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Dow agrees to dioxin cleanup in Michigan area
Tuesday March 3, 6:03 pm ET

Dow Chemical agrees to clean up dioxin contamination in Saginaw Township park, other sites

SAGINAW TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) -- Dow Chemical Co. has agreed to clean up dioxin contamination in a Saginaw Township park and nearby residential sites, federal officials said Tuesday.

The Environmental Protection Agency said polluted sediment had washed into West Michigan Park numerous times during flooding over the years.

The park is three miles upstream from the confluence of the Tittabawassee and the Shiawassee rivers and downstream from the Dow plant in Midland that polluted the watershed with highly toxic dioxins and furans for many decades.

Dioxin levels ranged around 3,000 parts per trillion in the park, said Robert McCann, spokesman for the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

That's significantly lower than the 1.6 million parts per trillion reading at a toxic "hot spot" on the Saginaw river in 2007 -- highest ever in the Great Lakes region. But the fact that children play on the ground in the park spurred authorities to order the cleanup, McCann said.

"The concern is direct exposure to those contaminants for the kids," he said.

Dow will submit a cleanup plan by March 13 and begin work next month, EPA said. It will include replacing soil, paving the park's driveway and raising playground equipment to prevent contamination in future flooding. The park will reopen by early June.

Several tainted spots at a nearby condominium complex and residential lots will be cleaned as well.

The cleanup is the sixth in the area EPA has overseen under the federal Superfund law since July 2007, said Bharat Mathur, acting administrator of the agency's regional office in Chicago.

"We are focused on doing what is in the order," Dow spokeswoman Mary Graves said. "We want to make sure it is done very safely, in the least disruptive manner possible, and as quickly and efficiently as possible."

Source: Associated Press

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