The state Department of Environmental Quality is calling in the data from Dow Chemical Co. dioxin contamination in mid-Michigan waterways to review its accuracy.
The request comes after allegations in a report published today that a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency memo claimed the state was complicit in allowing Dow to delay dioxin cleanup and hasn’t revealed to the public the seriousness of the contamination that happened decades ago.
DEQ spokesman Robert McCann said the state agency has never had reason to believe Dow’s numbers weren’t accurate, but “there are pretty serious allegations out there” that merit review.
He rejected EPA claims the state was complicit with Dow and said the company and the state have made more progress than the EPA has in years past.
Meanwhile, a Dow Chemical Co. engineer is suing the company, claiming it retaliated when she tried to stop Dow from submitting bad data to the state about toxins in the Tittabawassee River.
Priscilla Denney, who filed the suit in Saginaw County Circuit Court, says Dow officials demoted her and caused her stress when she told the company’s compliance officer that Dow should not submit dioxin data to the state Department of Environmental Quality on Feb. 1 because it was flawed and unvalidated.
Dow spokesman John Musser dismissed the EPA memo as “ridiculous.”
“The allegations are ill-founded and out-of-touch with reality at any time,” Musser said.
Musser said the company on its own initiated independent studies that found no credible threat to human and wildlife’s health from dioxin. The company also has initiated the cleanup of three so-called hot spots in the Tittabawassee River and another in the Saginaw River.
The EPA memo is “more of a poor reflection of Dow Chemical and how irresponsible they are than it is an indictment of the DEQ,” said Michelle Hurd Riddick, spokeswoman of the Bay City-based environmental group the Lone Tree Council.