'Hot spot' toxics don't belong in shipping channel spoils dump

The Bay City Times, October 6, 2006
Dow Chemical Company’s interest in a dump on the Saginaw-Bay county line for Saginaw River dredgings spoils threatens to blow the whole project apart.
The Lone Tree Council is trumpeting memos from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that the local activists claim is proof that Dow has considered the dredgings dump as a place to put hazardous chemicals if the company is forced to dredge contaminated “hot spots” in the river.
True, Dow officials say. In fact, they’re making no secret of their interest in the dump.
Dow even gave the Saginaw River Alliance between $300,000 and $500,000. The river-shippers’ group gave more than $1.5 million toward the $5 million river dump project.
Yet, in order to intentionally put waste from toxic hot spots in the dump, the whole project would need a different federal permit, and upgrades.
This dump should not be revised.
The chronically controversial project took a quarter century or more to get to this point. It is expected to be ready for river dredgings in a year.
Repeated delays in finding a place to put dredgings from the upper Saginaw River have allowed the shipping channel to gradually silt in.
This year, several lakers got stuck in the river. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers approved a little emergency dredging to keep the ships coming.
Without this dump for a complete cleaning of the shipping channel, commerce on the Saginaw River will end soon.
Dow’s pondering of possibly putting hot spot spoils in the dump should not be allowed to delay this project.
This dump is for shipping channel dredgings, some of them probably contaminated.
Yes, it’s splitting hairs, but this dump is not for spoils that are known to be extremely “hot” toxics from any river bottom cleanup.
That stuff should go somewhere else.
Keep the dump project on the same track it has followed for decades.
As something that will help keep the river open to ships.

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