EPA Proposes $5.4 Million Contamination Settlement with Dow

06.02.2023 - The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed a $5.4 million historic settlement with chemical giant Dow to cover its dioxin pollution cleanup efforts resulting from the company’s contamination of waterways dating back to the 19th century.

EPA’s proposal covers work the agency performed more than a decade ago in decontaminating the Tittabawassee and Saginaw rivers of Michigan, Dow’s home base, and the Bay Superfund site.

The costs are said to relate to the agency’s sampling efforts and negotiating removal orders prior to 2010 as well as a 2010 settlement deal comprising the remedial investigation, feasibility study and remedial design along the impacted waterways.

The US environmental watchdog said the dioxin contamination was the result of “historic industrial practices” by Dow dating as far back as 1897, adding that the company has acknowledged that for decades — primarily between the 1930s through the 1970s — its headquarters site at Midland polluted the watershed with dioxins and furans.

 Biden rushes to Enact Antipollution Rules

In related news, the EPA said it is still reeling from the loss of more than 1,200 scientists and policy experts who walked away from the agency in protest due to the Trump administration’s lack of interest in policing environmental offenses.

The chemicals chief told the New York Times that staff can’t keep up with the mounting workload and that the enforcement unit is currently prosecuting “fewer polluters than at any time in the past two decades.”

According to the newspaper, the EPA is scrambling to write highly complex rules and regulations that are central to President Biden’s climate goals. The new rules have to be enacted within the next 18 months or they could be overturned by a new Congress or presidential administration.

Author: Dede Williams, Freelance Journalist