Meet Sue. She lives on the Tittabawassee River and has been watching the flood waters encroach on her home for the past week. Her husband, John, is worried that the river has yet to crest downstream from Dow Chemical and he’s keeping an eye on the weather.
From their deck you can see Island MM, EPA’s latest project along this sick river system. The federal agency is taking public comment on the best way to remedy the high levels of dioxins on the island—upwards of 17,000 ppt. Sue says the island has “ really washed away the last few years”. You can only see a few spindly trees hanging on for dear life on this 100’ X 35’ foot submerged island. The Tittabawassee river floods every year.
John retrieved some pictures of the island just 5 five years ago and shared them with me while we stood on his deck. Most people fishing the river, particularly kids, according to Sue frequent this island and spend hours just hanging around.
The high concentrations on the island were first discovered in 2007-2008. EPA. MDEQ and Dow were all aware of these high levels. No one acted. Of course Dow was not going to do anything voluntarily—but the agencies, which had the regulatory authority also failed to act. Island MM was not posted, no land restriction was imposed and no interim response or remediation took place on this attractive nuisance frequented by kids. Not ever the simplest things were done.
At a public meeting in 2006, Terry Miller, Lone Tree Council chairman, inquired about “real time removal” of high concentrations of dioxin. Like many others this suggestion fell on deaf ears—there is always more studying, more investigation needed and more conversations with the recalcitrant company to be had.
Heavy rains once again resulted in the T-river topping its 24 foot flood stage, thereby washing Dow Chemical’s dioxins/furans and 200 other chemicals of concern down the river onto yards, into homes, onto farm fields, parks and floodplains.
Roads are washed out. People are in waders trying to get to their homes and critters are running for high ground. Year after year this river floods, shuffling contaminants and sediments, changing the landscape and moving dioxin around like chairs on the Titanic.
EPA working with MDEQ is proposing a cleanup action on a small island in the Tittabawassee River to limit contaminated sediment from moving downstream. The island is located in a stretch of river known as Reach MM in a section of the site designated by EPA as Segment 5 (see Segment Map under Related Links and Documents below). The island contains high levels of dioxins and is eroding over time EPA recommends removing contaminated sediment located above the water surface combined with in-place containment of the remaining island sediment under a cap designed to let the island restore itself naturally. Nearby underwater sediment would also be capped as needed. Read more »
Not so Happy Anniversary. Five long years ago Lone Tree Council contacted EPA Region V and MDEQ about the migration of Dow Chemical’s dioxin to our nearest Great Lake, Huron. In our April 3 2006 letter to EPA we stated: Read more »
Yesterday members of Congress, including Congressman Dale Kildee, signed onto a letter to EPA Administrator Jackson urging the agency to release the decades old dioxin reassessment. The letter was initiated by Congressman Markey and we could not agree more. We appreciate Congress Kildee’s signature.
Below is a dioxin/ dioxin reassessment time-line and Congressman Markey’s letter to the administrator. After years of push back from Dow Chemical and industry it is time for EPA to step up and make protecting public health a priority. Read more »
Watches, Warnings & Advisor
Flood warning on the Tittabawassee again. Dow Chemical’s dioxin on the move…
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DETROIT/PONTIAC MI
410 PM EDT MON APR 4 2011 Read more »
Resident in his front yard. Dike behind him
Spring is in the air and another round of navigational dredging on the Saginaw River will begin soon.
While the Army Corp of Engineers is bucket dredging dioxin-contaminated sediments and re-suspending them so they are free to move out to Lake Huron the EPA remains silent on sediment traps to stop the migration. Never mind that they have the authority, as does the state, no agency is going to insist Dow Chemical do anything. Read more »