, January 4, 2008 (ENS) - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 today stopped its negotiations with Dow Chemical aimed at a settlement to conduct a study and interim cleanup actions for dioxin contamination in the Tittabawassee River system.
"EPA does not believe that the deal Dow is offering goes far enough," said Ralph Dollhopf, associate director for the Superfund Division of EPA's Regional Office in Chicago, without revealing the terms of the deal.
"Key issues that are paramount for protecting human health and the environment remain unresolved. EPA simply will not accept any deal that is not comprehensive," he said.
The targeted area begins upstream of Dow's Midland, Michigan facility and extends extends over 50 miles downstream to the Saginaw River, its floodplains and Saginaw Bay in Lake Huron.
Dow's Midland facility is a 1,900 acre chemical manufacturing plant. Dioxins and furans are byproducts from the manufacture of chlorine based products.
Some remediation work has already been done. Here, workers stabilize the shoreline. (Photo courtesy EPA)
Past waste disposal practices, fugitive emissions and incineration at Dow have resulted in on- and off-site dioxin and furan contamination.
Last October, the EPA called for 60 days of negotiations under provisions of the Superfund law. This law specifies the process in which a remedial investigation and feasibility study must be conducted, as well as the design and execution of a cleanup plan.
Last month, EPA extended its December 10, 2007, deadline to resolve remaining issues and reach a final agreement.
"I am extremely disappointed with this outcome," said Regional Administrator Mary Gade. "EPA approached negotiations with high hopes and realistic expectations. Our team put in many long hours of good faith efforts that came to an unfortunate end today. EPA is now reviewing its options for ensuring that dioxin contamination in the river system and the Midland area can be fully addressed."
Under the Superfund law, an investigation and study are necessary to evaluate the nature and extent of hazardous substances, pollutants or contaminants from a site and assess the risks they present to human health and the environment. It would also require that enough data be developed to evaluate a range of cleanup options.
For more information about the cleanup, visit http://www.epa.gov/region5/sites/dowchemical/
Copyright Environment News Service (ENS) 2008. All rights reserved.
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