US Dow begins Michigan clean-up, silicone ops to restart soon

Author: Stefan Baumgarten

2020/05/22

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Dow is shifting its focus to clean-up and recovery at operations that were affected by flooding after two dams in Michigan broke earlier this week, the US chemicals major said in an update late on Thursday.

Dow temporarily shut down operations in the Midland area after the Edenville and Sanford dams broke on Tuesday night. The dams contain the Tittabawassee River.

“We have begun implementing site recovery plans and will continue to advance site assessment, as the situation safely allows,” Dow said in an update.

The company will inspect all of its facilities along the river as flood waters recede.

There were no reports of product releases or employee injuries, it added.

Dow’s performance silicones operations in the area were not affected by the flooding, but they do depend on infrastructure provided by Dow’s industrial park.

“While we are in the early phase of recovery, we currently do not expect our Midland silicone assets to be offline for an extended period of time,” Dow siad.

WATER LEVELS RECEDE
The city of Midland said that as of 19:00 hours local time on Thursday, the Tittabawassee River level was under 30 feet and receding.

While the city’s drinking water system remains safe to use, the sanitary sewer system was “presently compromised” in certain areas, it said.

Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump has signed a federal emergency declaration, opening the door for federal resources for the county.

Midland County was declared under state of emergency by Michigan’s governor Gretchen Whitmer.

Among others, Dow operates plants in Midland producing glycol ethers and methyl chloride.

The company's headquarters have been based there since its foundation in 1897.

Chemicals major Trinseo also has facilities in Midland, producing acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) and styrene acrylonitrile (SAN).

The Edenville dam was built in 1925. The site currently known as Sandford Lake was made in the same year after the damming of the Tittabawassee River.

Map by Miguel Rodriguez-Fernandez

Additional reporting by Jonathan Lopez