES202, 7400 Bay Road, Saginaw. A CAG is a way for people in the community to provide local input to the decision-making process at Superfund sites. The group will be independent and will be balanced to represent all the interests and viewpoints in the community. EPA has hired an independent facilitator to help move the process forward.
A fact sheet with detailed CAG information is available online (see URL below).

EPA opened a community information office June 23 at the Saginaw County Courthouse, 111 S. Michigan, Room LL015, Saginaw. The office is open Tuesdays through Thursdays, phone 989-790-5215. Initially, Chicago-based community involvement coordinators are staffing the office. EPA expects to have both community involvement and technical staff at the office full-time by this fall.

West Michigan Park
The Superfund cleanup of Saginaw Township's West Michigan Park is complete. More than 17,000 tons of contaminated soil was removed, followed by restoration and replanting. To minimize potential impacts of future flooding at the park, the playground area has been raised slightly with new equipment installed 12 inches higher than before. Driveway and parking areas were also replaced and re-paved with asphalt. The park will be reopened after the new grass and plants have had time to get reestablished, probably in a few weeks.

Fish Advisory Signage
At the request of EPA and MDEQ, Dow gas provided funds to update more than 100 signs with current, more restrictive Michigan Department of Community Health fish consumption information. The signs will be installed along the Tittabawassee and Saginaw Rivers beginning in August. The signs warn that no one should eat carp, catfish or white bass from the area downstream of Midland and that consumption of other fish should be limited. Previously, signs with out-of-date, less restrictive information were posted along the river.

Drinking Water Analysis
In response to concerns about risks to drinking water from sediment stirred up by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' navigational dredging in the Saginaw River, EPA has arranged for sampling and analysis of water from the Bay City, Saginaw and Midland water treatment plants. To establish a baseline, a first round of samples was collected when no dredging work was scheduled. A second round will be collected when the dredging resumes. During the sampling events, water is collected as it enters the plants and again once it has been treated and exits into the municipal drinking water systems.

Comprehensive Cleanup Negotiations
EPA and MDEQ's negotiations with Dow Chemical on a comprehensive approach to address contamination in the Tittabawassee River and Saginaw River and Bay are expected to continue through August 25. A week-long session among the three parties was held in Grand Rapids, July 13 to 17.

Updates describing the negotiations and other site news are distributed on an ongoing basis via listserv and posted on EPA's web site: dowchemical. To subscribe to the listserv, send a blank message to See MDEQ's dioxin website for additional information about efforts to address contamination in the Tri-Cities area:

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