The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is seeking input from area residents on how to go about treating hazardous soil on Middleground Island, near Bay City.
Middleground Island, which is a 175-acre island in the Saginaw River, has many residential properties, in addition to recreational, commercial and closed waste disposal properties. Seventeen of the 37 residential properties were found to contain high levels of dioxins in the soil, which are large family of hazardous chemicals, including furans. A total of 15 acres are expected to be cleaned up.
"EPA's proposed cleanup will ensure that people living on Middleground Island are safe when they contact soil in their yard," the EPA states.
Dioxins are known to cause cancer and other health concerns, such as skin problems, liver damage, or reproductive issues. According to the EPA, when people play or work outside, they can accidentally eat small amount of contaminated dirt or get dirt on their skin, which can cause these problems.
The chemicals are a result of historical industrial activities, primarily from The Dow Chemical Co.'s Midland plant, which has operated since the 1890s. Dioxins have been found in and along the Tittabawassee and Saginaw rivers. Specifically, the dioxins on Middleground Island are believed to be a result of dredge materials used as fill on the island from 1973 to 1984.