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      DEQ reps, Dow Chemical, hear public comment on proposed dioxin cleanup plan

      Members of the audience at Dow Memorial Library Auditorium listen to presentations by Dow and DEQ

      Tuesday night at Dow Memorial Library Auditorium, the Michigan Department of Environmental quality and representatives from Dow Chemical took input from the public on a plan to reclaim 1,700 acres worth of property contaminated with harmful dioxins, some of which are known to cause cancer. At the end of the review period, on April 25th, DEQ says it plans to consider all public comments and will issue a decision by June 1st. The decision will be one of three things 1) to approve the plan 2) to approve the plan with modifications or 3) send the plan back to Dow to be rewritten.

      One concern raised on Tuesday night was the amount of contamination necessary for a property to be cleaned. The DEQ number is 250 parts per trillion. Anything above that would result, with permission of the property owner, in 12" of soil being removed and replaced, and any shrubbery or landscaping being replanted. Trees would be saved.

      Terry Miller from the Lone Tree Council, an environmental group, says the 250 ppt number is too high. He cites new standards expected to be released by the EPA that may end up being lower. A DEQ representative responded by saying that there shouldn't be any further delays in the project and it should go forward with the information they have.

      Another woman, Holly, who's neighborhood is outside the targeted area for cleanup says some houses in her neighborhood were moved from areas closer to the Dow facilities. Project manager Steve Lucas said that was new information and that he would look into it.

      If you would like to comment on the proposed plan you have until next Wednesday to contact DEQ or Dow Chemical.