We represent concerned citizens, township officials and environmental organizations who want to see the Saginaw River dredged safely and quickly! We believe there are safe, available, affordable options for dredge spoils that do not put our health or our tax dollars at risk.

The dredged silt contains highly toxic dioxin that is known to pose a threat to our health. The proposed Army Corps of Engineers site was not designed for these highly toxic materials. <continue>

Read the letter from Attorney Borrello to County Commission Chair Hare.

"Although it is my understanding that federal, state and other funds will pay the County's costs incurred as the local sponsor, it must be made clear that the County is ultimately responsible for any and all costs, as specified in the Agreement, which may include, among other things, costs of clean-up and response, including studies and investigations necessary to determine an appropriate response, in the event ofcontamination." <continue>

The Campaign for a Safe Watershed is a coalition of organizations and individuals dedicated to cleaning up and restoring the Saginaw Bay Watershed.

A restored watershed will not only protect our health and the ecosystem that we depend on, but it is necessary for a thriving economy. We believe Dow Chemical must be held responsible for the dioxin contamination in our region, and provide for a comprehensive cleanup that is protective of human health, and ecosystem health. <continue>

Shouldn't we dredge the river to allow shipping, clean up the river AND support businesses upstream?

Yes, we support dredging! It will clean up the river and if done right, will protect people and wildlife. In fact, the environmental community has pushed for dredging the Dow dioxin contaminated areas of the Tittabawassee and Saginaw Rivers. And, yes, we support ship transport as an environmentally sound approach. The issue we have is the location that was selected for placing the dredge spoils. <continue>

Here is an outrageous video of contaminated sediments being pumped into the Army Corp of Engineers/Saginaw County dredge site. Currently, there is no coordination on this site among the agencies who have all expressed concern about the site integrity, wildlife contamination, lack of permits or long term implications of this dump site.

Dow Chemical is (should be?) responsible, cradle to grave, for their dioxin contamination, however EPA has made an exception in this case to take a hands off position for the time being on Dow’s responsibility and obligations on the Saginaw River and to people that live and play on and in it. A delay is always a win for Dow and their shareholders, yet is once again a loss for the people that live in their spoils.

Dredge Site Calamity Thanks to the residents along Melbourne Rd for the pictures. It truly is mind numbing in this day and age, confronted with such profound contamination, to think that such unsophisticated and unsafe practices take place.

The Saginaw River and Bay will forever be labeled an ”Area of Concern” because of stupid and irresponsible decisions like this— and because those charged with protecting resources, people and wildlife have taken a hands off approach.
DMDF Google image Pump and dump is't fixing the problem Yuck. Would you want this in your neighborhood?

I thought they were the experts? E-mails obtained under the Freedom of Information Act reveal a very real need for someone to revisit, reevaluate, redo, and reconsider the long-term safety of the slurry pit sitting on the Saginaw River. Attached are just two of dozens of e-mails showing problems with this site.

Apparently there is is too much water in the DMDF, prevailing winds are causing wave action and erosion to the dikes compromising its integrity. Water that is 3 to 4 feet from the top of the dikes. The Corp is worried about “overtopping” and needs to "emergency release" large quantities of the water. To the best of our knowledge, nothing has been done to address a reoccurrence of the issue this year. Stay tuned.
MiDNRE/DEQ discussing the ACoE issue READ MORE
The official ACoE request READ MORE

Water, water, everywhere there is water... Stinking pond scum water soaked gardens. Stagnant pools of standing water. Flooded backyards where families once sat under the pines. Yet today locals find those pines standing in about 8 inches of fetid water and no one sits under them any longer. A storage shed in one backyard sits surrounded by a very large pond filled with decaying vegetation, the odor rising with the day's heat. Welcome to Zliwaukee Twp along Melbourne Rd. Where homes are nestled between the Saginaw River and the slurry pit forced on these folks by Saginaw County and the US Army Corp of Engineers.

350 feet from people's homes sits the slurry pit accepting contaminated sediments from the Saginaw River navigational dredge. The pumps have been shut off and the drain tiles cut in this once tiled farmland/wetland area. Water stands at the base of the berm which separates the homes from the slurry pit. Water stands in hundreds of feet of ditches that never filled before. Water is an unwelcome trespasser to people's backyards.

One resident said her utility bills are in excess of $300 per month. Their sump-pump runs 24 hours a day. Mosquitos are worse than ever and as one woman said, "God does it stink at times". Of course none of the decision makers live out there. They don't even visit. Oh, and don't try to put up a pole barn or a shed. Residents have no mitigated land left. It was devoured by the slurry pit, screwing up the master plan too for this tiny twp.

Projects done on the cheap, done outside the law with meddling politicians never work out. The disrespectful heavy hand of government always severely alters the community they are pushing around. Not every elected official used a heavy hand--some just looked the other way.

Pictures don't do justice but look at them anyway or here. Better yet go visit Melbourne Rd.

Michelle Hurd Riddick
Lone Tree Council

Saginaw River Dredging Project Begins Without Safety Measures Sought By State For 31 years EPA and the State of Michigan have known about Dow's dioxin migrating to the Saginaw Bay. When is enough, enough? EPA under CERCLA could order Dow to put in sediment traps. DEQ could do the same under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, ( Dow's Operating License) or heaven forbid Dow could voluntarily put in sediment traps to demonstrate a real commitment to "sustainability" and " responsible care". EPA and DEQ acknowledge that the navigational dredge is re suspending contaminated sediment and sending it out to Lake Huron. Yet the bastions of power remain silent:Embarrassing and farcical in light of all the talk about protecting and cleaning up the Great Lakes. LINK
EPA document:

The Dredge Report For a bird's eye view of the continued folly and stupidiy responsible for the degradation in the Saginaw Bay Watershed I invite you to please click the link below and look at this picture. Contaminated river sediments by the millions of gallons are being piped into an open, unlined pit in a former farmed wetland area adjacent to the Saginaw River in the middle of the Crow Island Game Preserve. Saginaw News Article: LINK

Zilwaukee and Frankenlust lose. The sludge flows The legal challenges for now have ended. This unlined slurry pit is now receiving highly contaminated sediment from the Saginaw River. It is an insult perpetrated on the people, taxpayers and watershed of the Saginaw Valley. Who was Goliath?- County government, the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor, Dow Chemical and Public Works Commissioner Jim Koski. Together the bastions of power beat up and took on the Davids of Zilwaukee Twp with no shame. Their ends justified the means of pathetic and gutless government. Saginaw News Editorial LINK

DEQ Quarterly Meeting, November 6th The press release from the MiDEQ is here and the meeting agenda is here (PDF). This meeting will be similar to an earlier meeting in that there will be several 'open house stations' for one-on-one or small group discussion (divide and conquer) of 'topics of interest' with meeting presenters along with other agency and Dow representatives for a half hour after the 'formal part' of the meeting has concluded. 'Supporting materials' are available from the MiDEQ here. Be sure to wish Dow Chemical's John Musser a happy retirement.

Additional documents have been posted to this site today, August 11, 2008. Next time you hear MDEQ management reassure you a project will need "permits" please remember those permits are subject to the folly and whim of political agendas. MDEQ's web site says: "The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) is a regulatory agency. Its purpose is environmental protection, which is facilitated through the use of the permitting function." It would appear that the MDEQ had every intention of insisting on permits for the slurry pit UNTIL the Governor's office intervened. Shortly after meeting with LG Cherry-- groundwater permits were tossed out the window. In January Dow pulled their funding for the slurry wall intended to protect groundwater. After years of insisiting it would be necessary this administration changed their mind based on report by Dow contractors that the containment wall was not needed. The report as you can imagine was a whole lot cheaper than the slurry wall.
1. March 24th 2008 letter MDEQ Director Chester calling the Army Corp of Engineers on the carpet for reneging on their commitments to betterments and agreed to obligations under the 401 certificate. Recall that Director Chester threatened to pull the Corps 401 Certificate because the Corp decided, after Dow pulled their funding, not to put in a slurry wall to prevent contaminated material from spreading contamination to outside groundwater READ MORE
2. January 29th 2008 MDEQ E-mail saying according to Jim Koski Dow is pulling the funding for the slurry wall READ MORE
3. January 23rd 2008 Letter from MDEQ to Saginaw County and Army Corp delineating what laws they bound by for compliance and enforcement READ MORE
4. February 29th 2008 internal DEQ memo stating management is in a quandary about what do about the lack of permits because the Governor wants the project to go forward READ MORE

DEQ releases 'draft' DMDF management plan and announces area meeting.
The Michigan DEQ released a 2-part 'draft' management plan for the Zilwaukee ditch. The DEQ also announced that they and the Corps of Engineers will co-host a meeting at SVSU's Curtiss Hall on Tuesday June 24th starting at 7P.
The 'draft' DMDF management plan, Part 1 READ MORE
The 'draft' DMDF management plan, Part 2 READ MORE

The Lieutenant Governor believed Dow over his agency (DEQ). Who would you believe?
Opinion of Dow contractor Environ (paid for by Dow) on why the DMDF is safe without a slurry wall. READ MORE
DEQ response stating why the Environ opinion is in error and why the DMDF does need a slurry wall. READ MORE

BACKGROUND: EPA Collusion with Industry: A Very Brief Overview
By Liane C Casten, Environmental Task Force Chair of Chicago Media Watch. READ MORE

The DMDF floods. Does Cherry's decision to not require permits or a wall make any sense?
Who's water is Cherry carrying?
Flooded DMDF 1 Flooded DMDF 2

Next DEQ Quanterly Meeting is THIS WEDNESDAY May 5th @ 6:30P at the Horizon Conference Center
Come to the meeting and see what the fuss is about. Join in. Dioxin Update #124 with the agenda is HERE

Neil Varner's letter to tone deaf Lt. Governor John Cherry
It makes you wonder who represents the people anymore. READ IT HERE
Also read Dioxin Update #121 HERE
and Dioxin Update #122 HERE

Stunning flaws in the Army Corp of Engineers project planning
More than a decade of reports from the National Academy of Sciences, Government Accountability Office, Army Inspector General, U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy, and independent experts have revealed a pattern of stunning flaws in U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project planning and implementation, and urged substantial changes to the Corps’ project planning process. Changes needed to address concerns raised in the studies summarized below are included in S.564, the Water Resources Planning and Modernization Act of 2007.
Also read Dioxin Update #118

Fight brews between DEQ, Army Corps over dredging spoils site
The Army Corp of Engineers and Saginaw County have repeatedly offered reassurance that the dredge spoils site was "state of the art". This designation however, was predicated on the construction of a slurry wall and groundwater monitoring. Now the county and ACoE are backing away from both.
Letter from DEQ to Army Corps
Letter from DEQ to Saginaw County drain commissioner Koski
Bay City Times article

Emails on the DMDF
At a December 2006 meeting of the Saginaw County Board of Commissioners, Commissioners were assured by DEQ's Mr. Skip Pruss, Mr. Jim Koski Saginaw County's Public Works Director and Mr. Jeff Martin of the Lieutenant Governor's office that there were no plans or discussions with Dow Chemical about their use of the dredge site for cleanup of either the Saginaw or Tittabawassee Rivers. Read the following e-mail exchange which took place 10 months earlier. As a side note but of significance you should know that Jeff Martin is now working for Dow Chemical.
The Email Exchange

Briefs have been filed in the NWF/Lone Tree Council vs MDEQ in the Circuit Court of Ingham County.
It is our contention that as a result of the rules promulgated by DEQ (part 31 of the Natural Resource and Environmental Protection Act) the agency has a responsibility to issue discharge permits which conform with the Clean Water Act to ensure that contaminated water from the dredge site will not be put back into the Saginaw River.
Reply of Appellants
Brief on Appeal

New photos of the DMDF
Click here to see aerial photos of the dredge slurry site's huge footprint next to the Saginaw River, Crow Island Game Preserve, fertile farmlands and people's homes. Poor planning, poor execution, poor public process from DC to Lansing to Saginaw County.

Judge Ludington's Ruling
The judgement, the opinion.

Final resting spot for dredging spoils mired in controversy, then and now.
Read a Bay City Times article on the surprising controversy about the contamination. Surprising because everyone knows it's there but no one wants to acknowledge it's a problem, yet.

DMDF Depositions re: Township of Frankenlust v Saginaw County
Jim Koski, Saginaw County Public Works Commissioner Read More
Jim Sygo, Deputy Director Michigan DEQ Read More

No cost/benefit analysis for river dredging project
Admission of no economic modeling or cost/benefit analysis for the navigational dredge project. Is this a taxpayer funded federal project without an economic analysis? Perhaps the Corp has one but Saginaw County doesn't. Who really benefits? Read More

Lone Tree/NWF file appeal
The Petition for Review and appeal in the case against the DEQ's actions in the DMDF filed 9, February. Read More

Friends of the Watershed
The National Environmental Law Center (NELC) has a history of coming to the aid of the Saginaw Bat watershed. For the past several months, NELC along with Bob June JD, of Ypsilanti, MI represent the Lone Tree Council in their federal cast agains the Army Corp of Engineers and Saginaw County politicians and business lobbyists.
A History of Protecting the Saginaw Bay Read More.
NELC Challenges Dioxin Waste Site Read More.
NELC Interview with Lone Tree's Michelle Hurd-Riddick Read More

DEQ Comments on Zilwaukee Operational Plan
November '06 comments by the DEQ on the October '06 Operational Management Plan for the Zilwaukee DMDF. Read More

Too Fast Forward
The Saginaw River Dredging dump repeats mistakes of the past. Read More

Dow, state defend Saginaw River dredging project
The public pleaded to deaf eays at the December 6th meeting described as a 'pep rally' for the project. Read More

Resolution blocked by Dow Chemical call to Board of Commissioners.
The resolution to bar third party use of the Zilwaukee DMDF was pulled after Dow call... Read More

Committee Chair Ruth suddenly blocks resolution barring third party use of the Zilwaukee DMDF
The document announcing the action of Committee Chair Ruth to block the resolution banning third party use of the Zilwaukee DMDF... Read More

Commissioner blocks DMDF resolution.
A resolution to bar third party use of the Zilwaukee DMDF was suddenly stopped... Read More

The DMDF resolution.
This is the resolution that is before the Saginaw County Board of Commissioners... Read More

Koski backs away from DMDF guarantee.
An affidavit swearing that the Zilwaukee DMDF would not be used by third parties and only be used for Saginaw River navigational dredging was prepared but never filed in court... Read More

Dangerous dioxin planned for inadequate floodplain dump.
Government documents reveal Dow's secret discussions with feds to circumvent proper disposal of toxic cleanup... Read More

Federal Review: Yes, dioxin is still toxic!
Dioxin, a chemical released for decades by Midland-based Dow Chemical Co. into the Saginaw Bay watershed is toxic. Read More

Dow’s Dioxin Getting Into People Too.
Dioxin from Dow’s contamination of mid-Michigan is getting into people, according to the results of a large study released today. Read More