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Ann Arbor, environmental group to remain in dioxane lawsuit against Gelman Sciences

kayaker on river
City of Ann Arbor
Argo Cascades in Huron River near Ann Arbor

The Michigan Supreme Court has declined to hear an appeal from a company that polluted Ann Arbor's groundwater.

Gelman Sciences hoped its appeal would result in the removal of the city of Ann Arbor and a local environmental group as parties to an ongoing lawsuit over cleaning up the contamination.

Laura Rubin is head of that local environmental group -- the Huron River Watershed Council. She says having the city and HRWC remain in the lawsuit will get a better result. The parties are currently in settlement negotiations to see if a trial can be avoided.

"In the past Gelman was just negotiating with the DEQ," says Rubin. "And now it has to negotiate with the local parties, and we're really fighting for a better cleanup."

The contaminant in question is 1, 4 dioxane -- a likely carcinogen. A plume of the contaminated water is spreading under the city and nearby townships. It will be decades before the plume reaches the Huron River, the source of Ann Arbor's drinking water. But a number of residents have had to be connected to the city's water supply after their private wells were contaminated.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Radio. She began her career at Michigan Radio as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.
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