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EPA and MDEQ seek comment on proposed Dow Chemical Agreement; public meeting Nov. 5

Release Date: 10/16/2009
Contact Information: (EPA) Mick Hans, 312-353-5050, (MDEQ) Bob McCann, 517-373-7917

No. 09-OPA201

(CHICAGO - Oct. 16, 2009) U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 and Michigan Department of Environmental Quality said today that they are seeking comments from the public on a proposed agreement with the Dow Chemical Co. The agreement outlines the next steps in a comprehensive Superfund evaluation of dioxin contamination in the Tittabawassee River and Saginaw River and Bay and their floodplains. All three organizations have approved the proposed settlement. A public comment period runs Oct. 19 to Nov. 17.

EPA and MDEQ will not sign any agreement until after the agencies have engaged the community and fully considered public comment. The proposed agreement-contained in a legal document called an administrative order on consent-could be revised based on comments received. A public meeting will be held Nov. 5, 7 p.m., at Saginaw Valley State University, Curtiss Hall, Banquet Rooms A&B, 7400 Bay Road, Saginaw. EPA will hold a question-and-answer session and accept public comments at the meeting.

Highlights of the proposed settlement include:

  • Technical activities Dow will be required to complete, including addressing high-use properties along the rivers, addressing erosion and movement of highly contaminated soil and sediment, and identifying cleanup options in an upstream-to-downstream fashion
  • How the Superfund process will be used to meet Dow's investigation and clean-up obligations under its MDEQ RCRA (active facility waste regulations) license
  • Legal terms addressing EPA and MDEQ's site costs, fines Dow may be required to pay and the process for resolving disagreements among EPA, MDEQ and Dow
  • How the community will be able to obtain technical assistance

"This proposed settlement marks a dramatic step forward on a comprehensive cleanup across this impaired ecosystem," said EPA Region 5 Acting Regional Administrator Bharat Mathur. "We look forward to a robust public involvement process."

"For this process to be successful, the public must be engaged in a genuine and meaningful way," said MDEQ Director Steven E. Chester. "We look forward to discussing issues of importance with the public and getting their feedback on the proposed settlement."

The complete proposed settlement, as well as a plain language fact sheet, will be available to review at Grace A. Dow Memorial Library, 1710 W. St. Andrews St., Midland, and Hoyt Main Library, 5050 Janes Ave., Saginaw. It may also be read at and comments may be submitted electronically. Information on where to send comments by mail is available at the libraries and the Web site. Residents who have questions or need special accommodations at the meeting may contact EPA community involvement coordinator Patti Krause at 800-621-8431, Ext. 69506, or

Also, on a separate track, EPA Office of Research and Development representatives will discuss their review of the University of Michigan Dioxin Exposure Study, known as the UMDES, at a public meeting Tuesday, Oct. 20, 6:30 p.m., at Saginaw Valley State University, Curtiss Hall, Banquet Rooms A&B, 7400 Bay Road, Saginaw.
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