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Michigan Ag News Headlines
State Recommendations for Contaminated Soil and Sediment
Michigan Ag Connection - 07/02/2020

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) together with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) have reviewed soil and sediment sample data collected in follow-up to the recent Midland and Saginaw area flooding event. Based on this information, EGLE and MDHHS are not recommending additional soil clean-up or management requirements beyond those already in place, the departments reported Wednesday..

The first round of dioxin test results received mid-June from the Tittabawassee River floodplain, located downstream of Midland, do not show levels of dioxins and furans above the area-specific residential clean-up level at trend-monitoring stations along the river. More trend monitoring station samples have been collected and will be reviewed by EGLE and MDHHS. EGLE has monitored these stations for dioxins after seasonal floods since 2011. Samples collected for non-dioxin contaminants did not indicate a need to change current practices.

Soil and sediment cleanup and disposal recommendations:

Even though levels of dioxin are not expected to exceed the area-specific cleanup level of 250 parts per trillion (ppt) toxic equivalency (TEQ) from flood deposited sediments, it is always recommended that individuals reduce their exposure to dioxins by taking the steps as outlined in "Dioxin, Furan, and your Health."

In addition, for residents seeking to clean home interiors as a result of flooding, no special precautions are needed related to dioxins. It is always recommended to take the following steps to reduce exposure to environmental contaminants after direct contact with any soil:

- Wash hands with soap and water after contact with any soil.

- Avoid touching the face, mouth and eyes before washing hands.

- Wash soil and mud from clothes and shoes if they come into contact with the flood related soil, and avoid spreading or tracking soil inside residences.

Mold and bacteria growth are a great concern following a flood event. Because of this, residents are encouraged to follow the CDC guidelines for cleaning following a flood. More information on mold and general cleanup can be found on the MDHHS All About Mold web page.

Soil and sediment that enters a house or other structures can be sent to a local landfill. Sediment deposited outside of structures also can be sent to a landfill to help reduce potential exposures in the future. Because the levels of dioxin related to this flood incident are expected to be below the 250 ppt TEQ level, there are no specific management requirements. Based on thousands of samples, levels of dioxin above the residential clean up level are rarely found outside of the eight-year flood plain. Properties that only flooded in 1986, 2017 and 2020 are not expected to have dioxin contamination above clean-up levels from seasonal river flooding.

To stay safe while cleaning:

- Never mix bleach with ammonia or any other cleaner.

- Wear rubber or other non-porous boots, gloves and eye protection.

- Try not to breathe in product fumes. If using products indoors, open windows and doors to allow fresh air to enter the room.

EGLE and MDDHS officials stress that the main hazards most people will face are problems with mold and bacteria.

Household hazardous waste recommendations:

Household hazardous wastes (HHW) such as fuels, oils, paints, solvents, etc., currently are managed at a local level. Residents should contact local authorities in their respective counties and cities to determine proper handling and disposal of HHW. To find local contacts, see the online resources at Michigan.gov/EGLEHHW, Michigan.gov/RecyclingDirectory and Michigan.gov/CleanSweep. In the event that HHW cannot be managed at a local level, contact Trisha Confer at 989-225-7968 in EGLE's Bay City District Office for guidance.

HHW disposal:

The Midland County Health Department advises residents can drop of HHW by appointment July 21, Aug. 11 and Oct. 29. Saginaw County residents can contact Recycle Motion for an update on HHW collections. No collection dates are scheduled at this time. Currently, EGLE is not aware of collection services for Arenac, Iosco or Gladwin county residents. However, there are two Clean Sweep contacts for the Bay City area that may have services available: Crystal Beutler, Isabella County, crystal.beutler@mi.nacdnet.net and Jerry Maxson, Saginaw County, jmaxson@saginawcounty.com.

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