Dow Chemical, US regulators move forward on Michigan dioxin

18 January 2010 21:55  [Source: ICIS news]

Dow plant at Midland MichiganHOUSTON (ICIS news)--Dow Chemical reached an agreement with US federal and state regulators last week on the next steps in cleaning up dioxins from its Midland facilities in Michigan, the US chemical producer said on Monday.

"The agreement marks a significant step towards resolution," Dow spokeswoman Mary Draves said.

But it was too early to speculate on the eventual cost of the clean-up, Draves said.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Michigan state have signed an administrative order with Dow's consent that was identical to a draft issued in October.

The company had reported reaching an agreement in principle with the regulators in September.

The draft pact was subject to a 60-day period for public comment.

The order signed last week required Dow to identify the options for cleaning up the the Tittabawassee river and Saginaw river and bay, and their floodplains.

It also called for Dow to design the remedy that the EPA would ultimately select, the regulator said in a statement.

The Midland facilities began operations in 1897. The EPA contends that dioxins from the site have spread 50 miles (80km) to Saginaw Bay, in Lake Huron, via the two rivers.

Draves said "systematic and very comprehensive" research has already been undertaken, including the collection of 25,000 data points about the river systems.

The EPA now wants Dow to fill in data gaps, and plan how it would address high-use properties along the rivers and the erosion of highly contaminated soil and sediment.

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By: Stephen Burns
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