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Dow Begins Dioxin Cleanup Near Midland

July 16, 2007 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 85, Issue 29

Dow Chemical has begun work to remove contaminated sediments from the Tittabawassee River, downstream from its 1,900-acre manufacturing complex in Midland, Mich. The sediments are contaminated with high levels of dioxins, chlorobenzenes, metals, and other materials. (The most toxic dioxin, TCDD, is shown.) Work began on July 9 after the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and the Army Corps of Engineers issued a revised permit for Dow to construct a steel coffer dam to contain the materials and facilitate their removal from the river. The permit was revised to address three dioxin "hot spots" discovered along the upper 6 miles of the Tittabawassee River last November. Dow promised to take corrective action in 2003, but progress "has taken too long," EPA alleged in a June 27 notice. EPA ordered Dow to begin field work by Aug. 15. A Dow spokesman says the company has been working with state officials for some time to design and implement a cleanup plan. "Some work where we had the authorization to go ahead had already gotten under way. But some of the work in the river itself wasn't permitted yet, so we really couldn't go full-scale," he says.


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