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EPA to check for dioxin contamination in West Michigan Park

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency plans to begin sampling Saginaw Township’s West Michigan Park next week to determine how much dioxin was deposited in the Tittabawassee floodplain during recent flooding.

Dioxin, a highly toxic and carcinogenic byproduct of combustion and chemical manufacturing, has spread from Dow Chemical’s Midland plant 52 miles downstream through the Tittabawassee and Saginaw Rivers and into Lake Huron. Flooding is known to have spread dangerous levels of dioxin laden sediments into the floodplain.

In 2009 EPA required Dow to pay to [

remove 17,370 tons of dioxin contaminated soil from West Michigan park](“http://michiganmessenger.com/23618/17370-tons-of-dow-dioxin-contaminated-soil-removed-from-park-hot-spot”), 15 miles downstream from the company’s Midland plant.

The park had been identified by state officials as a top clean-up priority and designated “time critical” by the EPA after dioxin contamination at levels as high as 5,900 parts per trillion was found there. Federal law requires cleanup of contamination at 1,000 ppt.

“There is a plan in place that requires sampling in the park after flooding events to evaluate potential recontamination and the dioxin levels,“ EPA Project Manager Mary Logan said via e-mail. “Sampling is currently scheduled for early next week, conditions allowing. EPA’s Project Manager from our Saginaw office will provide oversight.”

In response to questions from the Sierra Club this week Logan said that EPA does not plan to issue advisories about the dangers of dioxin exposure in flooded areas along the Tittabawassee River and the Saginaw River.

Some residents are not satisfied with EPA’s response.

“Why can you not close that park as well as ALL others that have been inundated again and again,” said John Taylor, who lives along the Tittabawassee. “How much is Dow paying you to sit back and let us be poisoned to death?”

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