Cleaning & Maintenance Management Online

Dow's dioxin decontamination debacle

March 5, 2009
SAGINAW, MI — In an appeal to stop a class-action lawsuit by residents of the Tittabawassee River flood plain, Dow Chemical has promised to develop a plan to clean up a park contaminated with dioxin, a byproduct of a chemical manufacturing process that disrupts hormones and causes cancer, according to the Michigan Messenger.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), dioxin levels almost six times the federal limit have been detected in soil at West Michigan Park.
The contamination stems from decades-long production of products such as Saran Wrap, Agent Orange and pesticides at Dow’s Midland plant, from which dioxin has spread into the Tittabawassee River and at least 50 miles downstream through the Saginaw River watershed, the story stated.
Repeated flooding of the river has spread dioxin-contaminated sediments into nearby low-lying areas, including the park which borders the river, the story noted.
According to Sonny Grunwell, director of Saginaw Township Public Services, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) has installed hand-washing stations and posted signs recommending people use them after contact with the soil.
Dow will come up with a plan to remove soil from the park, replace some concrete with asphalt and stabilize the river bank. The company has also proposed to remove the playground equipment and have it cleaned, the story added.
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