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Growing uncertainty about proposal to further clean up dioxane around Ann Arbor

Scio Residents for Safe Water

A plume of the toxic chemical 1,4 dioxane released by the former Gelman Sciences complex has contaminated wells and threatens Ann Arbor’s main source for drinking water. A proposed amendment to a consent judgement would require more groundwater testing and more cleanup of groundwater to remove the chemical.

The proposal would also pump the treated water into the nearby First Sister Lake. However, the treated water will still have trace amounts of dioxane in it.

“The introduction of treated water into the Sister Lakes system is a major -and for my part- a primary objection,” said Ann Arbor Mayor Christopher Taylor.

Ann Arbor, Washtenaw County, Scio Township, and the Huron Valley Watershed Council will vote on whether to accept the proposed changes. Each entity is an intervener in the case.

“I will not support a consent judgment that includes discharge into the Sister Lakes. Whether there can be some progress between now and then or whether our resolution can be conditional, those are still up in the air right now,” Taylor said.

If the entities have conditions they want, the new proposal would have to be negotiated yet again between the polluter, Gelman, and the judge who ultimately has final say in the case.

The City of Ann Arbor and other interveners in the case will be voting on the proposal later this month.

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Lester Graham reports for The Environment Report. He has reported on public policy, politics, and issues regarding race and gender inequity. He was previously with The Environment Report at Michigan Radio from 1998-2010.
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