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EPA to oversee Dow dioxin cleanup at Saginaw Township's West Michigan Park

Release Date: 03/03/2009
Contact Information: Mick Hans, 312-353-5050, Anne Rowan, 312-353-9391, (MDEQ) Robert McCann, 517-241-7397

No. 09-OPA024

CHICAGO (March 3, 2009) - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 said today that Dow Chemical Co. has agreed to conduct another Superfund removal action to clean up dioxin contamination in the Tri-Cities area. The new project, at Saginaw Township's West Michigan Park and nearby properties, is set to begin in mid-April. The work is expected to be finished and the park reopened by early June.

West Michigan Park is three miles upstream from the confluence of the Tittabawassee and Shiawassee Rivers. Historically, the park and the neighborhood around the park have flooded a number of times, resulting in dioxin-contaminated river sediment being deposited in the area.

Dow will provide EPA with a detailed work plan for the cleanup by March 13. If EPA approves the plan, it will oversee Dow's cleanup of the 5-acre park. The cleanup includes excavation of soil in most areas and backfill with clean soil, paving of the park's driveway and parking lot, and elevation of playground equipment to avoid recontamination if the area floods again. The work will also address contamination hot spots at a condominium complex to the west and in several residential lots east of the park.

"The West Michigan Park cleanup marks the sixth Superfund removal of dioxin contamination EPA has supervised in the Tri-Cities area since July 2007," said Acting Regional Administrator Bharat Mathur. "We'll be devoting extra attention to the areas of the park where children play."

"Thanks to our combined efforts we continue to see progress made in moving the overall cleanup efforts forward," said Michigan Department of Environmental Quality Director Steven E. Chester. "The cleanup at West Michigan Park is an important step in this process, and we are looking forward to its reopening this summer once the work is complete."

Dow Midland facility is a 1,900-acre chemical manufacturing plant. Dioxins and furans are byproducts from the manufacture of chlorine-based products. Past waste disposal practices, emissions and incineration at Dow have resulted in on- and off-site dioxin and furan contamination.

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