Dow Chemical continuing to clean up dioxin along Tittabawassee River

Published: Jul. 16, 2018 at 7:09 PM EDT
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(7/16/2018) - The clean up of contaminated soil downstream from Dow Chemical continues along the Tittabawassee River -- much to the delight of many homeowners.

Some property owners feel they are getting brand new backyards.

"Before we bought the house, my wife and I did a lot of research on the Dow issue the chemicals in the dirt," said Ben Adams, who purchased a home near Freeland two years ago.

Two years later, he's happy with the cleanup work that has been done.

"It really allows us to have peace of mind when our kids are back there, or when I am cutting the grass," Adams said.

He had a foot of soil removed from about a half acre of his property that was closest to the Tittabawassee River, which testing showed was contaminated with dioxin.

Dow Chemical has been paying for the removal of the soil and the Environmental Protection Agency is overseeing the work.

"We were really excited to make sure they were able to remove all the contaminated dirt, but then also reseed it and actually they will cut the grass the first couple of times for us," Adams said.

This is the sixth and seven phases of the cleanup. A Dow Chemical spokesman said significant progress has been made and expects the work to be completed by 2020.

Not all property owners along the Tittabawassee River agreed to have the work done. Those that did signed a conservation covenant, in which Dow paid the property owners in exchange for not further developing their property.

Adams bought his property after that agreement was made, so he received no cash. But he still believes he is coming out ahead on the deal.

"We had several dead ash trees back there that we were going to have to remove. We were going to have to pay a certain amount to get them removed," Adams said. "They came out here and had them removed for us."

He has no regrets in buying the property.

"They will warranty for us for a couple of years after to make sure everything looks rights and turns out right," Adams said.