A Cleanup Deal In Michigan | Chemical & Engineering News
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Web Date: October 16, 2009

A Cleanup Deal In Michigan

Environment: Proposed agreement between Dow, EPA would govern cleanup of dioxin
Department: Government & Policy, Business
News Channels: Environmental SCENE
Keywords: Dioxins, EPA, Dow

The Environmental Protection Agency and Dow Chemical today released a proposed legal agreement on the cleanup of dioxins from the chemical maker's plant in Midland, Mich.

The proposed deal lacks key specifics, such as the cleanup level for dioxins. These details will be filled in after public discussions.

Nonetheless, the agreement is a landmark in a longstanding struggle among Dow and its backers, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, and local environmental groups (C&EN, Aug. 11, 2008, page 15).

The dioxin contamination, which was discovered years ago, came from Dow's past operations and affects the Tittabawasee River, the Saginaw River, and Lake Michigan's Saginaw Bay. The company has carried out some cleanup in the past, but a plan for final cleanup of these waterways has proved elusive.

The agreement includes a provision that would allow EPA to charge Dow $600,000 if the federal agency has to take over any of the cleanup work. Plus, EPA could charge Dow up to $2,500 per day if the agency determines Dow is not following the terms of the settlement.

Dow and EPA hope to make the deal final in November.

"We're committed to moving this forward," Mary Draves, a Dow spokeswoman, says.

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