Recent ACWG Meeting Agenda Items and Updates


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May 2020 - No Meeting this month due to COVID-19 Pandemic Cautions

Watershed Issues of Interest and Updates:

Danaher/Pall/Gelman 1,4-Dioxane Plume - U of M SPH and CE Lab Tests on West Side for 1,4 Dioxane Found NO 1,4D; Issues of Potentially Seeping or Flooding into Basements, or Other Confined Spaces 

  
  
      

Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) and City Council members have again indicated a Consent Judgement (CJ) Agreement with Danaher/Pall/Gelman on the cleanup of the 1,4-Dioxane plume is still in negotiations and no word on progress or end date.

Mayor Taylor keeps voting on Gelman CJ resolutions while his law firm has received close to $1/2M for work on the CJ. He says he is "decoupled".

This information about CJ funding from a recent Ryan Stanton's MLive article 12-20-19:

  • After three years of court battles and negotiations with polluter Gelman Sciences, local officials have spent over $1 million fighting for a better cleanup of the company’s dioxane plume.”
  • "... [for] Gelman litigation, increasing the city’s contract with Detroit-based Bodman PLC by $55,000, adding to $445,000 previously approved."
  • " Mayor Christopher Taylor is a partner at Hooper Hathaway, the law firm representing Scio Township in the Gelman litigation, and City Attorney Stephen Postema used to be a partner at Bodman, the law firm representing the city in the case."
  • "The township’s costs in the Gelman case for the last few years amount to just under $400,000, said Township Supervisor Jack Knowles, while the county reports spending more than $157,000."
  • "Taylor, who has supported litigating against the polluter in court, said he receives no financial benefit from his firm’s role in the case"...
  • " 'My finances are entirely decoupled from other partners’ performance,' Taylor said." 
  • "Taylor has maintained it’s important for the city to have a seat at the table in the litigation"...
  • (bold by us)
Some council members and I do not agree he is 'decoupled' from his law firm as he affirms. His firm is greatly enhanced in value and stature with this high-value commission and that, it seems, cannot be decoupled. It seems he should recuse himself from all votes on this issue to avoid Conflict of Interest. or the Appearance of Conflict of Interest. Voting against a Superfund Petition and continuing on this endless CJ effort with contracts for his law firm could be seen as a means to increase contracts with, and stature for, his law firm while potentially causing harm to the community.


A lab at U of M School of Public Health did tests near homes west of West Park and found no 1,4D near the surface. They are interested in validating their models of 1,4D VI into homes with 1,4D near the surface and are hoping to do additional tests here in Ann Arbor or elsewhere.
 
The city has plans to test in the same areas but it seems like it would be much more productive to test more easterly where the water table seems to be higher and contaminated with up to 22 ppb 1,4D.
 
The city should have involved stakeholders the Coalition for the Remediation of Dioxane (CARD) and ACWG on plans to test in the West Park area. The testing proposed will be of little value. Stakeholder involvement should be Job One at City Hall.

At the last CARD meeting (YouTube video here) when specifically asked by ACWG EGLE has indicated that they are now evaluating Dr. Robert Bailey's modeling, saved on the ACWG site, of 1,4D VI, after over a year of asking to reevaluate 1,4D VI by CARD and ACWG. EGLE's proposed action level is 1,900 ppb where Dr. Bailey finds 100 ppb should be the action level.
 
The Coalition for the Remediation of Dioxane (CARD) and the ACWG have been pushing for this testing for years for testing of potential or existing Vapor Intrusion (VI) from this near-surface groundwater (shallow groundwater).

VI tests were proposed by U of M SPH and CE researchers (with equipment and funds to do the work) but no word if any of these efforts will be supported by the city or EGLE.

MI EGLE is doing additional tests in Allen's Creek watershed of near-surface groundwater (shallow groundwater). Results should be available soon.

 

We currently have 22 ppb at West Park in the Near-Surface Groundwater (NSG, some also call shallow groundwater). 11 blocks upstream we have had 1,000 ppb at Vet's Park in recent years flowing toward West Park and beyond. CARD pressured EGLE to do these NSG tests and most were very surprised the 1,4 dioxane was in the NSG at such high levels and seemingly moving higher.

We have Gelman/Pall's own geological maps (!) from 2006 that show this would likely happen in West Park, as it now has.

As commented on before the Allen's Creek pipe in West Park has high flows in drought conditions because it picks up lots of seep's groundwater just upstream. This is to reduce the damage NSG can cause if left uncontrolled, like home and street undermining. This NSG is contaminated.

Contaminated Near-Surface Groundwater is now a near-term threat to the community and is an example of how Gelman/Danaher has not protected the community. West Park is now at 22 ppb in NSG yet we have no permanent wells to monitor this. This is just one of a myriad of examples of mismanagement of this threat to the community.

With all the work the CARD group, city and county have done the EPA will have a headstart on this effort. The EPA Score of the partial Superfund Evaluation was very high for Superfund Listing with a minimal evaluation. In this case, we have a Responsible Party that EPA will require to do and pay for cleanup as is happening now with other sites all over the country.

The Ann Arbor Township, Scio Township, Washtenaw County Board of Commissions, Sierra Club Huron Valley Group, and ACWG all voted in supported a petition to the US EPA for Full Preliminary Assessment of the Gelman 1,4-Dioxane groundwater contamination.

Governor Whitmer would be much more approachable than our previous Republican Governor when we present her with a US EPA Full Preliminary Assessment in a Superfund Petition. The former governor refused to allow US EPA to do a Full Evaluation when requested by US EPA. 

The CARD Group has moved to virtual meetings like others starting in May for an undermined length of time, see details at Washtenaw County CARD site.

Links:

Ann Arbor launches $40K effort to test high-risk basements for dioxane: MLive Ryan Stanton; https://www.mlive.com/news/ann-arbor/2020/04/ann-arbor-launches-40k-effort-to-test-high-risk-basements-for-dioxane.html

May 2020 Coalition for the Remediation of Dioxane (CARD) Group Meeting Video - Taped by Roger Rayle, Chair CARD

Gelman Plume Related Stories by Ann Arbor News/MLive: MLive

Ann Arbor-area officials delay Gelman plume decision another month: MLive Ryan Stanton

Dioxane test results for Allen Creek raise more questions: MLive Ryan Stanton

Ongoing discharges may be to blame for dioxane in Ann Arbor drinking water: MLive Ryan Stanton

Environment, Great Lakes & Energy (formally MDEQ)-Gelman Project SiteWashtenaw County CARD SiteScio Residents for Safe Water (SRSW)

Ryan Stanton in Ann Arbor News/MLive: 'EPA holding off on Superfund designation for Gelman dioxane plume'

Lots of details from Barbara Lucus at Dioxane.Org and WEMU News Program GreenRoom

Washtenaw County CARD Site

See ACWG site pages EPA Superfund Option Details

Click here to view and/or sign in support of Superfund Designation




Proposed Affordable Housing Again in the Floodplain (likely floodway), at City-Owned Lot at 415 W. Washington

415 W. Washington Proposed Affordable Housing
in Floodway (click for larger)

      Public Meeting on Housing in the Floodplain at this site.

City notice of meeting (click for larger)

This notice misleadingly does not state Proposed Affordable Housing, but at a public meeting on city-owned properties, this was clearly proposed as an Affordable Housing project in the Allen's Creek Floodplain (likely floodway).
  • Federal, and likely State, funds will not be available for this site due to its location in the floodway and floodplain.

  • One of the most dangerous sites in the City of Ann Arbor for housing or building due to major flood hazard.

  • In the 68 flood this site and main building were in many feet of floodwater trapping those attending a watershed meeting (of all things) from the drain office, city staff and interested residents.

  • Residents in Northern Ohio in recent years were killed trying to get cars out of parking areas, under their apartments/condos, in a flood.

  • With FEMA's poor floodplain maps this building will likely be in the real floodway not just many 10's of feet into the floodplain.

  • City has a long storied history of placing disadvantaged in harm's way like floodplains and floodways

  • ACWG helped stop the city putting the Homeless Shelter in the floodway, losing $1M tax dollars in a failed plan in the floodway.

  • The Homeless Shelter was still built in the Floodplain with emergency exits into the Floodway!

  • President Obama virtually forbid using federal funds for building in the 100-year (1% chance) floodplain and virtually forbid the use of federal funds for building any critical structures in the 500-year (.2% chance) floodplain due to Global Warming effects causing more intense rain events.

  • Recent credible reports have stated that FEMA "Low Balls" floodplain maps by up to 33% across the country due to reduced funding and political pressure.

  • City staff has commented in public meetings that FEMA floodplain maps are very poorly calibrated flood maps and lack real data to guide them.

  • Y site across the street is not accurately included in flood hazard mapping with fencing across virtually the entire site acting as a huge dam for floodwaters, in the middle of the floodway, flowing to the river. ACWG strongly petitioned the MDEQ to stop the Y building and then the Y fencing but was not successful.

  • Smith Group has commented in public meeting recently that the 2006 Y would never get approved today, and this group helped design the building in the floodway.

  • Y lost the required FEMA Freeboard (safety zone) in 1.5 years after built-in a FEMA Letter of Map Revision (LoMR), and is out of state floodplain floodway compliance.

  • Y has regular flooding evacuation drills and worries about flood hazard according to a reliable inside source.

  • As we asked before and FOIA'ed the DDA - we would like to see the FTCH Study: The DDA's FTCH $1/4 to $1/2M budgeted consultants study of the watershed, just upstream of this site. should be made available to the public. The ACWG FOIA'ed the study but was just given a copy of the raw data and model run data used to do models but the report was never offered. FTCH said the DDA had to agree to make it available which they never did. These results were said to ACWG to be 'Very Surprising' by FTCH.

  • $1B plan for Climate Change!!! "But let's build in the floodplain and likely floodway".

  • Dr. Missy Stults city's Sustainability and Innovations Manager states at A2Zero Kickoff Meeting on Nov 11th 2020 when asked by the ACWG:

"No Building In Floodplain" Period. No discussion, no questions, just NO.

  • TaxBase is a huge buzz word with many in the Planning Commission and some on the council to justify any new development. 

But a critical Tax Base is the existing Tax Base you don't "Throw Under The Bus"

  • The Old West Side is one of the most valuable areas in the city and has hundreds of homes that have been paying taxes close to a hundred years, and will pay property tax for decades longer, and many will be at risk if the floodplain and floodway are blocked with new developments greatly threatening existing Tax Base. 

  • Floods recently in the lower Michigan area include 500 year rain with 3 deaths and $2B in losses, 500 year rains that washed out 13 bridges, and back to back 100 year rains.

  • Mayor Taylor said recently that Ann Arbor has personally experienced the effects of climate change, referencing a one-degree temperature increase during the last few years as well as a more than 45 percent increase in precipitation within the last 50 years.

  • Follow Adopted goals of the 2007 Flood Hazard Mitigation Plan, no building in the floodplain:  

We should follow the Long-Past Adopted goals of the 2007 Flood Hazard Mitigation Plan the ACWG contributed to: "Public acquisition and management of flood-prone properties. Permanent relocation of flood-prone structures to areas outside the floodplain. Establish clear and consistent government policy for public-owned land in the floodplain aimed at preventing public buildings in the floodplain. Create Allen['s] Creek Greenway in the floodplain area. Regular data collection and modeling to update flood hazard maps Decrease Flood Insurance Rates by meeting FEMA required flood hazard mitigation recommendations." (bold by us) 

  • NWS New Normal - 12" Flooding Rains: 'Heavy rain accompanied the thunderstorms with the hardest-hit areas across portions of Manistee, Mason, and Lake counties in northwest lower Michigan on July 20, 2019.' : NWS

12" rain in 24 hours caused flooding and severe erosion in the area. These types of historic rains are the new normal for Michigan and other parts of the nation, the 1,000-year June 2018 rain in the MI UP and 10,000-year April 2016 “Tax Day” rain in Houston for example.

  • “Increasing precipitation, especially heavy rain events, has increased the overall flood risk,” according to the most recent National Climate Assessment.

  • The Tree Line Greenway Conservancy asked the city to wait on actions on this site, which is being ignored.

  • This site best and most valuable use is clearly to be part of the Tree Line Greenway, Allen's Creek Greenway.


Here is as Association of State Floodplain Managers (ASFPM) logo (on left below) on City Official Planning Documents yet ASFPM cartoon (on right) makes fun of communities building in the Floodplain, like not so smart Ann Arbor!:

               

Links: https://www.citylab.com/newsletter-editions/2019/07/maplab-hidden-risks-flood-maps/595126/



Lake Michigan-Huron Recorded at Highest in Recorded History Due to Excessive Rain Fall Amounts In the Region in Recent Years Due to Global Warming Effects




Last month, the Army Corps of Engineers reported water levels on Lakes Michigan and Huron are measuring about 3 foot higher than average. That’s the highest in recorded history. This record high water is largely due to excessive rainfall amounts in recent years. 

Current educated predictions are that this will not end anytime soon and may well get worse with the commensurate flood hazard.
 
  

April 2020 - No Meeting this month due to COVID-19 Pandemic Cautions

Watershed Issues of Interest and Updates:

Danaher/Pall/Gelman 1,4-Dioxane Plume - City to Test Basements on West Side for 1,4 Dioxane Potentially Seeping or Flooding into Basements or Other Confined Spaces 


The city is planning to test basements on West Side for water in basements for potential contamination from the Gelman 1,4-Dioxane plume as it flows under the city.

The Coalition for the Remediation of Dioxane (CARD) and the ACWG have been pushing for this testing for years, to do tests for potential or existing Vapor Intrusion (VI) from this near-surface groundwater (shallow groundwater).

VI tests were proposed by U of M researchers (with equipment and funds to do the work) but no word if any of these efforts will be supported by the city or 
Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE).

Residents are not being protected if this compound is allowed to percolate into basements and evaporate (VI -Vapor Intrusion) into this confined space and expose the residents. Many Ann Arbor residents use their basements for play space, workspace, office space, ... 

These tests will cost $40,000 of city tax dollars, when Gelman should be doing the tests.

If we had a Superfund designation EPA would force Gelman to do and pay for the work.

MI EGLE is doing additional tests in Allen's Creek watershed of near-surface groundwater (shallow groundwater). Results should be available soon.
 

Many Council members are supportive of a proposal to submit a petition for EPA Superfund site. Some have asked Council to wait to see if a consensus can be reached before voting on a Petition. A council resolution to Petition EPA has been tabled for several months. 

We currently have 22 ppb at West Park in the Near-Surface Groundwater (NSG, some also call shallow groundwater). 11 blocks upstream we have had 1,000 ppb at Vet's Park in recent years flowing toward West Park and beyond. Coalition for the Remediation of Dioxane (CARD) pressured EGLE to do these NSG tests and most were very surprised the 1,4 dioxane was in the NSG at such high levels and seemingly moving higher.

We have Gelman/Pall's own geological maps from 2006 that show this would likely happen in West Park, as it now has.

As commented on before the Allen's Creek pipe in West Park has high flows in drought conditions because it picks up lots of seep's groundwater just upstream. This is to reduce the damage NSG can cause if left uncontrolled, like home and street undermining. This NSG is contaminated.

Contaminated Near-Surface Groundwater is now a near-term threat to the community and is an example of how Gelman/Danaher has not protected the community. West Park is now at 22 ppb in NSG yet we have no permanent wells to monitor this. This is just one of a myriad of examples of mismanagement of this threat to the community.

With all the work the CARD group, city and county have done the EPA will have a headstart on this effort. The EPA Score of the partial Superfund Evaluation was very high for Superfund Listing with a minimal evaluation. In this case, we have a Responsible Party that EPA will require to do and pay for cleanup as is happening now with other sites all over the country.

The Ann Arbor Township, Scio Township, Washtenaw County Board of Commissions, Sierra Club Huron Valley Group, and ACWG all voted in supported a petition to the US EPA for Full Preliminary Assessment of the Gelman 1,4-Dioxane groundwater contamination.

Governor Whitmer would be much more approachable than our previous Republican Governor when we present her with a US EPA Full Preliminary Assessment in a Superfund Petition. The former governor refused to allow US EPA to do a Full Evaluation when requested by US EPA. 

The CARD Group has moved to virtual meetings like others starting in May for an undermined length of time, see details at Washtenaw County CARD site.

Links:

Ann Arbor launches $40K effort to test high-risk basements for dioxane: MLive Ryan Stanton; https://www.mlive.com/news/ann-arbor/2020/04/ann-arbor-launches-40k-effort-to-test-high-risk-basements-for-dioxane.html

March 2020 Coalition for the Remediation of Dioxane (CARD) Group Meeting Video - Taped by Roger Rayle, Chair CARD

Gelman Plume Related Stories by Ann Arbor News/MLive: MLive

Ann Arbor-area officials delay Gelman plume decision another month: MLive Ryan Stanton

Dioxane test results for Allen Creek raise more questions: MLive Ryan Stanton

Ongoing discharges may be to blame for dioxane in Ann Arbor drinking water: MLive Ryan Stanton

Environment, Great Lakes & Energy (formally MDEQ)-Gelman Project SiteWashtenaw County CARD SiteScio Residents for Safe Water (SRSW)

Ryan Stanton in Ann Arbor News/MLive: 'EPA holding off on Superfund designation for Gelman dioxane plume'

Lots of details from Barbara Lucus at Dioxane.Org and WEMU News Program GreenRoom

Washtenaw County CARD Site

See ACWG site pages EPA Superfund Option Details

Click here to view and/or sign in support of Superfund Designation

 

The City of Ann Arbor Does Full Cleanup of DTE Site At RR Berm Opening, DTE and Developer Not So Much Proposed For the Rest of Polluted DTE Site at Depot St and Broadway St In the FW FP

Recent photo of piles of polluted soil temporally stored by city on
DTE site from work to cut opening in the Berm under the RR Tracks
and connect the B2B trail to the Treeline/Greenway 
(ACWG, Click for Larger Image)

DTE Site, Mostly Floodway in Blue
City of Ann Arbor GIS Web Site (Annotations ACWG; Click for Larger View)

Coal Tar (highly toxic) found at the DTE Site and shown by DEQ/EGLE 
at river's edge at the site, the pollution at the river's edge 
subsequently cleaned up in recent years  
but is still leaching into the Huron River (WUOM)

The city has recently received a draft Letter Of Map Revision FEMA (LoMR) for DTE site with some changes in the floodplain floodway map. Staff has said they will review and comment on the LoMR. A 120 day comment period is allowed for this LoMR, normally only 90 days before potential adoption. 

The city has started work on the Berm Opening Project and has stockpiled the contaminated soil for later removal on an existing concrete slab with tarp covers.

The ACWG attended all the public meetings on this Berm Opening project and was instrumental, with years of effort, in its adoption and the addition of a pedestrian and bike tunnel next to the stormwater tunnel. This will greatly reduce flooding in the upstream neighborhood and protect homeowners, the environment and city tax base in the area. The berm acts as a dam of flowing stormwater to the river causing flooding and property damage.

Developer and DTE has no plans for a full cleanup of the site they plan to build condos and a hotel on top of the highly toxic Coal Tar and other pollution. The ACWG has attended many meetings about this project and not support the proposal.

With buildings sitting on top of this polluted site the state proposed polluter pay clean up will be very difficult or impossible no matter how strong the new law is.
 
Recent photo of the southwest side of DTE site near the city
berm opening construction area with very high water levels
(ACWG, Click for larger image)

With such high water levels without major storm event at the DTE site it is hard to imagine when we have another 100-year or larger rain in the area how this site will fair. The wall will block the flooding of the site according to the developer's comments at public meetings.

Staff had indicated the developer's models presented for the LoMR: 
  • Do not accurately portray the railroad berm damming effect - they do not show it continuously dropping off to level grade at the AmTrak Station making the site more flood-prone, according to city staff
  • Do not include current data used by the city for 100-year (1% chance) rainfall amounts, according to city staff
  • Do not take into account the very poorly calibrated flood maps used for this site, according to city staff passed comments
  • In the 1968 100-Year (1% chance) Flood, we had 15 Feet of Flood Water careening across this site, most of the dams were damaged some breached and destroyed.
  • Groundwater on site is contaminated up to 30 feet down but downriver groundwater has not been tested. This is the site of the old river bed where generally groundwater wants to flow.
The city recently passed a resolution in support of the State's Proposed Polluter Pay Legislation yet seems supportive of building on top of a toxic DTE Coal Tar site with very little cleanup. These Engler GOP Polluted Sites are caused by the very weak MI Engler GOP Part 201 "Environmental" laws.

"What’s kind of a like a zombie rising from the grave is these buried contaminants that are now showing up in people’s homes, in their air, specifically. That was not envisioned by the science at the time; if you left chemicals in the ground they could actually migrate up through even impervious surfaces and affect people’s health." Dave Dempsey, For The Love Of Water FLOW - WUOM (bold by us)

DTE, a $26B company, should be doing a full cleanup of this site as the Responsible Party Legal Owner, not taxpayers.

The ACWG is reviewing the LoMR and is considering an unsupportive comment to FEMA under the 120-day comment period, the city should also submit an unsupportive comment.

Linkshttp://michiganradio.org/post/1994-michigan-ok-d-partial-pollution-cleanups-now-we-have-2000-contaminated-sites

City of Ann Arbor Project Page   https://www.a2gov.org/departments/engineering/Pages/Allen-Creek-Railroad-Berm-Project.aspx

 

"State hits Ann Arbor with $45K penalty fine for repeated sewage overflows"; ACWG Has Worked Hard to Improve the Utilities and the Environment in Ann Arbor


Vince Caruso showing Glendale area flooding
resident survey results at a Council Meeting
(Ann Arbor, CTN)

Ann Arbor must pay a $45,000 fine for repeated sewage overflows in recent years.
The penalty is included in terms of an administrative consent order with the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy approved by City Council this week.

The 21-page document outlines several sewage overflows since 2016, including some discharging large amounts into the Huron River and Malletts Creek." Ryan Stanton -  MLive

As in the case in the Glendale Virginia Sts area, with constant home, yard, street flooding and basement sewer backup, with the help of the ACWG, the neighbors did a survey and showed about 50% of the homes had flooding issues. See ACWG June 20, 2019 entry and others for more details.

Only after the survey was presented did the city take action and found 3 sewer lines blocked, two sanitary and one freshwater runoff (stormwater). This should not be the way we operate.

The city has indicated they are working on a more proactive management plan. If the complaints of the Glendale area over many years had resulted in TVing the sewer lines to look for the reasons for flooding problems much of the flooding could have been avoided.

The health and safety, environment and tax base of a community are very closely tied and not exclusive, we need to preserve them all.

The ACWG has been working for over 20 years to improve the utilities including:
  • Supporting and was deposed for evidence in a court case the city won relating to footer disconnect from sanitary sewer systems, which has greatly reduced sanitary and freshwater runoff (stormwater) issues. We stopped the original plan to build many huge sewage holding tanks in our wooded park spaces. The director of utilities was removed after this debacle occurred.
  • Got passed by council the Green Streets Policy with the Environmental Commission Water Committee (my wife Rita was chair) and city staff - any street rebuild must be evaluated for Green Street Policy to reduce building cost, pollution, runoff and introduce infiltration. Green Streets are less costly than conventional without all the obvious benefits, which was agreed with from comments on by city staff.
  • Instrumental in helping the neighborhood create the Dicken Woods area to reduce flooding and preserving a wetland area from condo development in the flood-prone Dicken Neighborhood attending many neighborhood meetings, planning commission meetings and council meetings.
  • Stopped the city from building the homeless shelter in the floodway which would have been illegal and cause more flooding in the Old West Side, the scraped plan in the floodway cost taxpayers $1M. The shelter was still placed in the floodplan, a common building location for disadvantaged in Ann Arbor, and still proposed today.
  • Instrumental in stopping development of the First and William parking garage in the Allen('s) Creek floodway.
  • Promoted the use of and utility fee rebates for rain barrels, rain gardens, bioswales in Ann Arbor.
  • Tried to stop construction of the Y blocking a key section of the Allen('s) Creek the floodway that is now said could never happen today by the consultant who helped plan the development. We had unsuccessfully petitioned the DEQ to stop plans for fencing in the nearly the entire site. The fencing still should be taken out in the floodway as it is making the Old West Side unnecessarily more flood-prone and dangerous. Chain link fence is treated like a solid concrete wall in hydrological modeling.
  • ...

Ann Arbor Planning Commission has a Working Session on Floodplain Overlays, Little Notice of Proposed Major Changes to City Code


Association of State Floodplain Managers 2007 (ASFPM) (Click for larger image) 

"BUILDING IN THE FLOODPLAIN IS LIKE PITCHING YOUR TENT ON A HIGHWAY WHEN THERE ARE NO CARS COMING"! ASFPM: www.floods.org


Planning Commission Working Session will be held on Tuesday, April 14, 2020 at 7 pm and is available for live listening and call-in comments and questions. Please call 888-788-0099, enter meeting ID 162 641 977.

The Working Session agenda includes presentations and discussion about:

Floodplain Management Overlay District and Regulations - a proposed amendment to Chapter 55 Unified Development Code

The ACWG did not get timely notice until a few days ago on this meeting and this proposal.

Sorry to say no public outreach or stakeholder outreach has occurred that we are aware since the City Council shot down a Floodplain Overlay proposal from the city staff and Ford School Graduate students, who spent over two years working on this, in 2016. The ACWG was pushing and working for this proposal with others for years before it was shot down.

After shooting down the proposal city went on to approve over 120 new homes in the floodplain some with parking on top of the Allen's Creek pipe in a very flood-prone area off W. Kingsley.

Public outreach or stakeholder outreach should be JOB ONE for our city government.

This proposal allows development in the floodplain which the ACWG and American Association of State Floodplain Managers (ASFPM) do not support. With Global Warming effects now hitting Michigan with record rainfall amounts every year, 1,000-year rain in the UP in 2018 for example, we need to be very careful how we develop in our city especially in the very dangerous flashy Allen's Creek watershed.

ACWG has proposed for decades Ann Arbor reduce the size of our floodplains and make a safer city with obvious changes in weather patterns. Green Streets, porous pavement for parking and streets, rain catchment and rain infiltration, Greenway in the Allen's Creek Floodplain, stronger regulations, are just some of the efforts.

Recent talk by some city leaders has been to put Affordable Housing in our very dangerous floodplains. Unfortunately, this has been a very sad storied history of the treatment of the less fortunate in Ann Arbor.

President Obama virtually forbid using federal funds for building in the 100-year (1% chance) floodplain and virtually forbid the use of federal funds for building any critical structures in the 500-year (.2% chance) floodplain due to Global Warming effects causing more intense rain events.

Recent credible reports have stated that FEMA "Low Balls" floodplain maps by up to 33% across the country due to reduced funding and political pressure.


Eppie Potts, One of the Original Founding Members of the ACWG Died Earlier This Month


Ethel (Eppie) Potts  (The Ann Arbor Chronicle)

Eppie was involved in many good things that happened in Ann Arbor and was very effective and pleasant doing it.

Eppie got involved and helped create the ACWG when we unsuccessfully tried to stop the city from bulldozing a private woodland and installed a 500' 8'x5' pipe in one of the few remaining open sections of the Allen's Creek due to very poor city planning, at cost of almost $1/2M in taxpayer funds and loss to the environment and tax base.
 
Eppie was active till the week she died sending emails of support and comment on the keeping of the existing AmTrak Station on Depot St. and not building an out of the way big parking garage-little RR station at Fuller next to the hospital in our Fuller City Park.

She was loved and will be greatly missed by her family and many in the Ann Arbor area, but we learned a lot of great things from Eppie.



March 2020 - No Meeting this month due to COVID-19 Pandemic Cautions



Watershed Issues of Interest and Updates:

Posters from U of M M-LEEaD Center's: "From PBB to PFAS: Research and Action to Address Michigan’s Large-Scale Chemical Contaminations" - U of M Earth Day at 50; February 20, 2020



Members of the CARD Group and ACWG attended and presented posters in the Poster Session at this meeting. Posters show below discuss Vapor Intrusion for 1,4 Dioxane poorly studied and published issue, and the work of the CARD Group in Scio and Ann Arbor Townships and City of Ann Arbor.

CARD Poster 1,4 Dioxane Groundwater Contamination
(Click for larger or Click to View PDF on ACWG Web Page)

CARD Bailey Poster: 1,4 Dioxane Vapor Intrusion (VI)
For more information contact Dr. Robert Bailey at: bob.bailey734(at)gmail.com
(Click for larger or Click to View PDF on ACWG Web Page)

Vince Caruso Board Member CARD ACWG; Beth Collins Board Member CARD;
Dr. Robert Bailey Member CARD - Presenting Posters at U of M M-LEEaD Event
(Beth Collins, CARD)

U of M - Michigan Center on Lifestage Environmental Exposures and Disease (M-LEEaD). Support for M-LEEaD Center is provided by grant P30ES017885 from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health; THE PBB TO PFAS SYMPOSIUM IS ORGANIZED BY: The University of Michigan M-LEEaD Center, Emory University’s HERCULES Center, and Central Michigan University

YouTube Video of Meeting by M-LEEaD U of M SPH Center: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLt4u9Gmt5XuI18jrOQBfcg3MZClie2zUJ


Danaher/Pall/Gelman 1,4-Dioxane Plume - Elected Officials Have Received Final Changes in Consent Judgement with Gelman, Still No Word on Decision on Text Disclosure or Agreement of Consent Judgment In Lieu of Petitioning US EPA for Superfund Standing and Potential Cleanup




City Council has indicated a Consent Judgement (CJ) Agreement with Danaher/Pall/Gelman on cleanup of the 1,4-Dioxane plume could be/is at an end. ACWG and CARD members attended Judge Connor's court session last week. They went into closed meeting discussions on the proposed CJ. 

No word on the outcome of these or later discussions on the proposed CJ.

Many Council members are supportive of a proposal to submit a petition for EPA Superfund site. Some have asked Council to wait to see if a consensus can be reached before voting on a Petition. A council resolution to Petition EPA has been tabled for several months. 

Ann Arbor officials may have misled the public:

If the elected officials come to an agreement on a new Consent Judgement (CJ) Ann Arbor officials may have misled the public when they said they will present it to the community before council has a vote on it's acceptance. It has been commented recently by Council and others that this may not be an option given the agreement on the confidentiality of the CJ discussions. If it is not agreed upon it cannot be released, and it cannot be released until it is approved.

Some of the main issues and questions currently facing us related to the Gelman Plume that are not being addressed are making our community less safe.

As I commented at the December 12th Joint Session of EGLE and local government bodies, during public comment at this meeting, we have a Gelman's Illicit Discharge into a Michigan MS4 system for 2 years now, the Allen('s) Creek flowing to the Huron River, Dan Bicknell GEA has investigated and communicated in more detail on the issues of MS4. I also commented that residents are not being protected if this compound is allowed to percolate into basements and evaporate (VI -Vapor Intrusion) into this confined space and expose the residents. Many Ann Arbor residents use their basements for play space, work space, office space, ... 

The current Consent Judgement (CJ) does not address this VI issue or have oversite of it.

We currently have 22 ppb at West Park in the Near-Surface Groundwater (NSG, some also call shallow groundwater). 11 blocks upstream we have had 1,000 ppb at Vet's Park in recent years flowing toward West Park and beyond. Coalition for the Remediation of Dioxane (CARD) pressured EGLE to do these NSG tests and most were very surprised the 1,4 dioxane was in the NSG at such high levels and seemingly moving higher.

We have Gelman/Pall's own geological maps from 2006 that show this would likely happen in West Park, as it now has.

As stated before EGLE has a (proposed) 1,900 ppb standard for VI which may be too high. They and EPA have not commented on the 100 ppb Action Level technically detailed technical proposal submitted by some CARD members to EPA and EGLE for evaluation over a year ago.

Ann Arbor should be using the 100 ppb until EGLE or EPA comes back with evaluations by Dr. Bailey showing 100 ppb should be the Action Level for near-surface groundwater near buildings.

Michigan MS4 Regulation: 
'The MS4 permit is required to halt any illicit discharge into the storm drain. An “illicit discharge” is defined as any discharge to, or seepage into, an MS4 drain that is not composed entirely of stormwater or uncontaminated groundwater except discharges pursuant to an NPDES permit.' (bold by us)

Under the MS4 permit, it would seem no dioxane contamination at any level should be legally allowed to infiltrate/seep into the MS4 storm drain (without a NPDS Permit which they do not seem to have), Allen's Creek at West Park for example, yet it clearly has for 2 years. 
 
As commented on before the Allen's Creek pipe in West Park has high flows in drought conditions because it picks up lots of seep's groundwater just upstream. This is to reduce the damage NSG can cause if left uncontrolled, like home and street undermining. This NSG is contaminated.

Coalition for the Remediation of Dioxane (CARD) and Allen’s Creek Watershed Group (ACWG) have again this past CARD Meeting requested additional NSG tests upstream of West Park to try to understand the 22 ppb finding in recent West Park NSG tests. These additional tests will help locate where permanent NSG well monitoring should be located. EGLE has stated they will be doing additional tests but not all we have requested.

It seems apparent that these developments on NSGs increasing quickly speaks to the need for a Superfund petition to deal with this clear and present danger to the West Side of Ann Arbor homes and businesses. The standard for NSG 1,4 dioxane is not clear, but EGLE started at 29 ppb then jumped to 1,900 ppb now they are using 280 ppb. Robert Bailey PhD, CARD member, calculated a proposed level of 100 ppb.

Again, we have again requested permanent NSG well monitoring. Dan Bicknell's GEA Comments on the DEQ Shallow Groundwater Work Plan and his proposed plan is posted in November 2016. Dan had a very well and logical plan laid out for dealing with the initial investigation of the NSG issue which seems to be clearly a problem that needs addressing.

Contaminated Near-Surface Groundwater is now a near-term threat to the community and is an example of how Gelman/Danaher has not protected the community. West Park is now at 22 ppb in NSG yet we have no permanent wells to monitor this. This is just one of a myriad of examples of mismanagement of this threat to the community.

Even if it is included in a new consent judgment agreement, we will be relying on EGLE and Gelman/Danaher to do a very weak job of protecting the community with containment, not cleanup. State law Part 201 is very weak and not protective in the long term. EPA has a much stronger cleanup standard.

With all the work the CARD group, city and county have done the EPA will have a headstart on this effort. The EPA Score of the partial Superfund Evaluation was very high for Superfund Listing with a minimal evaluation. In this case, we have a Responsible Party that EPA will require to do and pay for cleanup as is happening now with other sites all over the country.

The Ann Arbor Township, Scio Township, Washtenaw County Board of Commissions, Sierra Club Huron Valley Group, and ACWG all voted in supported a petition to the US EPA for Full Preliminary Assessment of the Gelman 1,4-Dioxane groundwater contamination.

Governor Whitmer would be much more approachable than our previous Republican Governor when we present her with a US EPA Full Preliminary Assessment in a Superfund Petition. The former governor refused to allow US EPA to do a Full Evaluation when requested by US EPA.

 

Links:

March 2020 Coalition for the Remediation of Dioxane (CARD) Group Meeting Video - Taped by Roger Rayle, Chair CARD

Gelman Plume Related Stories by Ann Arbor News/MLive: MLive

Ann Arbor-area officials delay Gelman plume decision another month: MLive Ryan Stanton

Dioxane test results for Allen Creek raise more questions: MLive Ryan Stanton

Ongoing discharges may be to blame for dioxane in Ann Arbor drinking water: MLive Ryan Stanton

Environment, Great Lakes & Energy (formally MDEQ)-Gelman Project SiteWashtenaw County CARD SiteScio Residents for Safe Water (SRSW)

Ryan Stanton in Ann Arbor News/MLive: 'EPA holding off on Superfund designation for Gelman dioxane plume'

Lots of details from Barbara Lucus at Dioxane.Org and WEMU News Program GreenRoom

See ACWG site pages EPA Superfund Option Details

Click here to view and/or sign in support of Superfund Designation


President Trump States All Buildings Must Not Be in Flood Zones In the United States, Eminent Domain Should Be Used: NYT 3-11-20

W. Kingsley St Ann Arbor Recent Flooding in Floodplain
with Over One Hundred of NEW Homes added in Ann Arbor's Floodplain
(AAChronicle; Click for Larger)




President Trump had declared all homes in the flood zones should be removed, even if Eminent Domain is required to remove them.

"The federal government is giving local officials nationwide a painful choice: Agree to use eminent domain to force people out of flood-prone homes, or forfeit a shot at federal money they need to combat climate change.

That choice, part of an effort by the Army Corps of Engineers to protect people from disasters, is facing officials from the Florida Keys to the New Jersey coast, including Miami, Charleston, S.C., and Selma, Ala. Local governments seeking federal money to help people leave flood zones must first commit to push out people who refuse to move." (bold by us)

This after the city of Ann Arbor has killed a million-dollar floodplain map overlay planning effort, created over 2 years by Ford School Graduate Students with lots of help from city staff, to reduce flood hazard, then a year or so later  permitted over 110 new homes in the very 'poorly calibrated floodplain' as described by local experts and city staff.

With mega-storms hitting Michigan every year now, 1,000-year (0.1% chance) storm summer 2018, 500-year (.2% chance) storms almost every year, Ann Arbor is not being protective of the community.

President Obama  virtually forbid using federal funds for building in the 100-year (1% chance) floodplain and virtually forbid the use of federal funds for building any critical structures in the 500-year (.2% chance) floodplain due to Global Warming effects causing more intense rain events.

Any structure secured by a loan from federally regulated lenders which is located in a Special Flood Hazard area (A or V zones) must have flood insurance as required under the U.S. Flood Disaster Protection Act. This includes condominiums/high-rise structures. FDIC


 Discussions of Development of Polluted DTE Site at Depot St and Broadway St In the FW FP, Unlike the City Effort, No Real Cleanup Proposed, Like "Zombies Rising Up"


DTE Site, Mostly Floodway in Blue (City of Ann Arbor GIS Web Site (Click for Larger View)

 Coal Tar (highly toxic) found at the DTE Site and shown by DEQ/EGLE at 
river's edge at the site, the pollution at the river's edge 
subsequently cleaned up in recent years (WUOM) but is still leaching into the Huron River


The city has recently received a draft Letter Of Map Revision FEMA (LoMR) with some changes in the floodplain floodway map [calculated by and submitted to FEMA by the developer of the DTE site*]. Staff has said the will review and comment on the LoMR.

At the Ground Breaking for the Berm Opening Project on Depot St. and DTE site in February the city indicated they will do a full cleanup where the work is done including on the DTE site because it is the right thing to do and funding sources require it.

Staff had indicated the developer's models presented for the LoMR: 

  • Do not accurately portray the railroad berm damming effect - they do not show it continuously dropping off to level grade at the AmTrak Station making the site more flood-prone, according to city staff
  • Do not include current data used by the city for 100-year (1% chance) rainfall amounts, according to city staff
  • Do not take into account the very poorly calibrated flood maps used for this site, according to city staff passed comments

In the 1968 100-Year (1% chance) Flood, we had 15 Feet of Flood Water careening across this site, most of the dams were damaged some breached and destroyed. Groundwater on site is contaminated but downriver has not been tested and pollution is 30' down on the site.

The city recently passed a resolution in support of the State's Proposed Polluter Pay Legislation yet seems supportive of building on top of a toxic DTE Coal Tar site with very little cleanup. 

These Engler GOP Polluted Sites are caused by the very weak MI Part 201 "Environmental" laws.

"What’s kind of a like a zombie rising from the grave is these buried contaminants that are now showing up in people’s homes, in their air, specifically. That was not envisioned by the science at the time; if you left chemicals in the ground they could actually migrate up through even impervious surfaces and affect people’s health." Dave Dempsey, For The Love Of Water FLOW - WUOM (bold by us)

DTE, a $26B company, should be doing a full cleanup of this site as the Responsible Party Legal Owner, not taxpayers.

The ACWG is reviewing the LoMR and is considering an unsupportive comment to FEMA under the 90-day comment period, the city should also submit an unsupportive comment.

Linkshttp://michiganradio.org/post/1994-michigan-ok-d-partial-pollution-cleanups-now-we-have-2000-contaminated-sites




 

Proposed Agenda and Updates:

February 20, 2020


UPDATE: CARD Poster from M-LEEaD 2-20-20 Meeting:

CARD Poster (CARD)

See details below in this date's Agenda entry.


Danaher/Pall/Gelman 1,4-Dioxane Plume - Elected Officials Still Negotiating Changes in Consent Judgement with Gelman In Lieu of Petitioning US EPA for Superfund Standing and Potential Cleanup


The Public, local elected officials, MI-EGLE and EPA Officials had a discussion and a Question-Answer Session on January 16 on the options for designating the Danaher/Pall/Gelman 1,4-Dioxane plume a potential EPA Superfund site.

The officials attending the January Joint Session have postponed judgment on EPA Superfund option till after the January 16 meeting. No word on changes in policy although negotiations with Gelman are still ongoing and are said to be coming to a close soon.

If the elected officials come to an agreement on a new Consent Judgement (CJ) Ann Arbor officials will present it to the community before council has a vote on acceptance.

Representative Debbie Dingell has arranged for this meeting and to allow for questions and comments about the potential options for a cleanup of this plume.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell, Officials from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE), the Office of the Michigan Attorney General, and local elected officials were present, and stakeholders and the public had an opportunity to ask questions and make comment. See link for YouTube video by Roger Rayle CARD/SRSW.



Vince Caruso and Rita Loch-Caruso PhD Making Comment at Joint Session on 12-12-19 (Roger Rayle Video SS, Click for Larger)

Some of the main issues and questions currently facing us related to the Gelman Plume that are not being addressed are making our community less safe.

As I commented at the December 12th Joint Session of EGLE and local government bodies, during public comment at this meeting, we have a Gelman's Illicit Discharge into a Michigan MS4 system for 2 years now, the Allen('s) Creek flowing to the Huron River, Dan Bicknell GEA has investigated and communicated in more detail on the issues of MS4. I also commented that residents are not being protected if this compound is allowed to percolate into basements and evaporate (VI -Vapor Intrusion) into this confined space and expose the residents. Many Ann Arbor residents use their basements for play space, workspace, office space, ... 

The current Consent Judgement (CJ) does not address this VI issue or have oversite of it.

We currently have 22 ppb at West Park in the Near-Surface Groundwater (NSG, some also call shallow groundwater). 11 blocks upstream we have had 1,000 ppb at Vet's Park in recent years flowing toward West Park and beyond. Coalition for the Remediation of Dioxane (CARD) pressured EGLE to do these NSG tests and most were very surprised the 1,4 dioxane was in the NSG at such high levels and seemingly moving higher.

We have Gelman/Pall's own geological maps from 2006 that show this would likely happen in West Park, as it now has.

As stated before EGLE has a (proposed) 1,900 ppb standard for VI which may be too high. They and EPA have not commented on the 100 ppb Action Level technically detailed technical proposal submitted by some CARD members to EPA and EGLE for evaluation.

Michigan MS4 Regulation: 
'The MS4 permit is required to halt any illicit discharge into the storm drain. An “illicit discharge” is defined as any discharge to, or seepage into, an MS4 drain that is not composed entirely of stormwater or uncontaminated groundwater except discharges pursuant to an NPDES permit.' (bold by us)

Under the MS4 permit, it would seem no dioxane contamination at any level should be legally allowed to infiltrate/seep into the MS4 storm drain (without a NPDS Permit which they do not seem to have), Allen's Creek at West Park for example, yet it clearly has for 2 years. 
 
As commented on before the Allen's Creek pipe in West Park has high flows in drought conditions because it picks up lots of seep's groundwater just upstream. This is to reduce the damage NSG can cause if left uncontrolled, like home and street undermining. This NSG is contaminated.

Coalition for the Remediation of Dioxane (CARD) and Allen’s Creek Watershed Group (ACWG) have again this past CARD Meeting requested additional NSG tests upstream of West Park to try to understand the 22 ppb finding in recent West Park NSG tests. These additional tests will help locate where permanent NSG well monitoring should be located. EGLE has stated they will be doing additional tests but not all we have requested.

It seems apparent that these developments on NSGs increasing quickly speaks to the need for a Superfund petition to deal with this clear and present danger to the West Side of Ann Arbor homes and businesses. The standard for NSG 1,4 dioxane is not clear, but EGLE started at 29 ppb then jumped to 1,900 ppb now they are using 280 ppb. Robert Bailey PhD, CARD member, calculated a proposed level of 100 ppb.

Again, we have again requested permanent NSG well monitoring. Dan Bicknell's GEA Comments on the DEQ Shallow Groundwater Work Plan and his proposed plan is posted in November 2016. Dan had a very well and logical plan laid out for dealing with the initial investigation of the NSG issue which seems to be clearly a problem that needs addressing.

Contaminated Near-Surface Groundwater is now a near-term threat to the community and is an example of how Gelman/Danaher has not protected the community. West Park is now at 22 ppb in NSG yet we have no permanent wells to monitor this. This is just one of a myriad of examples of mismanagement of this threat to the community.

Even if it is included in a new consent judgment agreement, we will be relying on EGLE and Gelman/Danaher to do a very weak job of protecting the community with containment, not cleanup. State law Part 201 is very weak and not protective in the long term. EPA has a much stronger cleanup standard.

With all the work the CARD group, city and county have done the EPA will have a headstart on this effort. The EPA Score of the partial Superfund Evaluation was very high for Superfund Listing with a minimal evaluation. In this case, we have a Responsible Party that EPA will require to do and pay for cleanup as is happening now with other sites all over the country.

The Ann Arbor Township, Scio Township, Washtenaw County Board of Commissions, Sierra Club Huron Valley Group, and ACWG all voted in supported a petition to the US EPA for Full Preliminary Assessment of the Gelman 1,4-Dioxane groundwater contamination.

Governor Whitmer would be much more approachable than our previous Republican Governor when we present her with a US EPA Full Preliminary Assessment in a Superfund Petition. The former governor refused to allow US EPA to do a Full Evaluation when requested by US EPA.

 

Links:

Fourth Joint County/City/Townships Special Session Public/Stakeholders Q&A with EPA & EGLE officials on the Gelman Dioxane Plume & EPA Option January 16, 2020; YouTube  - Taped by Roger Rayle, Chair CARD

February 2020 Coalition for the Remediation of Dioxane (CARD) Group Meeting Video - Taped by Roger Rayle, Chair CARD

Gelman Plume Related Stories by Ann Arbor News/MLive: MLive

Ann Arbor-area officials delay Gelman plume decision another month: MLive Ryan Stanton

Dioxane test results for Allen Creek raise more questions: MLive Ryan Stanton

Ongoing discharges may be to blame for dioxane in Ann Arbor drinking water: MLive Ryan Stanton

Environment, Great Lakes & Energy (formally MDEQ)-Gelman Project SiteWashtenaw County CARD SiteScio Residents for Safe Water (SRSW)

Ryan Stanton in Ann Arbor News/MLive: 'EPA holding off on Superfund designation for Gelman dioxane plume'

Lots of details from Barbara Lucus at Dioxane.Org and WEMU News Program GreenRoom

See ACWG site pages EPA Superfund Option Details

Click here to view and/or sign in support of Superfund Designation


Discussions on Vapor Intrusion (VI) Modeling and Tests for 1,4 Dioxane in Ann Arbor
 
MLive (Red Text Annotated on left by us; Click for Larger)

Card Group and ACWG has been in contact with U of M facility on potential VI tests inside basements where 1,4 Dioxane may be found in NSG near homes.

In discussions with the city Administrator Lazarus at City Hall on January 23rd we were told the city is planning to do VI tests in selected homes to get a better idea of what VI issues the city may or may not face if the 1,4 Dioxane Plume continues to migrate through the city to the Huron River. The VI tests council resolution is being worked on and should go to council for a vote. He also said the city would consider West Park Band Shell unused basement for a location for U of M professor and Post Doc to test for VI in an enclosed space with existing potential groundwater contamination. City staff still working on access to the Band Shell for evaluation.

We will try to find options for scientists to test basement exposures and validate exposure models they have worked on specifically for VI of 1,4 Dioxane in buildings. Our understanding is, from discussions with EGLE and other scientists including those at U of M, that VI for 1,4 Dioxane is poorly studied and understood and these studies are sorely needed to help effectively protect the communities.

VI of 1,4 Dioxane is different than for the vast majority of other chemicals that may seep into a home in a vapor state. 1,4 dioxane will generally enter the structure with contaminated water, and when the water evaporates the compound will become airborne and expose the inhabitants. A major issue we face in Ann Arbor is the large number of homes on the west side with wet basements that may get occupants exposed if the compound is allowed to migrate in the NSG and infiltrate into the basements.

The standard for NSG 1,4 dioxane is not clear, but EGLE started at 29 ppb then jumped to 1,900 ppb now they are using 280 ppb. Dr. Robert Bailey, CARD member, calculated a proposed level of 100 ppb.
 

     https://www.mlive.com/news/2017/06/deq_budget_vapor_intrusion.html 

 

M-LEEaD Center: "From PBB to PFAS: Research and Action to Address Michigan’s Large-Scale Chemical Contaminations" - U of M Earth Day at 50;  8:30 am Thursday, February 20, 2020

 

Keynote address by Linda S. Birnbaum, PhD, DABT, ATS (Director (retired), Scientist Emeritus, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and National Toxicology Program): “The Challenges of PFAS”

Members of the CARD Group and ACWG will be attending and presenting posters in the Poster Session at this meeting. Posters will discuss Vapor Intrusion for 1,4 Dioxane poorly studied and published issue, and the work of the CARD Group in Scio and Ann Arbor Townships and City of Ann Arbor. See CARD Poster entry in UPDATE above.

The meeting quickly reached it's maximum allowed attendance for the reserved rooms at the U of M Michigan League but live streaming is available.

Michigan Center on Lifestage Environmental Exposures and Disease (M-LEEaD). Support for M-LEEaD Center is provided by grant P30ES017885 from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health; THE PBB TO PFAS SYMPOSIUM IS ORGANIZED BY: The University of Michigan M-LEEaD Center, Emory University’s HERCULES Center, and Central Michigan University

YouTube Video of Meeting: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLt4u9Gmt5XuI18jrOQBfcg3MZClie2zUJ

Web Page: http://mleead.umich.edu/Event_FromPBBtoPFAS.php

 

Local Public Hearing on MI Proposed PFAS in Drinking Water Rules

 
EGLE PFAS Public Hearing 1-14-20 (WCC; ACWG, Click for Larger)
NRDC, Aug. 2019 (Click for Larger)

At the January 14th meeting, the ACWG asked officials to use standards similar to the NRDC's published low single-digit values. The EGLE is proposing low double-digit standards for the longer chain PFOSs.

NRDC local officials in attendance made comment and proposed using the low single-digit PFOS values.
 
Proposed standards are in Part Per Trillion, giving a good indication of the toxic nature of these compounds which do not break down for a very long time in nature and bioaccumulate in biologic systems including humans. One part per trillion would equal one second in 31,500 years, very small amounts.

Ann Arbor has PFOS in the Huron River and in the small amounts in our drinking water. As shown above, it is a major issue for Michigan, and will be for other states as well. Michigan has been out front on testing for PFOS in water and may be/is a sentinel for other states.

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE), Drinking Water and Environmental Health Division (DWEHD), had three public hearings to receive public comments on proposed rules to establish maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) for seven per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) compounds in drinking water.

The proposed rules will amend the current rules to provide provisions that reduce exposure to seven PFAS compounds in drinking water. The provisions include establishment of drinking water standards, sampling requirements, public notification requirements and laboratory certification criteria.

Links:

 
Rail Road Berm Tunnel Between Depot St. and B2B Trail and, Tree Line/Greenway Ground Breaking Tuesday 10 am at Amtrak Parking Area
 

Study Adopted Berm Opening Under Rail Road Track (City of Ann Arbor; Click for Larger)


City of Ann Arbor will have a ribbon-cutting at the AmTrak Parking area Tuesday to mark the start of this project.

The ACWG attended all the planning meetings for this project supporting the Allen's Creek flood reduction for the Depot St area residents and businesses and access to the B2B Trail. The berm currently acts as a dam in flood situations causing flood hazard upstream. Many homes (tens) in this area will be now out of the 1% chance (100 year) floodplain with this important project because flood flows to the Huron River will be much less blocked as they are now.

Early in the planning process the inclusion of a pedestrian and bike access was in doubt. Many local residents and the ACWG strongly supported the addition of the pedestrian and bike access tunnel next to the Fresh Water Runoff (stormwater). MDOT was not initially supportive of the tunnel until they learned it would include a trail connection to the B2B trail which had them reverse positions and strongly support the plan.

City staff worked very long and hard to make this project happen which will be a major improvement in the city, much more valuable in the many decades of property protection and amenity value than the cost of the project.

City of Ann Arbor Project Page  




January 2020 
No Meeting this Month Due to Conflict with EPA, MI EGLE, Rep. Dingell Joint Session

Watershed Issues of Interest and Updates:


Danaher/Pall/Gelman 1,4-Dioxane Plume - Public, Elected Officials Joint Session With EGLE and EPA for Question-Answer Session Thrs. 1-16-20: Organized by Rep. Debbie Dingell


The Public, local elected officials, MI-EGLE and EPA Officials will meet at a Question-Answer Session on January 16  6:30pm to discuss the options for designating the Danaher/Pall/Gelman 1,4-Dioxane plume a potential EPA Superfund site.

The officials attending the December Joint Session have postponed judgment on EPA Superfund option till after the January 16 meeting. Representative Debbie Dingell has arranged for this meeting and to allow for questions and comments about the potential options for a cleanup of this plume.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell, Officials from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE), the Office of the Michigan Attorney General, and local elected officials will be present, and stakeholders and the public will have the opportunity to ask questions and make comment.

 

Public, Joint Session, EPA, EGLE, Rep. Debbi Dingell  -  Question Answer Session:

When:    Thursday, January 16th
Time:     6:30-8:30pm
Where:  Washtenaw Learning Resource Center, 4135 Washtenaw Ave, Ann Arbor, MI 48108. (Google Map Link)

 

Joint Session on 12-12-19; wide-angle (ACWG, Click for Larger)

Vince Caruso Comments at 1/16/20 EPA/EGLE/AG Stake Holder Meeting (Click for Larger, Video Roger Rayle CARD)

Some of the main issues and questions currently facing us related to the Gelman Plume that are not being addressed are making our community less safe.

As I commented at the December 12th Joint Session of EGLE and local government bodies, during public comment, we have a Gelman's Illicit Discharge into a Michigan MS4 system for 2 years now, the Allen('s) Creek flowing to the Huron River, Dan Bicknell GEA has investigated and communicated in more detail on the issues of MS4. I also commented that residents are not being protected if this compound is allowed to percolate into basements and evaporate (VI -Vapor Intrusion) into this confined space and expose the residents. Many Ann Arbor residents use their basements for play space, workspace, office space, ... 

The current Consent Judgement (CJ) does not address this VI issue or have oversite of it.

We currently have 22 ppb at West Park in the Near-Surface Groundwater (NSG, some also call shallow groundwater). 11 blocks upstream we have had 1,000 ppb at Vet's Park in recent years flowing toward West Park and beyond. Coalition for the Remediation of Dioxane (CARD) pressured EGLE to do these NSG tests and most were very surprised the 1,4 dioxane was in the NSG at such high levels and seemingly moving higher.

We have Gelman/Pall's own geological maps from 2006 that show this would likely happen in West Park, as it now has.

As stated before EGLE has a (proposed) 1,900 ppb standard for VI which may be too high. They and EPA have not commented on the 100 ppb Action Level technically detailed technical proposal submitted by some CARD members to EPA and EGLE for evaluation.

Michigan MS4 Regulation: 
'The MS4 permit is required to halt any illicit discharge into the storm drain. An “illicit discharge” is defined as any discharge to, or seepage into, an MS4 drain that is not composed entirely of stormwater or uncontaminated groundwater except discharges pursuant to an NPDES permit.' (bold by us)

Under the MS4 permit, it would seem no dioxane contamination at any level should be legally allowed to infiltrate/seep into the MS4 storm drain (without a NPDS Permit which they do not seem to have), Allen's Creek at West Park for example, yet it clearly has for 2 years. 
 
As commented on before the Allen's Creek pipe in West Park has high flows in drought conditions because it picks up lots of seep's groundwater just upstream. This is to reduce the damage NSG can cause if left uncontrolled, like home and street undermining. This NSG is contaminated.

Coalition for the Remediation of Dioxane (CARD) and Allen’s Creek Watershed Group (ACWG) have again this past CARD Meeting requested additional NSG tests upstream of West Park to try to understand the 22 ppb finding in recent West Park NSG tests. These additional tests will help locate where permanent NSG well monitoring should be located.

It seems apparent that these developments on NSGs increasing quickly speaks to the need for a Superfund petition to deal with this clear and present danger to the West Side of Ann Arbor homes and businesses. The standard for NSG 1,4 dioxane is not clear, but EGLE started at 29 ppb then jumped to 1,900 ppb, CARD has argued  for 280 ppb*. Robert Bailey PhD, CARD member, calculated a proposed level of 100 ppb.

Again, we have again requested permanent NSG well monitoring. Dan Bicknell's GEA Comments on the DEQ Shallow Groundwater Work Plan and his proposed plan is posted in November 2016. Dan had a very well and logical plan laid out for dealing with the initial investigation of the NSG issue which seems to be clearly a problem that needs addressing.

Contaminated Near-Surface Groundwater is now a near-term threat to the community and is an example of how Gelman/Danaher has not protected the community. West Park is now at 22 ppb in NSG yet we have no permanent wells to monitor this. This is just one of a myriad of examples of mismanagement of this threat to the community.

Even if it is included in a new consent judgment agreement, we will be relying on EGLE and Gelman/Danaher to do a very weak job of protecting the community with containment, not cleanup. State law Part 201 is very weak and not protective in the long term. EPA has a much stronger cleanup standard.

With all the work the CARD group, city and county have done the EPA will have a headstart on this effort. The EPA Score of the partial Superfund Evaluation was very high for Superfund Listing with a minimal evaluation. In this case, we have a Responsible Party that EPA will require to do and pay for cleanup as is happening now with other sites all over the country.

The Ann Arbor Township, Scio Township, Washtenaw County Board of Commissions, Sierra Club Huron Valley Group, and ACWG all voted in supported a petition to the US EPA for Full Preliminary Assessment of the Gelman 1,4-Dioxane groundwater contamination.

Governor Whitmer would be much more approachable than our previous Republican Governor when we present her with a US EPA Full Preliminary Assessment in a Superfund Petition. The former governor refused to allow US EPA to do a Full Evaluation when requested by US EPA.

 

Links:

 Video of Session 1/16/20: Taped and posted by Roger Rayle Chair CARD

Special Joint Working Session with City of Ann Arbor, Washtenaw County, Scio Township and Ann Arbor Township - Taped by Roger Rayle, Chair CARD

January 2020 Coalition for the Remediation of Dioxane (CARD) Group Meeting Video - Taped by Roger Rayle, Chair CARD

Gelman Plume Related Stories by Ann Arbor News/MLive: MLive

Ann Arbor-area officials delay Gelman plume decision another month: MLive Ryan Stanton

Dioxane test results for Allen Creek raise more questions: MLive Ryan Stanton

Ongoing discharges may be to blame for dioxane in Ann Arbor drinking water: MLive Ryan Stanton

Environment, Great Lakes & Energy (formally MDEQ)-Gelman Project SiteWashtenaw County CARD SiteScio Residents for Safe Water (SRSW)

Ryan Stanton in Ann Arbor News/MLive: 'EPA holding off on Superfund designation for Gelman dioxane plume'

Lots of details from Barbara Lucus at Dioxane.Org and WEMU News Program GreenRoom

See ACWG site pages EPA Superfund Option Details

Click here to view and/or sign in support of Superfund Designation


Discussions with U of M Facility on Vapor Intrusion (VI) Modeling and Tests for 1,4 Dioxane


MLive (Red Text Annotated on left by us; Click for Larger)

Card Group and ACWG has been in contact with U of M facility on potential VI tests inside basements where 1,4 Dioxane may be found in NSG near homes.

The city has bought some homes in the floodway of Allen's Creek in recent years to reduce flood hazard, and potentially to connect the Greenway/Treeline to adjacent park spaces or other trails.

We will try to find options for scientists to test basement exposures and validate exposure models they have worked on specifically for VI of 1,4 Dioxane in buildings. Our understanding is, from discussions with EGLE and other scientists including those at U of M, that VI for 1,4 Dioxane is poorly studied and understood and these studies are sorely needed to help effectively protect the communities.

VI of 1,4 Dioxane is different than for the vast majority of other chemicals that may seep into a home in a vapor state. 1,4 dioxane will generally enter the structure with contaminated water, and when the water evaporates the compound will become airborne and expose the inhabitants. A major issue we face in Ann Arbor is the large number of homes on the west side with wet basements that may get occupants exposed if the compound is allowed to migrate in the NSG and infiltrate into the basements.

The standard for NSG 1,4 dioxane is not clear, but EGLE started at 29 ppb then jumped to 1,900 ppb, CARD has argued  for 280 ppb*. Dr. Robert Bailey, CARD member, calculated a proposed level of 100 ppb.
 

 

Local Public Hearings on MI Proposed PFAS in Drinking Water Rules Tonight

 
NRDC, Aug. 2019 (Click for Larger)

Ann Arbor has PFOS in the Huron River and in the drinking water. As shown above, it is a major issue for Michigan, and will be for other states as well. Michigan has been out front on testing for PFOS in water and may be/is a sentinel for other states.

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE), Drinking Water and Environmental Health Division (DWEHD), will this week hold the first of three public hearings to receive public comments on proposed rules to establish maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) for seven per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) compounds in drinking water.

The proposed rules will amend the current rules to provide provisions that reduce exposure to seven PFAS compounds in drinking water. The provisions include establishment of drinking water standards, sampling requirements, public notification requirements and laboratory certification criteria.

A local public hearing is scheduled for:
  • Today  Tuesday, January 14, from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m.,
  • at Washtenaw Community College, Morris Lawrence Building, 4800 E. Huron River Dr., Ann Arbor, Mich.,
  • in ML Towsley Auditorium
 


Proposed Agenda and Updates:

December 19, 2019


Danaher/Pall/Gelman 1,4-Dioxane Plume - Public, Elected Officials Joint Session With EGLE and EPA for Question-Answer Session 1-16-20


The Public, local elected officials, EGLE and EPA Officials will meet at a Question-Answer Session on January 16, location TBD, to discuss the options for designating the Danaher/Pall/Gelman 1,4-Dioxane plume a potential EPA Superfund site.

The officials attending the Joint Session have again postponed judgment on EPA Superfund option till after the January 16 meeting Representative Debbie Dingell has arranged to allow for questions and comments about the potential options for a cleanup of this plume.


Public, Joint Session, EPA, EGLE, Rep. Debbi Dingell  -  Question Answer Session:

  • January 16
  • Time/Location TBD

Joint Session 12-12-19, wide-angle (ACWG, Click for Larger)

Vince Caruso Makes Comment at Joint Session 12-12-19 (Roger Rayle CARD YouTube, Click for Larger)

I commented on the Gelman's Illicit Discharge into a Michigan MS4 system, the Allen('s) Creek flowing to the Huron River, Dan Bicknell GEA has communicated in more detail on the issues of MS4. I also commented that residents are not being protected if this compound is allowed to percolate into basements and evaporate (VI -Vapor Intrusion) into this confined space and expose the residents. Many Ann Arbor residents use their basements for play space, workspace, office space, ... 

We currently have 22 ppb at West Park in the NSG. 11 blocks upstream we have had 1,000 ppb at Vet's Park. CARD pressured EGLE to do these NSG tests and most were very surprised the 1,4 dioxane was in the NSG at such high levels and seemingly moving higher.

As stated here before EGLE has a (proposed) 1,900 ppb standard for VI which may be too high. They and EPA have not commented on the 100 ppb Action Level proposal submitted by some CARD members for evaluation.

MI EGLE MS4 Regulation

'The MS4 permit is required to halt any illicit discharge into the storm drain. An “illicit discharge” is defined as any discharge to, or seepage into, an MS4 drain that is not composed entirely of storm water or uncontaminated groundwater except discharges pursuant to an NPDES permit.' (bold by us)

Under the MS4 permit, it would seem no dioxane contamination at any level should be legally allowed to infiltrate/seep into the MS4 storm drain, Allen's Creek for example, yet it clearly has for many months and going higher at every test. 

Evan Pratt Followup Communication on the MS4 Discharge email from Dan Bicknell:

Even Pratt has commented to CARD that he has not gotten a clear indication from EGLE or EPA on this MS4 Illicit Discharge Issue and is willing to pursue options with regulatory bodies for clarification and actions as needed.

As commented on here before the Allen's Creek pipe in West Park has high flows in drought conditions because it picks up lots of seep's groundwater just upstream. This is to reduce the damage NSG can cause if left uncontrolled, like home and street undermining.

 

Coalition for the Remediation of Dioxane (CARD) and Allen’s Creek Watershed Group (ACWG) have again this past CARD Meeting requested additional NSG (some call shallow groundwater) tests upstream of West Park to try to understand the 22 ppb finding in recent West Park NSG tests. These additional tests will help locate where permanent NSG well monitoring should be located.

It seems apparent that these developments on NSGs increasing quickly speaks to the need for a Superfund petition to deal with this clear and present danger to the West Side of Ann Arbor homes and businesses. The standard for NSG 1,4 dioxane is not clear, but started at 29 ppb then jumped to 1,900 ppb, CARD has argued  for 280 ppb*. Dr. Bailey, CARD member, calculated a proposed level of 100 ppb.

Again, we have again requested permanent NSG well monitoring. Dan Bicknell's GEA Comments on the DEQ Shallow Groundwater Work Plan and his proposed plan is posted in the November 2016 Agenda. Dan had a very well and logical plan laid out for dealing with the initial investigation of the NSG issue which seems to be clearly a problem that needs addressing.

 

Near-Surface Groundwater (surface groundwater) is now a near-term threat to the community and is an example of how Gelman/Danaher has not protected the community. West Park is now at 22 ppb in NSG yet we have no permanent wells to monitor this. This is just one of a myriad of examples of mismanagement of this threat to the community.

Even with a consent judgment agreement, we will be relying on EGLE and Gelman/Danaher to do a very weak job of protecting the community with containment, not cleanup. State law Part 201 is very weak and not protective in the long term.

Contact your elected officials and make your support of a Full Superfund Evaluation for this Massive Plume known to them.

With all the work the Coalition for the Remediation of Dioxane (CARD) group, city and county have done the EPA will have a headstart on this effort. The score of the partial Superfund Evaluation was very high for Superfund Listing with a minimal evaluation.

The Ann Arbor TownshipScio TownshipWashtenaw County Board of CommissionsSierra Club Huron Valley Group (SCHGV)CARD and ACWG all voted in supported a petition to the US EPA for Full Preliminary Assessment of the Gelman 1,4-Dioxane groundwater contamination.

Governor Whitmer would be much more approachable than our previous Republican Governor.

Links:

Special Joint Working Session with City of Ann Arbor, Washtenaw County, Scio Township and Ann Arbor Township - Taped by Roger Rayle, Chair CARD

December 2019 Coalition for the Remediation of Dioxane (CARD) Group Meeting Video - Taped by Roger Rayle, Chair CARD

Ann Arbor-area officials delay Gelman plume decision another month: MLive Ryan Stanton

Dioxane test results for Allen Creek raise more questions: MLive Ryan Stanton

Ongoing discharges may be to blame for dioxane in Ann Arbor drinking water: MLive Ryan Stanton

Environment, Great Lakes & Energy (formally MDEQ)-Gelman Project SiteWashtenaw County CARD SiteScio Residents for Safe Water (SRSW)

Lots of stores by Ryan Stanton in Ann Arbor News/MLive including this recent article 'EPA holding off on Superfund designation for Gelman dioxane plume'

Lots of details from Barbara Lucus at Dioxane.Org and WEMU News Program GreenRoom

See ACWG site pages EPA Superfund Option Details

Click here to view and/or sign in support of Superfund Designation


Michigan Had the Wettest Year Ever Recorded in 119 Years of Records!
 
NOAA - Michigan Record Perception 2019 (Click for larger)
 
MLive reports:

"The Great Lakes water levels are a good sign of the above-average precipitation. Now NOAA has given us the on just how much precipitation has fallen across Michigan.
 
The water year from Nov.1, 2018 to Oct. 31, 2019, has been declared the wettest water year on record across Michigan.
 
Michigan isn’t alone on the wettest weather. Five states across the Midwest and Great Lakes have had the wettest year up to Oct. 31." (bold by us)
 
Great Lakes are also at all-time record levels partially due to record precipitation, see below. 
 
This should give our city officials pause in suggesting more buildings in the Floodplain will be OK because we have FEMA Maps.
 
FEMA Floodplain maps are not keeping up with Global Warming effects in Michigan and should not be considered fail-safe. As previously reported here, FEMA has been shown to  currently 'Low Ball' Flood Maps by 33%.
 
 
 
Great Lakes Water Levels to rise in 2020, More Intense Rains in Michigan Are Clearly a Part of the Problem
 

Lake Michigan West Shore Town major unrelenting flooding 2019 (LSJ, Click for larger)
 
 
Former Ann Arbor Parks Director and now MI DNR Director Ron Olson interviewed and comments on high lake levels and larger rain events.
 
"Water is rising along Michigan's prized Great Lakes shoreline, shrinking beaches, eroding dunes, flooding campgrounds, costing millions.
2019 was bad and 2020 is expected to be worse.
 
And the Great Lakes are projected to keep rising in spring 2020. It's unclear what to expect after that.
 
The violent storms and the rainfalls and all of that has really combined together to create this situation where it looks like we’re sailing into uncharted territory" ..." (bold by us)
 
More rain and more flooding are clearly a real possibility for Michigan with changes in our climate due to Global Warming effects because of atmospheric CO2 increases. Uncharted waters with planning requires much more due diligence and caution. Building in floodways and floodplains will be very dangerous to the residents in the new homes and businesses and more dangerous for those with new unexpected flood hazards up steam due to blocked flood water flows.
 


 

William St. Protected Bike Lane Opens, Major Potential Connection to Tree Line/Greenway, and Benefits

 
 
William St. Protect Bike Lane Opening, wide-angle (ACWG, Click for Larger)

The city opened the new William St. Protected Bike Lane that connects the Old West Side and Campus, and has real potential with a connection to the Tree Line/Greenway proposed project. A very large crowd attended the ribbon-cutting and opening.

Protected bike lanes have been clearly shown to have great benefits for the community. Many more people will bike to town with protected bike lanes and because it will be safer.

The Tree Line/Greenway connection to the Downtown and Campus has real potential to provide many very cost-effective benefits.

The Tree Line/Greenway has great potential as has been shown in many progressive communities for mobility, opening up the floodway to reduce flood hazardfresh water runoff (stormwater) mitigation with pollution mitigationeconomic viability, and in general much better health outcomes for residents and visitors. 

One issue facing the city with the Tree Line/Greenway is the potential for major Gentrification of the area around the greenway. Other communities with these types of projects have found major public pushback due to gentrification pushing affordable housing out of the greenway areas.

Atlanta has proposed instituting a property tax freeze or full rebates on landlords that do not jack up rents along the super popular Atlanta Beltline greenway (discussed on ACWG.ORG in the recent June 21, 2018 post). The Beltline has been like other Greenways a colossal success unmatched in Atlanta history, with major flood mitigation built into the design.

NYC High Line and Chicago Greenway have had similar problems with Greenway design and implications. According to a planner working on a project in Ann Arbor and also the Chicago Greenway, she said they have had a hold on planning to deal with pushback due to gentrification of neighborhoods with much higher rents and home prices potentials. She is looking very hard for real solutions to get Chicago Greenway back on track.




Proposed Agenda and Updates:

November 21, 2019


Danaher/Pall/Gelman 1,4-Dioxane Plume Near-Surface Groundwater Tests Requested by CARD ACWG


Coalition for the Remediation of Dioxane (CARD) and Allen’s Creek Watershed Group (ACWG) have again this past CARD Meeting requested additional Near-Surface Groundwater (NSG) (some call shallow groundwater) tests upstream of West Park to try to understand the 22 ppb finding in recent West Park NSG tests. These additional tests will help locate where permanent NSG well monitoring should be located.

It seems apparent that these developments on NSGs increasing quickly speaks to the need for a Superfund petition to deal with this clear and present danger to the West Side of Ann Arbor homes and businesses. The standard for NSG 1,4 dioxane is not clear, but started at 29 ppb then jumped to 1,900 ppb, CARD has argued  for 280 ppb*. Dr. Bailey calculated a proposed level of 100 ppb.

I asked EGLE if they have evaluated the 1,4D potential Vapor Intrusion Action Level calculated by Dr. Robert Bailey, they have not. Dr. Bailey has a Ph.D. in Inorganic Chemistry from U of Wisconsin - Madison, who worked for DOW calculating Fate and Transport of these types of chemicals for 30 years and then had a consulting company doing the same. Dr. Bailey's work was presented to EGLE earlier this year and US EPA over a year ago. The technical term “fate and transport” describes how chemicals entering the subsurface from point or non-point sources relate to groundwater concentrations elsewhere.

Again, we have again requested permanent NSG well monitoring. Dan Bicknell's GEA Comments on the DEQ Shallow Groundwater Work Plan and his proposed plan is posted in the November 2016 Agenda. Dan had a very well and logical plan laid out for dealing with the initial investigation of the NSG issue which seems to be clearly a problem that needs addressing.

Evan Pratt (Washtenaw County Water Resources Commissioner) has asked EGLE for additional NSG tests, which EGLE has agreed to do. 
Update: these tests have been put on hold due to needed evaluations of the storm-sewer pipes locations and actual flows in the area. Commissioner Pratt "did request 6 or 12 month sampling at the West park locations (Chapin St. on the east end before discharge to mainline Allens) and the same location on the west end of the park."*


ACWG did a tour of the Glendale Neighborhood with Mr. Pratt in September, where many homes reported water issues, when asked in a neighborhood conducted a survey. The one homeowner we encountered clearly indicate she had groundwater issues in her basement. This is consistent with many homeowners' comments during the survey. I personally witnessed two homes recently built in the neighborhood both filled with groundwater, after the basement holes were excavated. In one neighborhood residents asked me to talk to the builder of their fears that kids would fall into the hole and drowned. I talked to the builder and he blocked access to the hole and home under construction with a flooded basement. 


Vince Caruso Making Comment at Monitoring Well Location Discussion (ACWG Screen Shot CTN Video; Click for Larger)

The city had a meeting to discuss Monitoring Wells that are to be added in the northern portion of the Gelman Plume to detect any potential movement toward Barton Pond, Ann Arbor drinking water source. This was requested by CARD then MDEQ many years ago and denied by Judge Shelton due to costs savings issues argued by Gelman. These new Monitoring Wells clearly should be paid for by Responsible Party Gelman/Danaher which would be the case if EPA were in charge of this cleanup.

Near-Surface Groundwater is now a near-term threat to the community and is an example of how Gelman/Danaher has not protected the community. West Park is now at 22 ppb in NSG yet we have no permanent wells to monitor this. This is just one of a myriad of examples of mismanagement of this threat to the community.

Even with a consent judgment agreement, we will be relying on EGLE and Gelman/Danaher to do a very weak job of protecting the community with containment, not cleanup. State law Part 201 is very weak and not protective in the long term.

Contact your elected officials and make your support of a Full Superfund Evaluation for this Massive Plume known to them.

With all the work the Coalition for the Remediation of Dioxane (CARD) group, city and county have done the EPA will have a head-start on this effort. The score of the partial Superfund Evaluation was very high for Superfund Listing with a minimal evaluation.

The Ann Arbor TownshipScio TownshipWashtenaw County Board of CommissionsSierra Club Huron Valley Group (SCHGV)CARD and ACWG all voted in supported a petition to the US EPA for Full Preliminary Assessment of the Gelman 1,4-Dioxane groundwater contamination.

Governor Whitmer would be much more approachable than our previous Republican Governor.

Links:

November 2019 Coalition for the Remediation of Dioxane (CARD) Group Meeting Video - Taped by Roger Rayle, Chair CARD 

Superfund or legal settlement? Officials discussing next steps for Gelman plume: MLive Ryan Stanton

Dioxane detected in Ann Arbor drinking water from Barton Pond for first time: Mlive Martin Slagter

Dioxane test results for Allen Creek raise more questions: MLive Ryan Stanton

Ongoing discharges may be to blame for dioxane in Ann Arbor drinking water: MLive Ryan Stanton

Environment, Great Lakes & Energy (formally MDEQ)-Gelman Project SiteWashtenaw County CARD SiteScio Residents for Safe Water (SRSW)

Lots of stores by Ryan Stanton in Ann Arbor News/MLive including this recent article 'EPA holding off on Superfund designation for Gelman dioxane plume'

Lots of details from Barbara Lucus at Dioxane.Org and WEMU News Program GreenRoom

See ACWG site pages EPA Superfund Option Details

Click here to view and/or sign in support of Superfund Designation


Proposed Affordable Housing Being Considered in the Floodplain, and Possibly Floodway

721 N. Main Floodway/plain,  Site outlined in Red, floodplain in green, floodway in blue (Current City Map, ACWG annotation, Click for larger) 


*
Update: Evan Pratt (WRC) has recently indicated that the proposed floodplain  near 
721 N. Main may be much smaller after the installation of the opening in the 
Rail Road Berm as shown here in map presented by city consultants floodplain 
model analysis. This was presented at a meeting the ACWG attended but did not 
include in this agenda item. (Click for Larger)*

415 West Washington Floodway/plain (Current City Map, ACWG annotation, Click for larger)

216 William St. Almost all Floodway; Floodway/plain (Current City Map, ACWG annotation, Click for larger)

 As has been discussed in previous meetings on the 415 site, it is virtually all floodplain and about 1/3 floodway. These FEMA floodmaps have been reported to be 'low balled' by FEMA in recent studies, and could be 3 times higher risk of flooding then is in the FEMA maps, see CityLab article, as discussed in the August ACWG posting. 216 William is also almost all floodway.

The 721 N. Main site is also a prime location for flood hazard mitigation park space on the planned Greenway/Tree Line Master Plan. This site is also virtually all floodplain and floodway.

Update: Evan Pratt has recently indicated to the ACWG that the proposed floodplain as shown above may be much smaller after the installation of the opening in the Rail Road Berm as shown in map presented by city consultants floodplain model analysis. This was presented at a meeting ACWG attended and on file but did not include in this agenda item. There were comments at the meeting as to the realistic representation of the model showing such a small floodplain given the very large existing floodplain as shown above. This berm opening is scheduled to be installed in the next year.*

Michigan in recent years has been getting regular 100 and 500 year rains, and last summer had a 1,000 year rain. The US has now had 10,000 year rain in 2018.

President Obama virtually forbids using any federal funds for building in the 100-year (1% chance) floodplain and no funds for critical structures inside the 500-year (.2% chance) floodplain.

"Increasing precipitation, especially heavy rain events, has increased the overall flood risk," according to the most recent National Climate Assessment.

The LOMR for the YMCA site across the street, just 1 1/2 years after construction showed a change of 33%  which obligated the 'Free Board' (1-foot free space below the building to the floodplain) the building was permitted with. Flooding at the YMCA site is a major issue for those working in it according to previous staff comments.

2013 Reuter Report commissioned by the city indicates it can be up to nearly 9-foot floodplain on this site, with Global Warming likely much higher.

216 West William is all floodway and is being discussed as a potential parking garage. Adding obstructions in the floodway is particularly dangerous not only for the owners of the cars who could be drowned trying to move the car (as has happened recently in N. Ohio) but for unsuspecting homeowners and business owners upstream of these projects who will now be much more likely to experience flood hazard. Blocking the floodway is very dangerous especially with the city's own estimate of increased rainfall with Global Warming up.

Cars and a parking garage in the floodway is not benign. This is a potential site of a park for the Greenway which would not exacerbate flooding like a structure.

The Greenway was championed by the ACWG back in the late 90's as a way to reduce flooding in and around the downtown along the Old West Side and along the railroad tracks. The Drain Office at that time supported this option to reduce flood hazard. The adopted Flood Hazard Mitigation Plan also supported a Greenway.

Let's preserve life and health, and property values and our tax base of our long-lived neighborhoods in the Old West Side and other areas who have faithfully paid taxes for over a 100 years in many cases. These neighborhoods should not be threatened with flooding with new structures in the floodplain and actual or, now likely floodways with current and expected Global Warming's effects.

Mayor Taylor said recently that Ann Arbor has personally experienced the effects of climate change, referencing a one-degree temperature increase during the last few years as well as a more than 45 percent increase in precipitation within the last 50 years.

As we asked before and FOIA'ed the DDA - we would like to see the FTCH Study:
The DDA's FTCH $1/4 to $1/2M budgeted consultants study of the watershed, just upstream of this site. should also be made available to the public. The ACWG FOIA'ed the study but was just given a copy of the raw data and model run data used to do models but the report was never offered. FTCH said the DDA had to agree to make it available which they never did.

Follow Adopted goals of the 2007 Flood Hazard Mitigation Plan:
We should follow the Long-Past Adopted goals of the 2007 Flood Hazard Mitigation Plan the ACWG contributed to: "Public acquisition and management of flood-prone properties. Permanent relocation of flood-prone structures to areas outside the floodplain. Establish clear and consistent government policy for public-owned land in the floodplain aimed at preventing public buildings in the floodplainCreate Allen['s] Creek Greenway in floodplain area. Regular data collection and modeling to update flood hazard maps Decrease Flood Insurance Rates by meeting FEMA required flood hazard mitigation recommendations." (bold by us)

City has Announced Public meetings to discuss these issues and other issues with regards to city properties and development.

Meeting Times and Place:

From 5 - 9 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 5 at the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority, 150 S. 5th Ave., Suite 301.
From noon to 4 p.m. Friday, Dec. 6 at the Ann Arbor District Library Downtown Branch, 343 S 5th Ave., third floor freespace.
From 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7 at the Ann Arbor YMCA, 400 W. Washington St., Michigan Room.
From noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 8 at The Cirq Bar, 210 S. First St.
From 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday, Dec. 9 at the Ann Arbor District Library Downtown Branch, 343 S 5th Ave., third floor freespace.


Mlive Article Ann Arbor could develop 2 affordable housing sites ASAP, analysis finds

CityLab: https://www.citylab.com/newsletter-editions/2019/07/maplab-hidden-risks-flood-maps/595126/

 

City Sustainability Meeting Discussion with Dr. Missy Stults - City of Ann Arbor Sustainability and Innovations Manager - She Does Not Support Building Homes in the Cities Floodplains Due to Climate Change Effects on Flood Hazard
 
A2Zero Sustainability Meeting, (ACWG; Click for Larger)

On this Nov. 11th I attended the A2Zero Sustainability Meeting and had asked Dr. Stults if she supported building homes in Ann Arbor's floodplains. She had a simple and categorical answer which was NO

City is now evaluating floodplain properties for Affordable Housing and building parking garages in the floodplain and floodway.

This when the city is telling residents we are facing unprecedented climate change in SEM and we need to prepare.



Proposed Agenda and Updates:

October 17, 2019


Danaher/Pall/Gelman 1,4-Dioxane Plume Additional Near-Surface Groundwater Tests Requested by CARD ACWG


Coalition for the Remediation of Dioxane (CARD) and Allen’s Creek Watershed Group (ACWG) have requested additional Near-Surface Groundwater (NSG) (some call shallow groundwater) tests upstream of West Park to try to understand the 22 ppb finding in recent West Park NSG tests. These additional tests will help locate where permanent NSG well monitoring should be located.

Additionally, we have again requested permanent NSG well monitoring suggesting Dan Bicknell's GEA Comments on the DEQ Shallow Groundwater Work Plan and his proposed plan is posted in the November 2016 Agenda. Dan had a very well and logical plan laid out for dealing with the initial investigation of the NSG issue which seems to be clearly a problem that needs addressing.

Evan Pratt (Washtenaw County Water Resources Commissioner) has agreed to ask EGLE for these additional NSG tests, which EGLE has said will help get these tests done sooner. He has also suggested he with the ACWG do some basic outdoor evaluations of the potential NSG areas to determine if basements water issues are related to poor drainage or other factors. Poor drainage could be a factor but clearly is not the only issue as, for example several homes were built in recent years in the area where the basement holes filled with water before the basement walls were installed.

NSG is now a near-term threat to the community and is an example of how Gelman/Danaher has not protected the community. West Park is now at 22 ppb in NSG yet we have no permanent wells to monitor this. This is just one of a myriad of examples of mismanagement of this threat to the community.

Comments from reliable sources indicate most at the recent government joint session discussing EPA Superfund were very reluctant to support another delay

At a public event after the Joint Session Mayor Taylor refused to comment on his position on the delay when asked by the ACWG. Other members in attendance we asked had no issues with stating their positions after the joint session.

CARD members and other members of the community made comment unanimously in support of an EPA Superfund petition.

Even with a consent judgment agreement we will be relying on EGLE and Gelman/Danaher to do a very weak job of protecting the community with containment, not cleanup. State law Part 201 is very weak and not protective in the long term.

Contact your elected officials and make your support of a Full Superfund Evaluation for this Massive Plume known to them.

With all the work the Coalition for the Remediation of Dioxane (CARD) group, city and county have done the EPA will have a head-start on this effort. The score of the partial Superfund Evaluation of this site was very high for Superfund Listing with a minimal evaluation.

The Ann Arbor TownshipScio TownshipWashtenaw County Board of CommissionsSierra Club Huron Valley Group (SCHGV), the CARD and ACWG all voted in supported a petition to the US EPA for Full Preliminary Assessment of the Gelman 1,4-Dioxane groundwater contamination.

Governor Whitmer would be much more approachable than our previous Republican Governor.

Links:

Oct. 2019 Coalition for the Remediation of Dioxane (CARD) Group Meeting Video - Taped by Roger Rayle, Chair CARD

Superfund or legal settlement? Officials discussing next steps for Gelman plume: MLive Ryan Stanton

Dioxane detected in Ann Arbor drinking water from Barton Pond for first time: Mlive Martin Slagter

Dioxane test results for Allen Creek raise more questions: MLive Ryan Stanton

Ongoing discharges may be to blame for dioxane in Ann Arbor drinking water: MLive Ryan Stanton

Environment, Great Lakes & Energy (formally MDEQ)-Gelman Project SiteWashtenaw County CARD SiteScio Residents for Safe Water (SRSW)

Lots of stores by Ryan Stanton in Ann Arbor News/MLive including this recent article 'EPA holding off on Superfund designation for Gelman dioxane plume'

Lots of details from Barbara Lucus at Dioxane.Org and WEMU News Program GreenRoom

See ACWG site pages EPA Superfund Option Details

Click here to view and/or sign in support of Superfund Designation


Recent Discussions of Development of Polluted DTE Site at Depot St and Broadway St In the FW FP - No Real Cleanup Proposed

DTE Site, Mostly Floodway in Blue (City of Ann Arbor GIS Web Site (Click for Larger View)

Coal Tar (highly toxic) found at the DTE Site and shown by DEQ/EGLE at river's edge at the site, the pollution at the river's edge subsequently cleaned up in recent years (WUOM) but is still leaching into the Huron River


Once buildings are placed on top of the contaminated soils cleanup will be greatly delayed and be much more costly.

At a recent meeting with the developers, where they were presenting a proposed site plan for the development, when asked we were told many of the buildings on this site will be basically floating on top of the contaminated soil that goes as far a 30 feet down. This is due to the issues of digging into the contamination and or putting foundation pilings into it. The new site plan is not official yet but if very similar to the previously presented site plan with some changes requested by city council and some added by the developer.

The developer stated that they are still seeking changes in the floodplain floodway map of the site through a Letter Of Map Revision FEMA (LoMR). This seems like a not a sure thing, and they say if not, plans will need to be changed. This site flooded in the 1968 flood with water covering most of the site.

The models presented for the LoMR: 

  • Do not accurately portray the railroad berm damming effect - they do not show it continuously dropping off to level grade at the AmTrak Station making the site more flood prone, according to city staff*
  • Do not include current data used by the city for 100-year (1% chance) rainfall amounts, according to city staff
  • Do not take into account the very poorly calibrated flood maps used for this site, according to city staff passed comments

They are also proposing a footbridge to cross the river to near the existing bridge at the cascades.

We are told that the site is leaching some contaminated Groundwater from the site but also has bio walls to prevent leaching. The city should have a high standard for Huron River contamination. Even if there is a barrier it still is leaching into our Huron River. The lack of continuous monitoring for leaching is also unacceptable. This site is the location of the old Huron River bed pre-1900 (see the image in previous ACWG entries). Old river beds are where groundwater generally likes to flow.

The coal gasification process produces a bi-product called coal tar. 

Coal tar is a mixture of volatile organic compounds such as benzene, and a class of compounds known as polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) which include compounds such as naphthalene and benzo(a)pyrene. These compounds are rated as possible and known carcinogens and are very dangerous to humans and other life forms. Some PAHs, Benzene and benzo(a)pyrene are Group 1 carcinogens.

They are planning a Brownfield partial cleanup with about $25M from taxpayers, and about $12M from the developer.
This will not be a full cleanup as they say this is not required in the current very weak MI Part 201 statute. Polluter Pay legislation has been introduced into the State congress.
DTE, a $26B company, should be doing a cleanup of this site as the Responsible Party Legal Owner, not taxpayers. Polluter Pay legislation has been introduced in Lansing this year.

If done right could be a nice park close to the city center. When it floods hose it off and go back to being a park, like many progressive (and non-progressive) cities are doing.

All of the other outcroppings in the Huron River near Ann Arbor and beyond are parks due to the flood hazard associated with them.

See previous entries for this proposal in the ACWG Updates and Agenda.


Links: DTE unveils plan for $75M riverfront redevelopment in Ann Arbor: MLive


Greenway Parks Provide Tremendous Benefits Including Increased Economic Vitality, Not Sidewalks Up Against Condo Developments

Detroit's Dequindre Cut Greenway, Another Huge Greenway Success (Click for Larger)

CityLab: "In recent years, study after study has found that living in neighborhoods with abundant green space is linked to positive health outcomes. These include better heart health, stronger cognitive development, and greater overall longevity. No wonder these areas are also linked to lower levels of Medicare spending."

"[Citys] should make concerted efforts to proactively address gentrification around new greenway parks and downtown adjacent parks. This can include policies and provisions for more affordable housing in neighborhoods surrounding these parks and efforts to create employment for less advantaged residents in the parks, or in developments that appear alongside them."

"Great parks and open spaces help to make great cities. They provide areas for recreation and burning off the stresses and strains of everyday urban life, and their tree canopy helps communities mitigate pollution. People feel more attached to their cities and their neighborhoods when they can access nature, and green space contributes to the physical beauty of their neighborhoods."

"Parks are a central piece of the civic infrastructure that helps bring people and families together in large, anonymous cities. What cities need to do is ensure that their initiatives for parks and green space are fully integrated with their broader strategies for more inclusive development for all neighborhoods and residents." (bold by us)

Trees are a critical part of a Greenway and provide outsized benefits to cost as previously noted by ACWG.

In addition, Ann Arbor Greenway could be a major effort to encourage alternative transportation, reducing parking pressures and costs, promote healthier living and connect communities with personal interactions.

Greenways are being adopted by many progressive cities with great success, even Detroit! Ann Arbor should learn from these examples and not dummy down the Greenway with condo developments and sidewalks becoming Ann Arbor's 'Greenway'.

Allen's Creek Greenway can also greatly reduce flood hazard in the West Side by removing some of the blockages of flow in the floodway which creates a larger floodplain and larger flood hazard for homes, as the adopted Ann Arbor City Flood Hazard Mitigation Plan clearly states. Flooding unsuspecting residents up and downstream because of poor-outdated floodplain management and much larger rain events due to Global Warming should not be the unacceptable status for our city residents.

Time to create a city-sponsored citizens taskforce/governance group to better manage the future Greenway development.


Links CityLabhttps://www.citylab.com/environment/2019/07/urban-tree-canopy-green-space-wellbeing-research/595060/

https://www.citylab.com/life/2019/10/urban-parks-gentrification-city-green-space-displacement/599722/


Ellicott City, Maryland Get Two 1,000 Year Rains (0.1% Chance) in About Two Years

Ellicott City Maryland 2018 Flood; CBS News (Click for Larger)

Ellicott City Maryland received two 1,000 year (0.1% chance) floods in about 2 years. The 2018 flood was an 8" rain in 2 hours. The city is seriously discussing taking out over 10, mostly, very valuable historic buildings to help reduce flood hazard to the community.

Global Warming is causing much more intense rains as warmer air holds more water and intense fronts drop more rain on communities.

Communities, and Ann Arbor, should not ignore the clear and present danger of changes in rain events due to Global Warming effects. 1,000-year rains have happened in Michigan in 2018 and more are likely to come. 10,000-year rains are happening now in the US.


Links: NPR All Things Consideredhttps://www.npr.org/2019/10/08/768373866/how-climate-change-and-flash-flooding-is-affecting-communities-across-the-countr




Proposed Agenda and Updates:

September 19, 2019


Danaher/Pall/Gelman 1,4-Dioxane Plume EPA Superfund Joint Session September 12

City, County and Townships had a planned followup Joint Session on September 12 to discuss EPA Superfund for Gelman Plume.


Update: The Joint Session outcome was to wait till December 2019 to again try to come to an agreement on EPA Superfund Petition. The comment from some at the discussion is it is strongly supporting Superfund but they will try one more time to get near or total unanimous vote of support.*

Tape of the meeting posted on CTN's web page: Joint Session on Gelman EPA Superfund*   Link: https://ctnvideo.a2gov.org/CablecastPublicSite/show/1454?channel=1

This joint session should have resulted in an affirmative vote for Full Superfund Evaluation of the Gelman Plume but resulted in another delay till December where another Joint Session will occur. This is another win for Gelman/Danaher.

I commented at the meeting that the Near-Surface Groundwater (NSG) is now a near-term threat to the community and is an example of how Gelman/Danaher has not protected the community. West Park is now at 22 ppb in NSG yet we have no permanent wells to monitor this. This is just one of a myriad of examples of mismanagement of this threat to the community.

Comments from reliable sources indicate most at the joint session were very reluctant to support another delay

At a public event after the Joint Session Mayor Taylor refused to comment on his position on the delay when asked by the ACWG. Other members in attendance we asked had no issues with stating their positions after the joint session.

CARD members and other members of the community made comment unanimously in support of an EPA Superfund petition.

Even with a consent judgment agreement we will be relying on EGLE and Gelman/Danaher to do a very weak job of protecting the community with containment, not cleanup. State law Part 201 is very weak and not protective in the long term.

Contact your elected officials and make your support of a Full Superfund Evaluation for this Massive Plume known to them.

With all the work the Coalition for the Remediation of Dioxane (CARD) group, city and county have done the EPA will have a headstart on this effort. The score of the partial Superfund Evaluation was very high for Superfund Listing with a minimal evaluation.

The Ann Arbor TownshipScio TownshipWashtenaw County Board of CommissionsSierra Club Huron Valley Group (SCHGV), the Coalition for the Remediation of Dioxane (CARD) and Allen’s Creek Watershed Group (ACWG) all voted in supported a petition to the US EPA for Full Preliminary Assessment of the Gelman 1,4-Dioxane groundwater contamination.

Governor Whitmer would be much more approachable than our previous Republican Governor.

  • Still no comment on a real plan of action on the NSG exposure potential and permanent well monitoring, not simply more minimal tests. Dan Bicknell's GEA Comments on the DEQ Shallow Groundwater Work Plan and his proposed plan is posted in the November 2016 Agenda. Dan had a very well and logical plan laid out for dealing with the initial investigation of the NSG issue which seems to be clearly a problem that needs addressing.
  • The ACWG and CARD Groups has asked for permanent monitoring of NSG wells on the near west side of the city with no indication of action on this.

Links:

Joint Session on Gelman EPA Superfundhttps://ctnvideo.a2gov.org/CablecastPublicSite/show/1454?channel=1

Sept 2019 Coalition for the Remediation of Dioxane (CARD) Group Meeting Video - Taped by Roger Rayle, Chair CARD

Superfund or legal settlement? Officials discussing next steps for Gelman plume: MLive Ryan Stanton

Dioxane detected in Ann Arbor drinking water from Barton Pond for first time: Mlive Martin Slagter

Dioxane test results for Allen Creek raise more questions: MLive Ryan Stanton

Ongoing discharges may be to blame for dioxane in Ann Arbor drinking water: MLive Ryan Stanton

Environment, Great Lakes & Energy (formally MDEQ)-Gelman Project SiteWashtenaw County CARD SiteScio Residents for Safe Water (SRSW)

Lots of stores by Ryan Stanton in Ann Arbor News/MLive including this recent article 'EPA holding off on Superfund designation for Gelman dioxane plume'

Lots of details from Barbara Lucus at Dioxane.Org and WEMU News Program GreenRoom

See ACWG site pages EPA Superfund Option Details

Click here to view and/or sign in support of Superfund Designation


Smith Group With City to Conduct Public Outreach on Options for City-Owned Lots; Flood Hazard Looms Large

                    

415 West Washington, 721 N. Main City-Owned Lots largely in the floodplain floodway (City of Ann Arbor Maps, ACWG Annotations, Click for larger image)

SmithGroup with City staff will be conducting public outreach and potential use of city-owned lots. Time, dates and locations TBD.

As has been discussed in previous meetings on the 415 site, it is virtually all floodplain and about 1/3 floodway. These FEMA floodmaps have been reported to be 'low balled' by FEMA in recent studies, and could be 3 times higher risk of flooding then is in the FEMA maps, see CityLab article, as discussed in the August ACWG posting.

With the Federally Protected Species Chimney Swifts birds in the chimney on site, this could be another amenity to the Greenway and park space. Dusk in the warmer months at this chimney is a real treat to see, a 'tornado' of Swifts entering the chimney from above.

The LOMR for the YMCA site across the street, just 1 1/2 years after construction showed a change of 33%  which obligated the 'Free Board' (1-foot free space below the building to the floodplain) the building was permitted with. Flooding at the YMCA site is a major issue for those working in it according to previous staff comments.

2013 Reuter Report commissioned by the city indicates it can be up to nearly 9-foot floodplain on this site, with Global Warming likely much higher.

The 721 N. Main site is also a prime location for flood hazard mitigation park space on the planned Greenway/Tree Line Master Plan. This site is also virtually all floodplain and floodway.
President Obama virtually forbid using any federal funds for building in the 100-year (1% chance) floodplain.

"Increasing precipitation, especially heavy rain events, has increased the overall flood risk," according to the most recent National Climate Assessment.

Greenway and park location is the best and most viable use of this site. Reduce upstream flooding, greatly increase tax base for the area, provide alternative transportation and create a green space close to city center that connects to the city center, and protect existing homes and businesses from flooding with Global Warming threats the city has purported to care about.

Some at city hall and some local NGO's propose affordable housing in the floodplain with seeming little regard for the welfare of those who will live there and may not even know they are in harm's way and little regard to all the existing homes upstream that will now have flood hazard due to blocked flows of the floodwaters.

Follow Adopted goals of the 2007 Flood Hazard Mitigation Plan:

We should follow the Long-Past Adopted goals of the 2007 Flood Hazard Mitigation Plan the ACWG contributed to: "Public acquisition and management of flood prone properties. Permanent relocation of flood prone structures to areas outside the floodplain. Establish clear and consistent government policy for public owned land in the floodplain aimed at preventing public buildings in the floodplainCreate Allen['s] Creek Greenway in floodplain area. Regular data collection and modeling to update flood hazard maps Decrease Flood Insurance Rates by meeting FEMA required flood hazard mitigation recommendations." (bold by us)

Links: 

Flood Hazard Mitigation Plan 2007

Smith Group Contract AwardedMLive Article, Ryan Stanton;

CityLab: https://www.citylab.com/newsletter-editions/2019/07/maplab-hidden-risks-flood-maps/595126/


Living Near Trees, Not Just Green Space, Improves Well-being: CityLab July 2019

Seattle Downtown Freeway Park (City of Seattle, Click for Larger)

Take back the land from the freeway (and a very tranquil park as shown in videos, road inaudible):

PBS Video of Freeway Park*

(https://www.pbssocal.org/programs/10-changed-america/10-changed-america-freeway-park-10-parks-changed-america/)

CityLab: "In recent years, study after study has found that living in neighborhoods with abundant green space is linked to positive health outcomes. These include better heart health, stronger cognitive development, and greater overall longevity. No wonder these areas are also linked to lower levels of Medicare spending.

But when it comes to promoting human health, not all green spaces are created equal. That’s the conclusion of new Australian research, which finds higher levels of wellness in areas marked by one particular manifestation of the natural world: leafy trees." This study with almost 50,000 subjects. (bold by us)

U of M has done similar work with others some years ago in Ann Arbor, as discussed in the past by the ACWG. They found taking a walk in the woods seemed to be as effective as anti-depressant drugs, without the nasty side effects, for mood elevation. This would be a very cost-effective way to improve the community in many ways.

Long past time to follow the GreenBelt mandate and purchase green space inside the city as passed by the voters of Ann Arbor for the Greenway/Tree Line and other Green Park Spaces in 'our fine city'. 

Stop promoting the misconception that the Greenbelt funds can not be used in the city of Ann Arbor.

Link CityLabhttps://www.citylab.com/environment/2019/07/urban-tree-canopy-green-space-wellbeing-research/595060/


The Parks that Protect Cities from Flooding: CBS News 9/17/19

CBS News (Clk for larger image)

"Scientists say climate change is increasing the intensity and frequency of heavy rain storms. Coastal cities are doing their best to prepare for the threat of severe flooding from storms and potential rises in sea level, but two communities are trying something new: public parks that are also storm resistant." (bold by us)

Parks in Ann Arbor especially in the Greenway/Tree Line in the Allen's Creek floodway and floodplain can serve a similar service in greatly reducing flood hazard and pollution loading to our waterways including the Huron River, create a downtown much need green space amenity and increase economic activity.

The U of M needs to partner with the city, with many U of M properties in the floodway and floodplain, in making the U of M and Ann Arbor much more sustainable and much less flood-prone neighborhoods in, around and downstream of the campus.

Link CBS News: https://www.cbsnews.com/video/the-storm-resistant-parks-that-fight-the-impacts-of-climate-change/#x





August 2019; No Meeting this Month Due to Vacation and Travel Schedules

Watershed Issues of Interest and Updates:


Danaher/Pall/Gelman 1,4-Dioxane Plume EPA Superfund Joint Session September 12

Recent data show some movement outside the PZ at low levels with the monitoring of existing drinking water wells. Gelman has some monitoring wells but not enough.

Judge Shelton blocked more monitoring wells installation in past years, as requested by MDEQ (now EGLE), stating the new wells were not needed and would be too costly for Gelman. This is Gelman's plume they need to do monitoring with their own wells not use homeowner's wells.

City, County and Townships plan a followup Joint Session on September 12 to discuss EPA Superfund for Gelman Plume. Time and location TBA.

This joint session could result in an affirmative vote for Full Superfund Evaluation of the Gelman Plume. 

Contact your elected officials and make your support of a Full Superfund Evaluation for this Massive Plume known to them.

With all the work the Coalition for the Remediation of Dioxane (CARD) group, city and county has done the EPA will have a head-start on this effort. The score of the partial Superfund Evaluation was very high for Superfund Listing with a minimal evaluation.

Concern was again discussed at the recent Coalition for the Remediation of Dioxane (CARD) Group meeting that the EGLE - Environment, Great Lakes & Energy regarding no current Near-Surface Groundwater (NSG) monitoring. The need for permanent wells was again commented on by ACWG and CARD members.

I and other CARD members discussed and did go out last week and check for seeps and elevations of seeps on the westside of the city. During this seep tour it was noted large flows of water were in the Allen's Creek pipe in South West West Park entrance with very dry conditions, seeming to indicate high groundwater flows in the pipe as has been described previously. Seeps are said to be in many areas of the city on the west side including higher elevations. The elevations of found seeps will help determine risk to homeowners through potential contaminated water infiltrating into the basement and evaporating with 1,4 Dioxane into the air of a confined basement space. Many westside homes have wet basements, some from groundwater infiltration. See the previous neighbor survey of the Glendale Virginia St. areas in past agenda items. Two homes recently built where this map covers had the basement areas fill with water less than a week after being dug.

The Ann Arbor TownshipScio TownshipWashtenaw County Board of CommissionsSierra Club Huron ValleyGroup (SCHGV), the Coalition for the Remediation of Dioxane (CARD) and Allen’s Creek Watershed Group (ACWG) all voted in supported a petition to the US EPA for Full Preliminary Assessment of the Gelman 1,4-Dioxane groundwater contamination.

Governor Whitmer would be much more approachable than our previous Republican Governor.

Still no comment on a real plan of action on the NSG exposure potential and permanent well monitoring, not simply more minimal tests. Dan Bicknell's GEA Comments on the DEQ Shallow Groundwater Work Plan and his proposed plan is posted in the November 2016 Agenda. Dan had a very well and logical plan laid out for dealing with the initial investigation of the NSG issue which seems to be clearly a problem that needs addressing.

The ACWG and CARD Groups has asked for permanent monitoring of NSG wells on the near west side of the city with no indication of action on this.

Links:

Aug 6, 2019 Coalition for the Remediation of Dioxane (CARD) Group Meeting Video - Taped by Roger Rayle, Chair CARD

Ann Arbor is at a pivotal point with Gelman dioxane plume MLive Ryan Stanton

Dioxane detected in Ann Arbor drinking water from Barton Pond for first time: Mlive Martin Slagter

Dioxane test results for Allen Creek raise more questions: MLive Ryan Stanton

Ongoing discharges may be to blame for dioxane in Ann Arbor drinking water: MLive Ryan Stanton

Environment, Great Lakes & Energy (formally MDEQ)-Gelman Project SiteWashtenaw County CARD SiteScio Residents for Safe Water (SRSW)

Lots of stores by Ryan Stanton in Ann Arbor News/MLive including this recent article 'EPA holding off on Superfund designation for Gelman dioxane plume'

Lots of details from Barbara Lucus at Dioxane.Org and WEMU News Program GreenRoom

See ACWG site pages EPA Superfund Option Details

Click here to view and/or sign in support of Superfund Designation


DTE Energy Top 10 Worst Water Polluters in USA; Recent Discussions of Development of Polluted DTE Site at Depot St and Broadway St In the FW FP - No Real Cleanup Proposed'

DTE Site, Mostly Floodway (City of Ann Arbor GIS Web Site; Click for Larger Image) 

Coal Tar (highly toxic) found at the DTE Site and shown by DEQ at river's edge at the site,   the pollution at the river's edge subsequently 

cleaned up in recent years (WUOM) but is still leaching into the Huron River

DTE Energy rated top 10 worst Water Polluter in the USA.

'Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst have published three lists detailing the 100 worst air, water and greenhouse gas polluters in the country.

The lists — the Toxic 100 Air Polluters IndexToxic 100 Water Polluters Index and Greenhouse 100 Index — rank industrial polluters based on complex “right-to-know” data released annually by the federal Environmental Protection Agency. The set of researchers at the university’s Political Economy Research Institute, or PERI, have been producing the first two lists for about 15 years.' - Sierra Club MI Leaders Forum EMail

DTE Energy is rated in this list as a one of the top 10 worst Water Polluter in the USA.

Coal Tar from the DTE Broadway St site is leaching into the Huron River and the groundwater is said to be contaminated. This site is the site of old Huron River Riverbed pre early 1900's.

The proposed building in and near contaminated soil will be dangerous and make future cleanup by responsible leaders trying to protect the environment nearly impossible. This contamination are up to 30 feet down on the site. Special construction techniques will need to be used to build on top of the contaminated soils according to comments from the developer and city staff at public meetings.

Flood hazard is getting worse, not better with Global Warming. This site is in the site of the old Huron River riverbed, just downstream of two dams both of which were breached in the 1968 100-year (1% chance) flood, that had 15 feet of water flowing over this site. The 1968 flood is more like a 50 year (2% chance) flood of today by most accounts. See recent reports below.

They are planning a Brownfield partial cleanup with about $25M from taxpayers, and about $12M from the developer.

This will not be a full cleanup as they say this is not required in the current very weak MI Part 201 statute.

DTE, a $26B company, should be doing a cleanup of this site as the Responsible Party Legal Owner, not taxpayers. Polluter Pay legislation has been introduced in Lansing this year.

If done right could be a nice park close to the city center. When it floods hose it off and go back to being a park, like many progressive (and non-progressive) cities are doing.

All of the other outcroppings in the Huron River near Ann Arbor and beyond are parks due to the flood hazard associated with them.

Link to article:  https://www.gazettenet.com/UMass-researchers-list-country-s-top-water-air-greenhouse-gas-polluters-27421770


12" Rain Hits Manistee County July 20th, with Major Flooding; New Normal for Michigan


KAPX Doppler Radar Estimated Rainfall Amounts
July 20th, 2019; Weather.gov
 (Click for larger image)

Manistee County July 20th, 12" Totals in 24 hrs

US 31 - Manistee, MI; Edward Bradford Weather.Gov

'Heavy rain accompanied the thunderstorms with the hardest-hit areas across portions of Manistee, Mason, and Lake counties in northwest lower Michigan on July 20, 2019.' : NWS

12" rain in 24 hours caused flooding and severe erosion in the area. These types of historic rains are the new normal for Michigan and other parts of the nation, the 1,000-year June 2018 rain in the MI UP and 10,000-year April 2016 “Tax Day” rain in Houston for example.


CityLab - MapLab: The Hidden Risks in U.S. Flood Maps; July 31, 2019


Several Buildings Recently Approved, and Built or Being Built, 

in the Floodplain Near W Kingsley St and N First St on the City Westside 

(City of Ann Arbor GIS; Click for Larger Image)

While the city of Ann Arbor approves more homes in and near the floodplain and near the floodway FEMA is accused of "low balling" the federal Floodplain Maps used by communities like Ann Arbor.

During a July 4th, 2019 1.5" rainfall over in 1/2 hour, as described in the previous ACWG agenda, the streets leading to these sites shown above were impassable and had major flooding with manhole covers flying off.

Some of these new homeowners will be parking their cars in the floodway in the floodplain on top of a massive Allen's Creek storm drain.

“[The current FEMA flood maps] leaves out critical risk factors, including how climate change has changed storm patterns and sea-level rise, or where new development has covered up permeable surfaces with pavement and concrete.

That has led numerous researchers to conclude that FEMA underestimates flood risk, by a long shot. According to a study from 2018, 41 million Americans are at risk of experiencing a 100-year flood, nearly triple FEMA’s official count.” (bold by us): CityLab.

Link CityLab
https://www.citylab.com/newsletter-editions/2019/07/maplab-hidden-risks-flood-maps/595126/



Proposed Agenda and Updates:

July 18, 2019



Danaher/Pall/Gelman 1,4-Dioxane Plume Monitoring Using Residential Wells


Concern discussed at the recent Coalition for the Remediation of Dioxane (CARD) Group meeting that the EGLE - Environment, Great Lakes & Energy is using existing drinking water wells as sentinels for the Plume migration into new areas outside the Prohibition Zone (PZ). Monitoring Wells need to be installed to track the Plume, not homeowner's wells.

Recent data show some movement outside the PZ at low levels with the monitoring of existing drinking water wells. Gelman has some monitoring wells but not enough.

Judge Shelton blocked more monitoring wells installation in past years as requested by MDEQ, now EGLE, stating the new wells were not needed and would be too costly for Gelman. This is Gelman's plume they need to do monitoring with their own wells not use homeowner's wells.

No change on the suspension of an Action Plan for Well 103s with high readings at the edge of the PZ. At the March CARD Meeting the DEQ presented a letter written on March 1, '19 where Dana Nessel wrote to Gelman (copy available) indicating that while there are Confidential Negotiations with plaintiffs on the Consent Judgment on the Gelman Plume management the recent two 85 ppb readings at Monitoring Well 103s at Glendale and Abbott do not trigger the past agreement that an MDEQ/Gelman Action Plan should be undertaken to deal with the possibility that outside the Prohibition Zone 85 ppb may occur in a short time which was prohibited. Well 103 is near the edge of the PZ.


The Ann Arbor TownshipScio TownshipWashtenaw County Board of CommissionsSierra Club Huron Valley Group (SCHGV), the Coalition for the Remediation of Dioxane (CARD) and Allen’s Creek Watershed Group (ACWG) all voted in supported a petition to the US EPA for Full Preliminary Assessment of the Gelman 1,4-Dioxane groundwater contamination.

Governor Whitmer would be much more approachable than our previous Republican Governor.

  • Still no comment on a real plan of action on the NSG exposure potential and permanent well monitoring, not simply more minimal tests. Dan Bicknell's GEA Comments on the DEQ Shallow Groundwater Work Plan and his proposed plan is posted in the November 2016 Agenda. Dan had a very well and logical plan laid out for dealing with the initial investigation of the NSG issue which seems to be clearly a problem that needs addressing.
  • The ACWG and CARD Groups has asked for permanent monitoring of NSG wells on the near west side of the city with no indication of action on this.

Links:

July 2, 2019 Coalition for the Remediation of Dioxane (CARD) Group Meeting Video - Taped by Roger Rayle, Chair CARD

Ann Arbor is at a pivotal point with Gelman dioxane plume MLive Ryan Stanton

Dioxane detected in Ann Arbor drinking water from Barton Pond for first time: Mlive Martin Slagter

Dioxane test results for Allen Creek raise more questions: MLive Ryan Stanton

Ongoing discharges may be to blame for dioxane in Ann Arbor drinking water: MLive Ryan Stanton

Environment, Great Lakes & Energy (formally MDEQ)-Gelman Project SiteWashtenaw County CARD SiteScio Residents for Safe Water (SRSW)

Lots of stores by Ryan Stanton in Ann Arbor News/MLive including this recent article 'EPA holding off on Superfund designation for Gelman dioxane plume'

Lots of details from Barbara Lucus at Dioxane.Org and WEMU News Program GreenRoom

See ACWG site pages EPA Superfund Option Details

Click here to view and/or sign in support of Superfund Designation


Recent Discussions of Development of Polluted DTE Site at Depot St and Broadway St In the FW FP - No Real Cleanup Proposed


DTE Site, Mostly Floodway in Blue (City of Ann Arbor GIS Web Site; Click for Larger View)

Coal Tar (highly toxic) found at the DTE Site and shown by DEQ at river's edge at the site, 
the pollution at the river's edge subsequently cleaned up in recent years (WUOM)
but is still leaching into the Huron River

At public meeting for this project I attended, but ACWG was not invited to for some reason, the developer described the materials buried on site as 'Inert', which I challenged. Coal Tar is not Inert as we wrote last month and commented on earlier this month before Council's Meeting with Public Hearing for this project.

“Inert waste is waste which is neither chemically nor biologically reactive and will not decompose. Examples of this are sand and concrete. This has particular relevance to landfills as inert waste typically requires lower disposal fees than biodegradable waste or hazardous waste.”

This Coal Tar is leaching into the Huron River and the goundwater is said to be contaminated. This site is the site of old Huron River Riverbed pre early 1900's.

At a CARD meeting years ago discussion of the Ann Arbor City Apartments at Washington and First came up regarding the below-ground parking 2 stories below grade. The ACWG and others asked about potential groundwater contamination with 1,4 Dioxane issues with this city-owned parking garage below in the path of the plume, deep into the water table. Soon thereafter we learned the city did a stop-work order to make changes the soon to be started building, to raise the building a full 2 stories up to avoid this issue. The city explicit requirement not to have parking on the street level was quickly thrown out the window. At the DTE site we know we have major pollution below the surface and yet feel OK with building residential above it very close to the dangerous pollution.

Flood hazard is getting worse, not better with Global Warming, see citations below. This site is in the site of the old Huron River riverbed, just downstream of two dams both of which were breached in the 1968 100-year (1% chance) flood, that had 15 feet of water flowing over this site. The 1968 flood is more like a 50 year (2% chance) flood of today by most accounts.

 

They are planning a Brownfield partial cleanup with about $25M from taxpayers, and about $12M from the developer.
This will not be a full cleanup as they say this is not required in the current very weak MI Part 201 statute.
DTE, a $26B company, should be doing a cleanup of this site as the Responsible Party Legal Owner, not taxpayers. Polluter Pay legislation has been introduced in Lansing this year.

If done right could be a nice park close to the city center. When it floods hose it off and go back to being a park, like many progressive (and non-progressive) cities are doing.

All of the other outcroppings in the Huron River near Ann Arbor and beyond are parks due to the flood hazard associated with them.


Climate Change Fuels Wetter Storms 


Manholes blown off in Ann Arbor July 4th in a Just a 1.5" Rain Event, This one quickly replacing by a nearby resident as floodwater recedes 
to avoid cars falling into it on Murry Ave. Just one example of why not to drive down flooded streets. See more below.
(ACWG; Click for Larger View)


Ann Arbor 100 year, 1% chance, storm is about 4.75 inches of rain in 24 hours. In the March 15, 2012 Dexter Tornado Rain Event Lawton neighborhood got 5-6 inches according to NexRad estimate, and ACWG spotter rain data, in about 2 hours.

* Update: Evan Pratt (Washtenaw County Water Resources Commissioner) pass along the latest 100 year, 1% chance, NOAA estimate for Ann Arbor is 5.11 inches in 24 hours.

Larger and heavier rains are happening now due to Global Warming's effects.

Climate Change Fuels Wetter Storms

NPR Report July 13 - https://www.npr.org/2019/07/13/741324506/climate-change-fuels-wetter-storms-storms-like-barry

study published last year found that hurricanes including Katrina, Irma and Maria are dumping about 5 to 10% more rain than they would have if global warming wasn't happening.

"Increasing precipitation, especially heavy rain events, has increased the overall flood risk,"according to the most recent National Climate Assessment.

There is an "uptick in the number of extreme rain events in many parts of the U.S. as the earth gets hotter." (Bold by us)



Even as Floods Worsen, Midwest Towns Plan New Riverfront Development

Association of State Floodplain Managers 2007 (ASFPM)
(Click for larger image) 
"BUILDING IN THE FLOODPLAIN IS LIKE PITCHING YOUR TENT
ON A HIGHWAY WHEN THERE ARE NO CARS COMING"!
ASFPM: www.floods.org  



'This year’s historic floods throughout the Midwest caused billions of dollars in damages; washed out highways, bridges and dozens of levees; swamped crop lands and cities; sent residents fleeing for their lives; and left a death toll in several states.

“It’s lunacy,” said David Stokes, executive director of the Great Rivers Habitat Alliance. “They’re continuing to build in places where Mother Nature intended water to go. And there’s no end to it.”

“We’re dealing with a problem that doesn’t seem to want to go away,” said Gerald E. Galloway, a retired brigadier general in the Army Corps of Engineers and now a professor of engineering at the University of Maryland.

“What was yesterday’s high water is now much higher,” said Galloway, lead author of the federal report.

What’s more, the National Flood Insurance Program has not kept up with development and climate change, experts say, with outdated mapping of flood-prone areas and slow-to-come buyout payments for homeowners who want to move.

“Our building codes and zoning need to keep pace and account for growing risk,” said Carolyn Kousky, director of the Wharton Risk Management and Decision Processes Center at the University of Pennsylvania.' (Bold by us)


In just a 1.5" rain in 30 minutes on this July 4th a quick perusal of the westside showed several streets, some with new developments in the floodplain, had flood waters blowing off manhole covers and flooding streets and cars, as shown below.

Cars driving thru deep floodwater with water geysering out of a 
blown manhole onW Kingsley St. (ACWG; Click for Larger View)


Kingsley Manhole Geysering Midstorm* (ACWG; Click for Larger View)

An unattended car being flooded on N Ashley in mid-storm.

(ACWG; Click for Larger View)



Proposed Agenda and Updates:

June 20, 2019


Danaher/Pall/Gelman 1,4-Dioxane Plume EPA Superfund Discussions, Local Government Official Have 3 Months to Decide to Ask Governor Whitmer to Ask EPA for Superfund Full Evaluation and Assistance, June 6, 2019.


Joint Session Gelman Superfund Discussion (Ryan Stanton | The Ann Arbor News)
Click photo to view MLive Video

A joint session of the Ann Arbor City Council, Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners, and Scio and Ann Arbor township boards met to discuss EPA Superfund Support. Members of the Coalition for the Remediation of Dioxane (CARD) Group attended the meeting with U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell, County Health Dept., EGLE (former MDEQ), other elected officials and residents. About 150 people attended according to MLive's Ryan Stanton.

CTN recorded the meeting and posted on their web site.

Ryan Stanton with MLive has a report and video of part of the meeting.

Here is also a video of the June 4th CARD meeting by Roger Rayle on Youtube - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IY6IW-ArMf8https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HWYcdNVt_EU

EPA has indicated they will pull away from the Gelman monitoring unless they get a message from Governer Whitmer that she is willing to let EPA continue to a Full Evaluation and potential Superfund.

The Joint Session of city, county and Scio Twp leaders agreed to try and get some significant motion from Gelman until September 12 this year, the next Joint Meeting. If Gelman is not forthcoming they will likely petition the Governor to ask EPA for a full Superfund Evaluation.

City of Ann Arbor City Council voted to work with Interveners:

RESOLVED, That the City Council directs the City Administrator, by July 1, 2019, to take all reasonable steps to convene a meeting with the other State-Lawsuit interveners to explore requesting EPA’s active involvement with the Gelman site and its listing as a “Superfund” site under CERCLA by, among other things, soliciting a concurrence letter from the Governor;

The Ann Arbor TownshipScio TownshipWashtenaw County Board of CommissionsSierra Club Huron Valley Group (SCHGV), the Coalition for the Remediation of Dioxane (CARD) and Allen’s Creek Watershed Group (ACWG) all voted in support of a petition to the US EPA for Full Preliminary Assessment of the Gelman 1,4-Dioxane groundwater contamination.

Governor Whitmer would be much more approachable than our previous Republican Governor.

  • Still no comment on a real plan of action on the NSG exposure potential and permanent well monitoring, not simply more minimal tests. Dan Bicknell's GEA Comments on the DEQ Shallow Groundwater Work Plan and his proposed plan is posted in the November 2016 Agenda. Dan had a very well and logical plan laid out for dealing with the initial investigation of the NSG issue which seems to be clearly a problem that needs addressing.
  • The ACWG and CARD Groups has asked for permanent monitoring of NSG wells on the near west side of the city with no indication of action on this.

Links:

Ann Arbor is at a pivotal point with Gelman dioxane plume MLive Ryan Stanton

Dioxane detected in Ann Arbor drinking water from Barton Pond for first time: Mlive Martin Slagter

Dioxane test results for Allen Creek raise more questions: MLive Ryan Stanton

Ongoing discharges may be to blame for dioxane in Ann Arbor drinking water: MLive Ryan Stanton

Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ)-Gelman Project SiteWashtenaw County CARD SiteScio Residents for Safe Water (SRSW)

Lots of stores by Ryan Stanton in Ann Arbor News/MLive including this recent article 'EPA holding off on Superfund designation for Gelman dioxane plume'

Lots of details from Barbara Lucus at Dioxane.Org and WEMU News Program GreenRoom

See ACWG site pages EPA Superfund Option Details

Click here to view and/or sign in support of Superfund Designation


Recent Discussions of Development of Polluted DTE Site at Depot St and Broadway St In the FW FP - No Real Cleanup Proposed

 DTE Site, Mostly Floodway (City of Ann Arbor GIS Web Site, Click for Larger Image)

At Coal Tar (highly toxic) found at the DTE Site and shown by DEQ at river's edge at the site, 
the pollution at the river's edge subsequently cleaned up in recent years (WUOM)
but is still leaching into the river

We are told that the site is leaching some contaminated Groundwater from the site but also has bio walls to prevent leaching. The city should have a high standard for Huron River contamination. Even if there is a barrier it still is leaching into our Huron River. The lack of continuous monitoring for leaching is also unacceptable. This site is the location of the old Huron River bed pre-1900 (see the image in previous ACWG entries). Old river beds are where groundwater generally likes to flow.

Also, my understanding from staff is the developer is using old rain data and inaccurate GIS information for its flood modeling.
  • The old rain data is no longer used by the city. The new data used by the city is much higher rainfall potential and flood potential than is being used by the developer.
  • The berm is not accurately delineated as it shows the berm level throughout the area when in fact is drops precipitously to the east to almost nothing at the Amtrak station on Depot St. This will have water spill over the berm from Depot in a major rain event, 100 year 1% chance. or maybe less given the larger rains we are getting with Global Warming. The 1968 flood 100-year rain is more like a 50 or less year rain today I am told by knowledgeable local sources.
The 1968 flood breached all the dams and broke some of them. All the dams needed major work. Argo was very close to being lost due to breaches which were undermining the base of the dam. This DTE site was underwater in the flood.

In a major flood 15' feet of water will careen across this site with potentially little warning. The buildings may be built to handle this but who will warn the hotel guest or condo owners or those doing an AirB&B in the condos?

The dams do not need to be destroyed for major flooding downstream including this site, as was the case for the 1968 flood where Argo was breached but not destroyed.

In a major flood the pollution on site will be swept into our Huron River and into Lake Erie.

Putting residential next to or on top of Coal Tar, as far as 30' down in the soil, would be dangerous. Petoskey had to evacuate condos recently due to vapor intrusion (VI) into condos built on top of a pollution site with volatile organics, what is in Coal Tar. The CARD Group was instrumental in getting MDEQ now EGLE to include VI in its environmental standards recently, which 1,4 Dioxane is now classified. The CARD Group forced MDEQ to evaluate 1,4 Dioxane VI into homes which is a concern with the compound found at and near the surface on the west side of town.

The coal gasification process produces a bi-product called coal tar. Coal tar is a mixture of volatile organic compounds such as benzene, and a class of compounds known as polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) which include compounds such as naphthalene and benzo(a)pyrene. These compounds are rated as possible and known carcinogens and are very dangerous to humans and other life forms. Some PAHs, Benzene and benzo(a)pyrene are a Group 1 carcinogens.

They are planning a Brownfield partial cleanup with about $25M from taxpayers, and about $12M from the developerThis will be a very marginal cleanup as they say this is all that is required with the very weak MI Part 201 statute.

DTE is a $26B company and should be doing a cleanup of this site as the Responsible Party Legal Owner, not taxpayers. Polluter Pay legislation has been introduced in Lansing this year.*

If done right could be a nice park close to the city center. When it floods hose it off and go back to being a park like many progressive (and non-progressive) cities are doing.

All of the other outcroppings in the Huron River near Ann Arbor and beyond are parks due to the flood hazard associated with them.


Wettest 12 Months in U.S. History—Again; and Wettest January-to-May Period in U.S. History - Floodplain Overlay Zoning Proposal Revisit Needed


NOAA/NCEI (Click for Larger Image)

Weather Underground reports June 6, 2019:

"Propelled by a two-week siege of widespread severe weather and heavy rain in late May, the contiguous U.S. has once again broken its record for the wettest year-long span in data going back to 1895. According to the monthly U.S. climate summary released Thursday from the NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information,..."

"The year to date also ranks as the wettest January-to-May period in U.S. history." (bold by us)

Michigan's climate: Models project 30% increase in rain and snow, plus rising temps. 

  • "In general, what we're seeing is the Midwest and the Northeast getting more precipitation than in the past, and more of that coming in larger events, particularly in the winter and spring," said Don Wuebbles, professor of atmospheric science at the University of Illinois.
  • “That's just pure, statistical analysis of the past data. If we look forward, we're expecting that trend to continue.” ' Free Press June 14, 2019 (bold by us)

Time to reconsider the Floodplain Overlay zoning proposal the U of M Ford School graduate students and Ann Arbor City Staff spent 2 years drafting, the ACWG help with and strongly supported, and previous city council declined to adopt in 2017, but commented they would reconsider at a later time. Placing new homes in dangerous locations is not the right thing our city should be involved in with the current state of knowledge on Globel Warming, unless of course you don't believe in Globel Warming and the clearly shown effects on our weather.


CARD, SRSW and ACWG Had a Table at the June 14, 2019 Ann Arbor Green Fair With an Informal Tally of Supporters for EPA Superfund
2019 City of Ann Arbor

  • The Table displayed a poster which fairgoers could vote for an EPA Superfund effort for the Gelman/Pall/Danaher 1,4-Dioxane contamination.
  • We had many visitors asking about the Gelman Plume and EPA Superfund Option. 
  • We got lots of questions on the migration of the Plume and risk to drinking water inside and outside the city and, many who stopped by gladly voted.
  • Support EPA Superfund Status Results were 61-YES, 0-NO as shown below.
Informal Poll at Green Fair 2019 (ACWG)
  • Thanks to all who helped out and stopped by the booth.
  • We also had a great turnout at the Earth Day Fair at our booth this spring with lots of questions asked and concerns expressed.
CARD/SRSW and ACWG Booth at the Earth Day Fair, Spring 2019 (ACWG)


312 Glendale Memory Care (MC) Proposal Has Just Recently Started Construction Almost 2 1/2 Years After Approval and Attempted Reconsideration - Council Needs to do a Reconsideration of this Vote Due to Misrepresentations:

Results of residents neighborhood survey of Water Issues; (ACWG)
Site is to left in dark olive tone with Legend, stormwater flow to the right (Click for Larger Image)

Council approved plans for the MC at 312 Glendale on April 3rd 2017 in a 6-3 vote.

A Council member or members need to bring this vote up for reconsideration before Council to fully discuss the issues that were falsely or misleadingly presented to City Council and/or Planning Commission including the Water Resources Commissioner’s Office (WRCO). This may have lead to votes without full knowledge of the issues facing the neighborhood. The WRCO Staff, presenting at the meetings, did mention he was at the last minute standing in for someone in the office.

False or misleading statements by staff that may have helped this to get passed by City Council in a very close vote:

  • WRCO: The curb will block the huge flows off unmitigated Hillside Terrace (HT) from all major rain events onto this site.
    • This is not true it will overwhelm the stormwater (SW) system for the MC in a 10 or 20-year event overwhelming the MC SW system causing more flooding downstream. These types of street curb flood conditions in Ann Arbor have been discussed extensively in city meetings repeatedly, that I have attended in the past 20 years.
  • WRCO: The neighborhood really is not one of the few target neighborhoods for SW mitigation.
    • This is not true as shown in the $2M “Ann City of Ann Arbor Stormwater Model Calibration and Analysis Project”, June 1, 2015 section ‘C, viii. Glendale/Charlton, page 62’. 
    • In this study they propose detention upstream of Glendale, which clearly could be the orchard.
    • Greenbelt funds should be used for projects like these, only about 9%, not the promised and voted on 33%, is spent in the city for green space.
  • WRCO: The orchard has sheet flow and no rainfall runoff infiltration now, this will be mitigated by the development.
    • This is not true as the orchard, where this proposed building will go, captures much if not all the unmitigated runoff from HT. We have videos and eye witness to attest to this. This will be lost with this development making flood hazard worse for the neighborhood and overwhelm the MC SW system.
  • WRCO: ‘Vince Caruso did a survey of neighbors’. As a lead in to question its results.
    • This is not true. I was not involved in the survey, and this seems to be an attempt to ‘tar’ and ‘belittle’ the extensive and important effort. The city took it seriously enough to do 100’s of hours of work in the neighborhood to mitigate the flood hazard since the survey was first presented unblocking 3 sewer lines in the neighborhood.
  • This new development will improve SW handling we were told. We have been told for over 30 years that new development like this will be the major way we improve SW handling in Ann Arbor.
    • Not true as this proposal will make it worse causing more flooding downstream into an overtaxed neighborhood.

See previous entries on this site for more details; search site option is at top of these pages.


Proposed Agenda and Updates:

May 16, 2019


Danaher/Pall/Gelman 1,4-Dioxane Plume EPA Superfund Discussions, EPA to Pull Away Unless Whitmer Asks for Superfund Full Evaluation and Assistance



Wide Angle Shot of Meeting (ACWG, click for larger image)


At a meeting to discuss EPA Superfund Status members of the Coalition for the Remediation of Dioxane (CARD) Group attended a meeting with U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell, City Council, Ann Arbor, Scio Townships, County Board, County Health Dept., EGLE (former MDEQ) and residents.

Roger Rayle recorded the meeting and posted on Youtube - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0W_nz3VVZrQ

Ryan Stanton with MLive has a report and video of part of the meeting.

Here is also a video of the May 7th CARD meeting by Roger Rayle on Youtube - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IY6IW-ArMf8

EPA has indicated they will pull away from the Gelman monitoring unless they get a message from Governer Whitmer that she is willing to let EPA continue to a Full Evaluation and potential Superfund.

City of Ann Arbor City Council voted to work with Interveners:

RESOLVED, That the City Council directs the City Administrator, by July 1, 2019, to take all reasonable steps to convene a meeting with the other State-Lawsuit interveners to explore requesting EPA’s active involvement with the Gelman site and its listing as a “Superfund” site under CERCLA by, among other things, soliciting a concurrence letter from the Governor; and,

The Ann Arbor TownshipScio TownshipWashtenaw County Board of CommissionsSierra Club Huron Valley Group (SCHGV), the Coalition for the Remediation of Dioxane (CARD) and Allen’s Creek Watershed Group (ACWG) all voted in supported a petition to the US EPA for Full Preliminary Assessment of the Gelman 1,4-Dioxane groundwater contamination.

Governor Whitmer would be much more approachable than our previous Republican Governor.

  • Still no comment on a real plan of action on the NSG exposure potential, not simply more minimal tests. Dan Bicknell's GEA Comments on the DEQ Shallow Groundwater Work Plan and his proposed plan is posted in the November 2016 Agenda. Dan had a very well and logical plan laid out for dealing with the initial investigation of the NSG issue which seems to be clearly a problem that needs addressing.
  • The ACWG and CARD Groups has asked for permanent monitoring of NSG wells on the near west side of the city with no indication of action on this.

Links:

Ann Arbor at pivotal point with Gelman dioxane plume MLive Ryan Stanton

Dioxane detected in Ann Arbor drinking water from Barton Pond for first time: Mlive Martin Slagter

Dioxane test results for Allen Creek raise more questions: MLive Ryan Stanton

Ongoing discharges may be to blame for dioxane in Ann Arbor drinking water: MLive Ryan Stanton

Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ)-Gelman Project SiteWashtenaw County CARD SiteScio Residents for Safe Water (SRSW)

YouTube of CARD/DEQ Regular Meeting 5-7-19, by Roger Rayle Chair of CARD (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AInaA9T7H3g) Other videos are under CARD WC in Youtube.

Lots of stores by Ryan Stanton in Ann Arbor News/MLive including this recent article 'EPA holding off on Superfund designation for Gelman dioxane plume'

Lots of details from Barbara Lucus at Dioxane.Org and WEMU News Program GreenRoom

See ACWG site pages EPA Superfund Option Details

Click here to view and/or sign in support of Superfund Designation


City Staff Working on Stormwater Unapproved Pipes and Flows Were Added to Two Public Wooded Natural Areas With City Notification, One Woodland is Owned by AAPS, Flood Threat to Neighborhood

First Martin newly installed Illegal 10" SW Pipe flowing into the Neighborhood FairGlen Woodland Commons (ACWG; Click for larger image)

Illegal SW Pipe flowing into Eberwhite Woods, Eberwhite School, Eberwhite Woods Committee, AAPS (Circled in Red) (ACWG; Click for larger image)

The pipe into the FairGlen wooded Commons is a threat to the Gabions, just below the illegal 10" pipe outlet, that was placed when the 5x8' pipe was installed. It is likely to undermine the Gabions causing very large blockages in stormwater flows in a major rain event causing massive flooding in the neighborhood. Gabions were installed to armor against heavy flows through the Commons in this open section of Allen's Creek and could be compromised in a major flow through the commons.

The city installed Gabions protecting the stream bank are just beyond the outlet of this pipe in the upper photo.*

This needs to be addressed before a major rain event hits the community.

The effect of this Illegal Stormwater pipe on this open section of the Allen's Creek is a clear and present danger to the community.*

We have had two cases now where illegal (as determined by city staff in both email and phone calls) stormwater pipes and stormwater flows added to natural areas on the west side recently.

Link: AAPS


Treeline Community Presentation and Update

The Treeline Conservancy (Click for link)

There was a Treeline meeting on Tuesday that the Treeline Board discusses Updates and premiered a video of the plans for the Treeline. See link to view video and web site; https://treelinea2.org/.

The ACWG supports this effort and commented that for the early effort for a Greenway in the late 1990s flood hazard mitigation was a major goal of the Greenway. I made this point again last night. Comment from a Board Member was they are working to include this in the plans.

Currently, the Treeline is focused on the N Main portion as a starting point hoping to build on its successful completion.

When I ask it seems to them that there is no change on the U of M position on the Greenway along the tracks near campus. U of M at the Greenway Master Planning meetings originally suggested support than pulled back support without serious reasons being presented. U of M has a lot to gain with many fans walking illegally down the tracks to sporting events. The Treeline would be logically along this route and have thousands of users from the day it is open. Large numbers of users like this would help grant funding tremendously.

We support the creation of a Greenway that will create a buffer area for flooding, sparing potentially thousands of home from catastrophic flooding
The Allen's Creek Watershed is particularly at risk with very steep slopes, very flashy runoff, overbuilt environment
We have 100's if not 1,000's of homes and businesses at risk of flooding

The ACWG has worked with the city to do some important improvements but more is needed, and a Greenway would provide much-needed flood hazard reductions on the West Side. In years past discussions with the Drain Office the ACWG was told the Greenway if done correctly should reduce flood hazard in the Allen's Creek Valley.

The city should consider a Citizens Taskforce to assist the Conservancy in the planning of the Treeline, something to be discussed with council members. A group of knowledgeable and interested citizens would ensure the effort stays on track to be as effective use of funds and meaningful set of goals as is reasonable.


CARD, SRSW and ACWG Will Have a Table at the June 14, 2019 Ann Arbor Green Fair

City of Ann Arbor

  • Green Fair on Main Street
  • Friday, June 14, 2019 from 6–9 p.m.
  • "Ann Arbor's downtown Main Street will be closed to through traffic between Huron and William streets, remaining open for pedestrians, Green Fair guests, displays of sustainability information, "green" products, live music and general enjoyment of the urban outdoor environment. Information, entertainment, and hands-on activities for all ages will be provided."



Proposed Agenda and Updates:

April 18, 2019


Danaher/Pall/Gelman 1,4-Dioxane Plume - CARD Presentation at City Council Work Session

Vince Caruso presenting at City Council Work Session on Gelman (City of Ann Arbor)

Member of the Coalition for the Remediation of Dioxane (CARD) Group were asked to present before a Working Session of the City Council on latest issues facing the Gelman 1,4 Dioxane Ground (and Surface) Water contamination.

Roger Rayle (Chair CARD and SRSW), Dan Bicknell (GEA, CARD Member) and Vince Caruso (Board Member CARD, CM ACWG) presented.

City of Ann Arbor Video Page of the Work Session. Link: https://a2ctn.viebit.com/player.php?hash=g5ttQRaI8cq3

The presentation and discussion start at 00:58:47 on the video and runs about 25 minutes.

Here is a link to the slides of the presentation on the city web site. (http://a2gov.legistar.com/View.ashx?M=F&ID=7148735&GUID=4635F628-0CC5-407C-BBF6-C3141A5F8A1D)

Presentation and discussions centered on Superfund option, Near-Surface Groundwater (NSG) issues and DEQ history with this every expanding plume over the years. Dan does a great job presenting the Superfund Option in detail and its clear benefits.

With new leadership in Ann Arbor and in Lansing and with help from the state NGO's we need to petition the new Governor to have EPA proceed with Superfund evaluation and potential Superfund Designation with a Responsible Partyin the owner Danaher.

State legislators Yosif Rabie and Jeff Irwan have introduced legislation to have Michigan Polluters pay for the cleanup of their contamination. It requires that the polluter clean up the pollutant as much as technically possible.

The Ann Arbor TownshipScio TownshipWashtenaw County Board of CommissionsSierra Club Huron Valley Group (SCHGV), the Coalition for the Remediation of Dioxane (CARD) and Allen’s Creek Watershed Group (ACWG) all voted in supported a petition to the US EPA for Full Preliminary Assessment of the Gelman 1,4-Dioxane groundwater contamination.

Governor Whitmer would be much more approachable than our previous Republican Governor.

  • Still no comment on a real plan of action on the NSG exposure potential, not simply more minimal tests. Dan Bicknell's GEA Comments on the DEQ Shallow Groundwater Work Plan and his proposed plan is posted in the November 2016 Agenda. Dan had a very well and logical plan laid out for dealing with the initial investigation of the NSG issue which seems to be clearly a problem that needs addressing.
  • The ACWG and CARD Groups has asked for permanent monitoring of NSG wells on the near west side of the city with no indication of action on this.

Links:

Dioxane detected in Ann Arbor drinking water from Barton Pond for first time: Mlive Martin Slagter

Dioxane test results for Allen Creek raise more questions: MLive Ryan Stanton

Ongoing discharges may be to blame for dioxane in Ann Arbor drinking water: MLive Ryan Stanton

Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ)-Gelman Project SiteWashtenaw County CARD SiteScio Residents for Safe Water (SRSW)

YouTube of CARD/DEQ Regular Meeting 4-2-19, by Roger Rayle Chair of CARD (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AInaA9T7H3g) Other videos are under CARD WC in Youtube.

Lots of stores by Ryan Stanton in Ann Arbor News/MLive including this recent article 'EPA holding off on Superfund designation for Gelman dioxane plume'

Lots of details from Barbara Lucus at Dioxane.Org and WEMU News Program GreenRoom

See ACWG site pages EPA Superfund Option Details

Click here to view and/or sign in support of Superfund Designation


Attorney General Dana Nessel Rules Gelman (Pall/Danaher) Do Not Need To Follow Past Regulations on the Gelman Plume While in Confidential Negotiations with Plaintiffs on the Consent Judgement

Michigan AG Dana Nessel (Dana Nessel)

At the March CARD Meeting the DEQ presented a letter written on March 1, '19 where Dana Nessel wrote to Gelman (copy available) indicating that while there are Confidential Negotiations with plaintiffs on the Consent Judgment on the Gelman Plume management the recent two 85 ppb readings at Monitoring Well 103s at Glendale and Abbott do not trigger the past agreement that an MDEQ/Gelman Action Plan should be undertaken to deal with the possibility that outside the Prohibition Zone 85 ppb may occur in a short time which was prohibited. Well 103 is near the edge of the PZ.

The question CARD is asking is - are all the regulations on this Plume in limbo now. If this Action Plan is not required then other rules may also be set aside.

We have not gotten an answer on this to date.

Confidential Negotiations with Plaintiffs in the Consent Judgement have now gone on for over two years, some months or many months without meetings, and no word on any progress.

Gelman has delayed and misrepresented its position on this plume over the years when it said 65,000 pounds of 1,4 Dioxane were used at the site when over that amount has already been removed. DEQ feels 850,000 pounds were used at the site and may be contaminating the aquifer.

Gelman should be held to the old rules in the Plume management and we need to move to have EPA Superfund management that will work to clean up the aquifer not allow it to migrate through the city contaminating homes and businesses and potentially the Huron River at Barton Pond.

Gelman, the polluter, should not be allowed to dictate how this contamination is cleaned up. This is our aquifer and is protected by the State's Public Trust Doctrine.



New Tunnel for Storm Water and Bike/Ped Access to B2B Trail Under RR Tracks at Depot St. to be Started this Summer, Pollution Issues Under Site Need Addressing

Tunnel for SW and Bike/Ped Access to B2B Trail Under RR Tracks at Depot St. 
City of Ann Arbor, Click for larger image)
Coal Tar found at the DTE Site and shown by DEQ at river's edge at the site, 
the pollution at the river's edge subsequently cleaned up in recent years (WUOM)

spoke at public comment at the CC Work Session listed above (near the end of the recording) regarding the existing and recognized pollution under this project at the DTE site at Depot St.

I attend all the meetings related to this Tunnel project and strongly commented that this is a very valuable project and needed to include bike and pedestrian access as well as the much-needed flood hazard reducing SW opening to the river. Flood hazard will be greatly reduced with the outlet to the river in big storm events. Bike and pedestrian access will be a great addition to the B2B AA trail.

Recently city staff presented this proposal's proposed start but have not indicated a cleanup program for the site. The DTE site is very heavily polluted with coal tar and other contaminants which have polluted the groundwater below the site, likely the Huron River below the site, and pollutes this proposed site for improvement. DTE has said the groundwater below the site is polluted, according to public comments by the developer for DTE, but not indicated they have tested if the pollution is leaving the site.


Still, No Action After Over a Year - Stormwater Pipes and Unapproved Flows Were Added to Two Public Wooded Natural Areas With City Notification But Without City Action, One Woodland is Owned by AAPS

First Martin Illegal 10" SW Pipe flowing into the
 Neighbohood FairGlen Woodland Commons (ACWG; Click for larger image)

Illegal SW Pipe flowing into Eberwhite Woods, Eberwhite School, 
Eberwhite Woods Committee, AAPS (Circled in Red) (ACWG; Click for larger image)

We have had two cases now where illegal (as determined by city staff in both email and phone calls) stormwater pipes and stormwater flows added to natural areas on the west side recently, without action by the city to have them removed.

This sets a very bad precedent for Ann Arbor.

Link: AAPS



The CARD and ACWG Will be Hosting a Table at the Earth Day Event at Lesley Science Center & Nature Center April 28th, Starting at 12 pm
City of Ann Arbor

The Earth Day Festival is at Lesley Science Center & Nature Center

  • April 28
  • From 12 pm to 4 pm
  • 1831 Traver Road Ann Arbor


Proposed Agenda and Updates:

March 21, 2019

Danaher/Pall/Gelman 1,4-Dioxane Plume - 1,4 Dioxane in Finished Water, More Found in NSG

PLS, Annotated by Dan Bicknell of GEA and CARD (Click for larger view)


Recent tests of the city finished drinking water showed 0.030 ppb 1,4 Dioxane. State standard is 7.2 ppb currently, US EPA has no standard currently, but US EPA dioxane drinking water criterion is 0.35 ppb. No definitive word on the reason for this new finding but it would seem Gelman's not full treatment of the contaminated groundwater emptied into Honey Creek which flows into Barton Pond may be the source of this low reading. The DEQ allowed Gelman to change from a treatment system that cleaned to about 0 ppb to a different method which only cleans to about 7 ppb to save money.

New Near-Surface Groundwater (NSG) tests made by the MDEQ in Allen('s) Creek on the west side in about 8 locations upstream of West Park showed about 15 ppb in the West Park area.

Pall's (bought Gelman) own geo maps from 2006 show the potential for groundwater coming out at West Park. The stormwater pipes there pick up groundwater as designed to stop the seeps from undermining the homes and roadways nearby. The Allen('s) Creek is a very steep watershed and as it falls away to the river it is like a slanted cut into a layer cake, exposing layers of the glacial till that is Ann Arbor. Some of the exposed layers have high groundwater flows in them that come out of the hillsides as seeps seen all over the west side even before it gets as low as West Park. The new action level for Near-Surface Groundwater should not be the 1,900 ppb MDEQ set, but at least as low as 280 ppb the new standard of groundwater flowing into surface water standard, if not lower. May need to be 100 ppb action level to protect from vapor intrusion basement exposures.

With 1,000 ppb at Vet's Park in recent years, it may not be long before it is at 100 or 280 ppb at West Park. With all the wet basements (lots of wet basements) on the west side, it is not prudent to allow this to migrate into them unabated.

Past recent tests of NSG at West Park showed 19 ppb, 400% increase from 8 months prior. The NSG tests were not in the MDEQ plans till the ACWG and CARD Groups insisted on tests be made.

With new leadership in Ann Arbor and in Lansing and with help from the state NGO's we need to petition the new Governor to have EPA proceed with Superfund evaluation and potential Superfund Designation with a Responsible Party in the owner Danaher.

State legislators Yosif Rabie and Jeff Irwan have introduced legislation to have Michigan Polluters pay for the cleanup of their contamination. It requires that the polluter clean up the pollutant as much as technically possible.

Knowledgeable sources have indicated that $50M and in 10 years we could potentially clean up the plume and save Barton Pond, many private wells and homes from contamination.

Back in 1990 I am told from a reliable source that (also on record) Gelman representatives indicated to county, city and MDEQ at a public meeting, that she attended, that the Plume is headed north down Wagner Rd. and will hit Barton Pond in about 17 years. It has not hit Barton yet but it has moved north causing a movement of the Prohibition Zone North about 1 year after Judge Shelton established it and affect many residential wells to the North.

The Ann Arbor Township, Scio Township, Washtenaw County Board of Commissions, Sierra Club Huron Valley Group (SCHGV), the Coalition for the Remediation of Dioxane (CARD) and Allen’s Creek Watershed Group (ACWG) all supported a petition to the US EPA for Full Preliminary Assessment of the Gelman 1,4-Dioxane groundwater contamination.

It was disclosed that the Superfund Designation for the Gelman site would have proceed for next step in the evaluation if the governor had not stopped it according to EPA Superfund manager Michael Berkoff. The site met the standard for next step in evaluation without doing most of the obvious evaluation which would have put it even higher standing.

We have new State and city leadership after the November election. We need to move to pressure them to support a continued Superfund Designation.

Governor Whitmer would be much more approachable than our previous Republican Governor.

  • 280 ppb is the limit for contaminated flows into surface waters yet 1,900 ppb allowed in homes basements. No comment on plans to deal with this threat to homes and businesses in its path. Just 11 blocks upstream we have had readings of close to 1,000 ppb at Vet's Park area.
  • If homeowners have over 250 ppb in their basements and have a sump pump discharging it they will not be in violation of State Law currently which limits it to below 251 ppb as a special case, may not be true for businesses*. The VI issue in basements is still real and may be much lower than currently set. Initially it was 29 ppb then changed to 1,900 ppb and may need to be closer to 100 ppb.*
  • Still no comment on a real plan of action on the NSG exposure potential, not simply more minimal tests. Dan Bicknell's GEA Comments on the DEQ Shallow Groundwater Work Plan and his proposed plan is posted in the November 2016 Agenda. Dan had a very well and logical plan laid out for dealing with the initial investigation of the NSG issue which seems to be clearly a problem that needs addressing.
  • The ACWG and CARD Groups has asked for permanent monitoring of NSG wells on the near west side of the city with no indication of action on this.

Links:

Dioxane detected in Ann Arbor drinking water from Barton Pond for first time: Mlive Martin Slagter

Dioxane test results for Allen Creek raise more questions: MLive Ryan Stanton

Ongoing discharges may be to blame for dioxane in Ann Arbor drinking water: MLive Ryan Stanton

Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ)-Gelman Project Site; Washtenaw County CARD Site; Scio Residents for Safe Water (SRSW)

YouTube of CARD/DEQ Regular Meeting 3-5-19 , by Roger Rayle Chair of CARD (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1BSSRTCTH9I) Other videos are under CARD WC in Youtube.

Lots of stores by Ryan Stanton in Ann Arbor News/MLive including this recent article 'EPA holding off on Superfund designation for Gelman dioxane plume'

Lots of details from Barbara Lucus at Dioxane.Org and WEMU News Program GreenRoom

See ACWG site pages EPA Superfund Option Details

Click here to view and/or sign in support of Superfund Designation


City to Consider Development for City-Owned Land at 721 N Main, Mainly Floodplain and Floodway, Affordable Housing Suggested


Map of 721 N. Main Area from City Website in March 2019 (City of AA; ACWG; Click for larger view)

 

The 721 N Main site is largely floodway and floodplain, see current city map above. We hope the city does not propose to put affordable housing in and near these sites. Maybe the far North section outside the floodplain up the hill would be safe but most of the rest of the site is in real danger of flooding.

The floodway and floodplain are very flat areas with little leeway between flood and no flood scenarios. The northern site is on top of a steep slope as noted in the 2' contours on the map.

Blocking flows with buildings or buildings on stilts with parking below will be dangerous and cause greater flooding upstream in areas not normally at risk of flooding.

City staff has clearly stated in public discussions during a tour of this site, during the City lead North Main Tour, the floodplain map is not very well calibrated. With climate change heaver rain events it will only get less reliable.

Ann Arbor has a long and sorted history of putting disadvantaged in harm's way. This needs to end. The homeless shelter almost was built in the floodway until the ACWG and other residents stopped the city, county and state from building an illegal un-inhabitable shelter in the floodway, illegal. The illegal scraped plans in the floodway cost us taxpayers to waste $1M. And this was not the only recent error with low-cost housing in the floodway the city was involved in that was scrapped due to poor planning. There's the Avalon Housing across the street on Main St. that was also scrapped not too long ago due to floodway and floodplain issues.

This flood-prone area should be park space and greenway space with that it will do much more for the economy and environment than shabby flood-prone affordable housing will ever do. Will also reduce flood hazard in this portion of the city.

Some of our city leaders ‘go on’ about climate change yet encourage nonprofit and for-profits to build in and around very dangerous flood-prone locations. Not good planning or protective planning.

Link to Mlive Article:

3 new affordable housing proposals coming to Ann Arbor city council: 3-12-19 Mlive

https://expo.mlive.com/expo/news/g66l-2019/03/e15376b23f5380/3-new-affordable-housing-proposals-coming-to-ann-arbor-city-council.html#vf-9204400018404

 

March 2019 Midwest 'Bomb Cyclone' Causes Major Flooding to Occur in Midwest with Colorado Having a Record Low Barometric Reading, Hurricane Force Winds

Cat 6 WU (Click for larger view)


In the Midwest it was reported by the National Weather Service: “In some locations it’s the worst flooding on record on many of these river gauges.” Then "the National Weather Service in Omaha reported Friday that it had to evacuate its offices because of rising waters."

19 locations in the Midwest have set new flood crest records, said weather.com meteorologist Jon Erdman. Overall, more than 300 river gauges were in flood stage in the central United States, the National Weather Service reported. USAToday.Com 3-15-19

Global Warming is causing record dangerous weather including flooding and wind storms. The effects require a "Business as Usual" approach to community planning be dramatically modified to reduce the risk to life, health and property.





WideAngle image of Clean Water Town Hall, Overflow Crowd (ACWG, Click for Larger)

Organized by Rep. Donna Lasinski at Scio Township Hall
Roger Rayle (SRSW.ORG and CARD) video taped, the meeting, posted on YouTube and and wrote the description below.
Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVKHVqzEL74

https://www.mlive.com/news/ann-arbor/2019/03/pfas-dioxane-top-concerns-at-clean-water-forum-in-scio-township.html

ACWG attended and did make comment at the meeting.

Clean Water Town Hall
Organized by Michigan State House rep Rep. Donna Lasinski, 52nd District

From PFAS to Dioxane, we have seen no shortage of threats to our drinking water in Washtenaw County and around the state. Rep. Donna Lasinski and a panel of local experts discuss water quality issues and policy solutions, and answer questions about how we can protect drinking water across the Great Lakes State.

Panelists: 
Dan Brown, Huron River Watershed Council; 
Kristen Schweighoefer, Washtenaw County Health Department; 
Gerald Tiernan, MDEQ Remediation & Redevelopment Division; 
Lisa Fischer, MDHHS Toxicologist


Proposed Agenda and Updates:

Febuary 21, 2019


Danaher/Pall/Gelman 1,4-Dioxane Plume - EPA Superfund Meeting Oct 30th, Previous Governor Stopped Superfund Designation Full Evaluation; 19 ppb Now at West Park; City of Ann Arbor Needs to Petition EPA and Request the Governor Also Do So
WideAngle low-resolution image of EPA Superfund manager Michael Berkoff, Congresswoman Debbie Dingell, MDEQ
and other Stakeholders meeting 10-29-18 (ACWG, right click for larger view )

The Coalition for Action on Remediation of Dioxane (CARD)  members attended the EPA and Congress Women Debbie Dingell meeting on Monday, Oct. 29th to discuss progress/or lack thereof on the Gelman Plume.

Link to the great video of this meeting courtesy of Roger Rayle.

With new leadership in Ann Arbor and in Lansing and with help from the state NGO's we need to petition the new Governor to have EPA proceed with Superfund evaluation and potential Superfund Designation with a Responsible Party in the owner Danaher.

State legislators Yousef Rabhi and Jeff Irwin have introduced legislation to have Michigan Polluters pay for cleanup of their contamination. It requires that the polluter clean up the pollutant as much as technically possible.

Knowledgeable sources have indicated that $50M and in 10 years we could potentially clean up the plume and save Barton Pond, many private wells and homes from contamination. 

Back in 1990 I am told from a reliable source that (also on record) Gelman representatives indicated to county, city and MDEQ at a public meeting, that she attended, that the Plume is headed north down Wagner Rd. and will hit Barton Pond in about 17 years. It has not hit Barton yet but it has moved north causing a movement of the Prohibition Zone North about 1 year after Judge Shelton established it and affect many residential wells to the North.


  • New data on Near-Surface Groundwater (NSG) tests at West Park showed 19 ppb, 400% increase from 8 months prior. The NSG tests were not in the EGLE (MDEQ) plans till the ACWG and CARD Groups insisted on tests be made.
  • New tests are being made in Allen('s) Creek on the west side in about 8 locations upstream of West Park.


  • 280 ppb is the limit for contaminated flows into surface waters yet 1,900 ppb allowed in homes basements. No comment on plans to deal with this threat to homes and businesses in its path. Just 11 blocks upstream we have had readings of close to 1,000 ppb at Vet's Park area.
  • If homeowners have over 250 ppb in their basements and have a sump pump discharging it they will be in not be in violation of State Law which limits it to below 251 ppb for homeowners. What is a homeowner or business to do about this pollution? No comment from our state, county or city leaders when asked at this meeting.  
  • It was disclosed that the Superfund Designation for the Gelman site would have proceeded for next step in the evaluation if the governor had not stopped it according to EPA Superfund manager Michael Berkoff. The site met the standard for next step in evaluation without doing most of the obvious evaluation which would have put it even higher standing.
  • We have new State and city leadership after the November election. We need to move to pressure them to support a continued Superfund Designation. 
  • Governor Whitmer would be more approachable than our previous Republican Governor.
  • Still no comment on a real plan of action on the NSG exposure potential, not simply more minimal tests. Dan Bicknell's GEA Comments on the DEQ Shallow Groundwater Work Plan and his proposed plan is posted in the November 2016 Agenda. Dan had a very well and logical plan laid out for dealing with the initial investigation of the NSG issue which seems to be clearly a problem that needs addressing.
  • The ACWG and CARD Groups has asked for permanent monitoring of NSG wells on the near west side of the city with no indication of action on this.

 

Links:

Link EPA Dingell  Oct 30 Meeting (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q4XNtTqLZHc&t=939s)

Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ)-Gelman Project SiteWashtenaw County CARD SiteScio Residents for Safe Water (SRSW)

YouTube of CARD/DEQ Regular Meeting 2-5-19 , by Roger Rayle Chair of CARD (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1BSSRTCTH9I) Other videos are under CARD WC in Youtube.

Lots of stores by Ryan Stanton in Ann Arbor News/MLive including this recent article 'EPA holding off on Superfund designation for Gelman dioxane plume'

Lots of details from Barbara Lucus at Dioxane.Org and WEMU News Program GreenRoom

See ACWG site pages EPA Superfund Option Details

Click here to view and/or sign in support of Superfund Designation



Planning Commission to Consider Development of Very Polluted DTE Site at Depot St and Broadway St In the Largely in the Floodway and Floodplain -  Wed Feb 20, City Council Chambers 7pm


City Web Image of FW FP of Proposed Mixed Use Development (ACWG)

Coal Tar found and shown by DEQ at river's edge at the site subsequently cleaned up in recent years (WUOM)

  • There was a developer lead public meeting on 8-8-18 to discuss the proposed Mixed Use Development on the DTE site on Depot St.
  • The developer stated that they are seeking changes in the floodplain floodway map of the site through a Letter Of Map Revision FEMA (LoMR) with their consultants Smith Group. This seems like a not a sure thing, and they say if not, plans will need to be changed.
  • The site is mainly floodway (FW) not floodplain (FP) as was stated at the meeting. A HUGE difference. FW is where floodwater is flowing, very dangerous.
  • This site flooded in the 1968 flood with water covering most of the site.*
  • The Argo dam was breached on the north side in the 1968 flood.
  • In the 1968 flood many of the area dams were heavily damaged and, some breached and over topped.
  • They stated that tests show the Groundwater below the site is contaminated.
  • Contaminated Groundwater tests need to be made to see if it is leaving the site, the site of the old Huron Riverbed.


  • At a public meeting for local residents at the Smith Group building on Sept 5, 2018, I was told 
    • They will be doing modeling for a FEMA LOMAR.
      • This model will NOT include the new opening in the RR Berm across from the site which may increase flood hazard on this site.
      • The funding for the tunnel in the RR Berm will very likely be accepted by council this week.
      • The model will NOT include Global Warming effects now being felt in Michigan, 1,000-year (.1% chance) storm this summer in the UP.
      • Will not take into account the very poorly calibrated flood maps used for this site.
  • They are planning a Brownfield partial cleanup with about $24M from taxpayers, and about $12M from the developer.
  • This will not be a full cleanup as they say this is not required in the current MI Part 201 statute.
  • DTE should be doing a cleanup of this site as the Responsible Party Legal Owner, not taxpayers.
  • The site is very polluted and in the old river bed as shown by their own presentation photos (also shown in the photo below), with a very high water table would be very likely if not certain.
  • Vapor Intrusion (VI) is a real issue being faced by many sites which were built over old dump sites. In Petoskey MI recently 11 of 14 condos were evacuated due to VI issues from building in an old dump site. 


  • The pollution maps produced by DTE and the city are not accurate. At the Allen's Creek Outlet on the west side of the site clearly there are significant black coal tar deposits visible when the sheet pile was installed, all the way down as far as they dug. This is not at all on the pollution maps.
  • The pollution on site should not be left in place to create a VI exposure risk, pollute the groundwater and river, and be left for future generations to deal with.

If done right could be a nice park close to the city center. When it floods hose it off and go back to being a park like many progressive (and non-progressive) cities are doing.


Old Image showing DTE is in the Old River Bed (AADL Holdings)

One Version of the Draft Proposal

Dr Larissa Larsen an Associate Professor in the School of Architecture and Planning U of M stated clearly as her first comment, as an invited panelist, at the AA-Sponsored Climate Discussions a few years ago, 'first don't build in the floodplain' which the ACWG would completely agree.


Link MLive recent article: DTE unveils plan for $75M riverfront redevelopment in Ann Arbor


Report: "THE GROWING THREAT OF URBAN FLOODING: 2018" a Global Warming Warning


Mary St. Ann Arbor' 2015 - Under 2" Rain Event

Report By:

The University of Maryland, College Park A. James Clark School of Engineering Center for Disaster Resilience

Texas A&M University, Galveston Campus Center for Texas Beaches and Shores


Two main findings of this report:

"In much of the United States, urban flooding is occurring and is a growing source of significant economic loss, social disruption, and housing inequality. Extensive suburban development that creates higher flood flows into urban areas, aging and frequently undersized infrastructure in older sections of communities, an inability to maintain existing drainage systems, increases in intense rainfall events, and uncoordinated watershed management all contribute to these increases in urban flooding.

The growing number of extreme rainfall events that produce intense precipitation are resulting in—and will continue to result in—increased urban flooding unless steps are taken to mitigate their impacts." (bold by us)

Ann Arbor needs to stop building in our floodplains and floodways putting more people in harm's way and start moving to opening up these channels to the river and reducing flood hazard with much more green treatments like the Green Streets Policy the ACWG was instrumental in writing and adoption. The Greenway was one of the methods accepted by many and promoted for this and other reasons, which the ACWG has been a leader in for over 15 years.

The 2012 5"-6" rain that flooded south Ann Arbor is the kind of rains we will see more of and we need to prepare, "pound of cure".


Link: https://cdr.umd.edu/sites/cdr.umd.edu/files/urban-flooding-report-online.pdf



Rescheduled - Free Film Screening and Discussion U of M SPH on PFAS - "The Devil We Know", a film about PFAS in a West Virginia community, 2-19-19



Rescheduled due to weather - Arctic Vortex


Sponsored by U of M School of Public Health:
     Center for Occupational Health and Safety Engineering (UM-SPH COHSE)
     Michigan Center on Lifestage Environmental Exposures and Disease (UM-SPH MLEEaD) 

All are welcome to attend this free screening. The film will be screened on Tues. February 19, 2019 at 5:30 pm in 1755 SPH I. The film runs for an hour and a half and will be followed by a short Q&A panel with experts on PFAS. Pizza and beverages will be provided.


SPH I is the building to the North of the 'SPH Tunnel' off Washington Heights. 
Register at the following link so we know how much food to order (registration is free; with reschedule this seems to be not updated last checked; you may attend even if not registered): https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-devil-we-know-film-screening-tickets-54599222745

Description of the film:  When a handful of West Virginia residents discover DuPont has been pumping its poisonous Teflon chemical into the air and public water supply of more than 70,000 people, they file one of the largest class action lawsuits in the history of environmental law. As the citizens of Parkersburg rise up against the forces that polluted their town, the story builds out to dozens of other American cities. In fact, as many as 110 million Americans may be drinking water tainted with PFAS chemicals. Exposure to this class of chemicals has even become a global phenomenon, spreading to places like Italy, the Netherlands, and China. For more, visit https://thedevilweknow.com




Proposed Agenda and Updates:

January 17, 2019


Danaher/Pall/Gelman 1,4-Dioxane Plume - With 19 ppb Now at West Park Plans for a MDEQ 6 Month Test of Allen's Creek Pipes


Coalition for Action on Remediation of Dioxane (CARD) meeting this month again we discussed the clear need for  Near-Surface Groundwater (NSG) plan to monitor NSG exposures. 

MDEQ has a new plan to test for the next 6 months many manholes on the west side up from West Park. We have been given the map of the proposed sites.

This is not the plan we had hoped to see but after over 2 years of pressure from ACWG and CARD it is a start. 

The Water Resources Commissioner is pushing for storm sewer pipe tests as that is his responsibility with regards to fresh rainwater runoff (stormwater) contamination. A more detailed and expanded test program is what's really needed and has been requested.
 
Dan Bicknell had proposed a meaningful study to the MDEQ, which in principle has strong support from many in the CARD group, that maybe we can get implemented next to protect homeowners and business from exposure to contaminated groundwater. See Past Agenda Items on our web site.

It was again noted that 280 ppb is the limit for contaminated flows into surface waters yet 1,900 ppb allowed in homes basements. No comment on plans to deal with this threat to homes and businesses in its path. Just 11 blocks upstream we have had readings of close to 1,000 ppb at Vet's Park area.

If homeowners or businesses have over 250 ppb in their basements and have a sump pump discharging it they will be in violation of State Law which limits it to below 251 ppb. What is a homeowner or business to do? Again No Comment from our state, county or city leaders when asked at this meeting.  

85 PPB 1,4 Dioxane found at Glendale in a Monitoring Well:
This was disclosed at the CARD meeting. This will trigger more testing to determine which way this higher concentration is moving. It is on the edge of the Prohibition Zone, where the compound is proposed to be kept inside of this zone.

Superfund Revisit:
Our new city council needs to revisit and vote to support the USEPA Superfund Petition the previous council passed on. Join with and support AA Twp, Scio Twp and SCHVG in this petition. The initial evaluation for the Gelman site can only be described as 'Off the Charts' and if not for the replaced and discredited former Governor stopping it, it would have very likely gone to a USEPA Superfund Full Evaluation.

1,4 dioxane and PFAS issues unregulated by EPA or federal oversite:
The outgoing Governor signed Lame Duck bills that would force the state to use EPA stated exposure levels and not allow the state to set and enforce exposure levels of compounds. At the meeting, the officials said we need to wait for the new state leadership to study these changes and deside if they will be enforced or modified. Let's hope they are modified. For 1,4 Dioxane and PFAS, very important to Ann Arbor area, EPA has no standard currently.
 
MLive :"Two lame-duck bills signed by Snyder, HB 4205 and SB 1244, are undergoing review by new state attorney general Dana Nessel. Together, the bills limit the science that regulators could use to set toxic cleanup standards and prohibit state regulations from being stricter than federal ones."

The state legislator and Federal legislators have introduced bills that would force the setting of standards for these compounds that would be protective of health and safety. 

On January 14, 2019 Representatives Debbie Dingell (MI-12), Fred Upton (MI-6), and Dan Kildee (MI-5) introduced bipartisan legislation that designates all PFAS chemicals as hazardous substances and allows the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to clean up contaminated sites in Michigan and across the country.

New Council New Governor New AG New SS New DEQ Leadership, Gerrymandering Voted Down, New Members of City Council, we have some hope for meaningful change.

Links:
Link EPA CW Dingell  Oct 30 Meeting
Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ)-Gelman Project SiteWashtenaw County CARD SiteScio Residents for Safe Water (SRSW)
YouTube of CARD/DEQ Regular Meeting January 2019, by Roger Rayle Chair of CARD (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eOvNlpjj1io)
Lots of stores by Ryan Stanton in Ann Arbor News/MLive including this recent article 'EPA holding off on Superfund designation for Gelman dioxane plume'

Lots of details from Barbara Lucus at Dioxane.Org and WEMU News Program GreenRoom

See ACWG site pages EPA Superfund Option Details


Once again city officials are Proposing Affordable Housing and Other Housing in the Floodplain



415 West Washington (ACWG; Click for larger image)


Association of State Floodplain Managers 2007 (ASFPM)
 (Click for larger image) 

"BUILDING IN THE FLOODPLAIN IS LIKE PITCHING YOUR TENT
ON A HIGHWAY WHEN THERE ARE NO CARS COMING"!
ASFPM: www.floods.org  

Again 415 West Washington was discussed this month by city administrator as a potential site for housing and other business uses. This site is virtually all floodplain and floodway. In a major storm, like Michigan is now getting on a regular basis, this site may have several feet of floodwater, with the parts in the floodway will be rushing water toward the Huron River. It only takes 8" of rushing rain water runoff to move a full-size car.

Greenway and park location is the best and most viable use of this site. Reduce flooding, greatly increase tax base for the area, provide alternative transportation and create a green space close to city center that connects to the city center, and protect existing homes and businesses from flooding with Global Warming threats the city has purported to care about.

As we asked before and FOIA'ed the DDA - we would like to see the FTCH Study:
The DDA's FTCH $1/4 to $1/2M budgeted consultants study of the watershed, just upstream of this site. should also be made available to the public. The ACWG FOIA'ed the study but was just given a copy of the raw data used to do models but the report was never offered. FTCH said the DDA had to agree to make it available which they never did.

2013 Reuter Report commissioned by the city indicates it can be up to nearly 9-foot floodplain on this site. 
The city map of this site shows a 3-foot, not 9'.

The LOMR for the YMCA site across the street, just 1 1/2 years after construction showed a change of 33% from the 3' as built to 4' which obligated the 'Free Board' (1-foot free space below the building to the floodplain) the building was permitted with.

The Y also creates a near full floodway dam with the fencing installed, which the DEQ allowed construction, contrary to ACWG protests. Chain Link Fencing is like a solid wall in hydrological models as it gets clogged up very quickly in a flood event. This has put many more non-floodplain homes at risk upstream and they do not even know it or have the warning to get flood insurance. It also very negatively effects the tax base of the area with this unnecessary flood risk.

President Obama vitrually forbid using federal funds for building in the 100-year (1% chance) floodplain and virtually forbid the use of federal funds for building any critical structures in the 500-year (.2% chance) floodplain due to Global Warming effects causing more intense rain events.



Free Film Screening and Discussion U of M SPH on PFAS - "The Devil We Know", a film about PFAS in a West Virginia community


Sponsored by U of M School of Public Health:
     Center for Occupational Health and Safety Engineering (UM-SPH COHSE)
     Michigan Center on Lifestage Environmental Exposures and Disease (UM-SPH MLEEaD) 

All are welcome to attend this free screening. The film will be screened on January 31, 2019 at 5:30 pm in 1755 SPH I. The film runs for an hour and a half and will be followed by a short Q&A panel with experts on PFAS. Pizza and beverages will be provided.

SPH I is the building to the North of the 'SPH Tunnel' off Washington Heights. (Click for larger view)
 
Register at the following link so we know how much food to order (registration is free): https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-devil-we-know-film-screening-tickets-54599222745

Description of the film:  When a handful of West Virginia residents discover DuPont has been pumping its poisonous Teflon chemical into the air and public water supply of more than 70,000 people, they file one of the largest class action lawsuits in the history of environmental law. As the citizens of Parkersburg rise up against the forces that polluted their town, the story builds out to dozens of other American cities. In fact, as many as 110 million Americans may be drinking water tainted with PFAS chemicals. Exposure to this class of chemicals has even become a global phenomenon, spreading to places like Italy, the Netherlands, and China. For more, visit https://thedevilweknow.com/  

FROM US-EPA  -  https://www.epa.gov/pfas/basic-information-pfas:
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of man-made chemicals that includes PFOA, PFOS, GenX, and many other chemicals. PFAS have been manufactured and used in a variety of industries around the globe, including in the United States since the 1940s. PFOA and PFOS have been the most extensively produced and studied of these chemicals. Both chemicals are very persistent in the environment and in the human body – meaning they don’t break down and they can accumulate over time. There is evidence that exposure to PFAS can lead to adverse human health effects.

PFAS are Teflon related chemicals that are called the 'Wonder' 'Forever Chemicals'.

Links:
"Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) Webinar: May 16 2018" M-LEEaD
Here is the link to the full Video of the talk posted by Michigan Center on Lifestage Environmental Exposures and Disease (M-LEEaD) on an Updated Jun 25, 2018 Post YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OkDdq9i1Qg8

City of AA PFAS site  https://www.a2gov.org/departments/water-treatment/Pages/PFAS-Information.aspx  

MLive, Ryan Stanton: Dec 18; At least 7 types of PFAS in Ann Arbor’s drinking water, reports show   https://www.mlive.com/news/ann-arbor/2018/12/at-least-7-types-of-pfas-in-ann-arbors-drinking-water-reports-show.html 



Still, No Action After Over a Year - Stormwater Pipes and Unapproved Flows Were Added to Two Public Wooded Natural Areas With City Notification But Without City Action, One Woodland is Owned by AAPS

First Martin Illegal 10" SW Pipe flowing into the Neighbohood FairGlen Woodland Commons (ACWG; Click for larger image)

Illegal SW Pipe flowing into Eberwhite Woods, Eberwhite School, 
Eberwhite Woods Committee, AAPS (Circled in Red) (ACWG; Click for larger image)

We have had two cases now where illegal (as determined by city staff in both email and phone calls) stormwater pipes and stormwater flows added to natural areas on the west side recently, without action by the city to have them removed.

Residents, AAPS and natural area stewards should not be forced to bend over backwards or go to court to get relief from illegal actions by folks at companies who probably don't even live in our city which are causing harm. 

Or have the MDEQ come to town and directly order the city of Ann Arbor to take action as they have done in the recent past on the Beal Building on Kingsley St. deliberately blocking the Allen's Creek floodway and like we forced the MDEQ from allowing the city and county to build the $1M plan for the Homeless Shelter in the floodway.

These actions have a clear effect on Life and Property.

Link: AAPS




Proposed Agenda and Updates:

December 20, 2018


Danaher/Pall/Gelman 1,4-Dioxane Plume - 19 ppb Now at West Park Yet Still Very Minimal Plans to Determine Its Effect on the West Side Homes and Business


Coalition for Action on Remediation of Dioxane (CARD) meeting this month we discussed the clear need for  Near-Surface Groundwater (NSG) plan to monitor NSG exposures. A few additional tests were proposed by the DEQ. This is not what we have asked for given the potential exposure to residents and homes.

DEQ proposed some meaningless "NSG" tests that we asked they not do to save the effort and money for the other few meaningful ones they did propose.

It was again noted that 280 ppb is the limit for contaminated flows into surface waters yet 1,900 ppb allowed in homes basements. No comment on plans to deal with this threat to homes and businesses in its path. Just 11 blocks upstream we have had readings of close to 1,000 ppb at Vet's Park area.

If homeowners or businesses have over 250 ppb in their basements and have a sump pump discharging it they will be in violation of State Law which limits it to below 251 ppb. What is a homeowner or business to do? Again No Comment from our state, county or city leaders when asked at this meeting.  

Knowledgeable city staff now openly state the plume is 'going to Barton' in recent months. This has been stated by CARD members for many years with little support from the city and some county officials in the past. Professor Larry Lemke comments in past years is this it is moving toward Barton and is a downhill run once it passes M14. There is a preferred path in an ancient creek-bed running into Barton from the south.

The New Gelman Well Planned at the Core Needs to go to Bedrock (will not happen!):
DEQ commented that Gelman needed to re-bore a well at the Core due to failure. CARD group asked for this new well go to Bedrock. A well at this location to bedrock would be a great means to determine contamination at the core. The DEQ has said they asked but Gelman is not interested in doing it and the DEQ is afraid to force them as it may allow Gelman to drag its feet in doing the installation. We have no data on lower levels of the aquifer of 1,4 Dioxane that would greatly help models predict its flow, which is seemly now moving in all directions from the Core.

USEPA Superfund would just do the well and charge Gelman. We have very little data for the lower level aquifer concentrations that should have been done decades ago.

Superfund Revisit:
Our new city council needs to revisit and vote to support the USEPA Superfund Petition the previous council passed on. Join with and support AA Twp, Scio Twp and SCHVG in this petition. The initial evaluation for the Gelman site can only be described as 'Off the Charts' and if not for the, soon to be replaced and discredited, Governor stopping it, it would have very likely gone to a USEPA Superfund Full Evaluation.

New Council New Governor New AG New SS New DEQ Leadership, Gerrymandering Voted Down, we have some hope for meaningful change.

YouTube of CARD/DEQ Regular Meeting November 2018, by Roger Rayle Chair of CARD (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=udW-qFyFTJY)

Lots of stores by Ryan Stanton in Ann Arbor News/MLive including this recent article 'EPA holding off on Superfund designation for Gelman dioxane plume'

Lots of details from Barbara Lucus at Dioxane.Org and WEMU News Program GreenRoom

See ACWG site pages EPA Superfund Option Details

Click here to view and/or sign in support of Superfund Designation


Fingerle Sale to U of M Is a Potential Flood Hazard Disaster Waiting to Happen, Majority of the Site is in the Floodway, the Most Dangerous Area in a Flood, Global Warming is Making Floods More Frequent and More Dangerous


Some Fingerle Property Sites (ACWG, Click for larger image )


City Of Ann Arbor Athletic Campus Flood Hazard, 2017
Yellow .1%, Orange is .2% chance is Athletic Campus Floodplain ACF
(Annotations on map in Black ACWG; Click for larger image)


Flooding Just Upstream of Fingerle Sites on Mary St. in recent years, in under a 2" Rain
 
Mary St. Polling place Block Building to left (Click for larger image) 



Association of State Floodplain Managers 2007 (ASFPM)
 (Click for larger image) 
 
"BUILDING IN THE FLOODPLAIN IS LIKE PITCHING YOUR TENT
ON A HIGHWAY WHEN THERE ARE NO CARS COMING"!

U of M bad presidents for floodplain floodway (FP) management: The U of M commissioned its own FP evaluation and found no FP on the Athletic Campus. The city did its own reevaluation and found it still had significant FP concerns, see City of Ann Arbor's own 2017 map above.

From the 2017 Report: "Allen Creek south of Hill Street (Figure 4.20) – On the effective FEMA DFIRM, the area of Allen Creek located south of Hill Street is not included in the 1.0 percent annual flood chance area (it is included in the 0.2 percent annual chance flood area). Using the InfoSWMM model data, the floodplain delineation would extend south through Hoover and S. State Street." (1.0% is 100-year chance flood - floodplain, 0.2% is 500-year chance flood, bold by us)

The U of M has continued to develop in the contested floodplain in this area creating more flood hazard upstream of this site. It is clear people in these homes upstream of this area may not know they are in the floodplain or know they should have flood insurance. Homeowners insurance does not cover overland flood damage, FEMA does, if you know you need it and get it in time, there is a waiting period. FEMA Flood Insurance is increasing at very high rates due to several factors including Global Warming effect on rainfall amounts.

Floodplains are for flooding according to experts like U of M Planning Professor and ASFPM.

Greenway and park location is the best and most viable use of this site. Reduce flooding, greatly increase tax base for the area, provide alternative transportation and create a green space close to city center that connects to the city center, and protect existing homes and businesses from flooding with Global Warming threats the city has purported to care about.

President Obama virtually forbid using federal funds for building in the 100-year (1% chance) floodplain and virtually forbid the use of federal funds for building any critical structures in the 500-year (.2% chance) floodplain due to Global Warming effects causing more intense rain events.




Still, No Action After Over a Year - Stormwater Pipes and Unapproved Flows Were Added to Two Public Wooded Natural Areas With City Notification But Without City Action, One Woodland is Owned by AAPS

Fairglen Commons First Martin Illegal 10" SW Pipe flowing into the Woodland Commons (ACWG; Click for larger image)

Illegal SW Pipe flowing into Eberwhite Woods, Eberwhite School, 

Eberwhite Woods Committee, AAPS (Circled in Red) (ACWG; Click for larger image)


We have had two cases now where illegal (as determined by city staff in both email and phone calls) stormwater pipes and stormwater flows added to natural areas on the west side recently, without action by the city to have them removed.

Residents, AAPS and natural area stewards should not be forced to bend over backwards or go to court to get relief from illegal actions by folks at companies who probably don't even live in our city which are causing harm. 

Or have the MDEQ come to town and directly order the city of Ann Arbor to take action as they have done in the recent past on the Beal Building on Kingsley St. deliberately blocking the Allen's Creek floodway.

ACWG and other residents forced the DEQ to also come to town to stop the City of Ann Arbor and Washtenaw County from placing the Ann Arbor Homeless Shelter in the FLOODWAY. This after the city, county and state approved permits to build this shelter, which had to be rescinded at a cost of over $1M to tax payers.*

These actions have a clear effect on Life and Property.


Ann Arbor Solar Tax Needs to Stop; Carbon Emission Reducing Energy Will Stop Global Warming and Mega Rain Events that will Follow; City of Ann Arbor Solar Panel Rebates


Ann Arbor's Mark Clevey and Nancy Fenton LARATT case that they lost; (ACWG; Click for larger image)

The State may change State Law to not include in the property tax a tax on solar panels on the homeowner who installs them, but will tax the next owner for the value of the solar panels. We need to have no property tax on solar panels like the vast majority of cities in Michigan.

The ACWG has proposed the city can use a Rebates as they do with Stormwater to encourage beneficial actions of its residents.

If you install Rain Gardens, Rain Barrels, Bio Swales or other specific rain capture devices you can sign up for a rebate or discount on your Stormwater Fees. The ACWG working with the Water Committee of the Env. Comm. were instrumental in getting these discounts enacted years ago when the ACWG had a 16 year Charter Member on the EC.

Solar Panel Rebates are an easy solution for a city that purports to support reductions in carbon emissions and community resiliency.

City of Ann Arbor is one of the few places in Michigan that Taxes Solar Panels on homes. Long past time to put a stop to this.

MLive: 'Cities can raise your property taxes for adding solar panels, Tax Tribunal rules' Ann Arbor Residents contest Ann Arbor's Solar Tax, 4-16-18.  Mark Clevey and Nancy Fenton Ann Arbor residents will 'take it to the Supreme Court' if necessary; Clevey's attorney, Samuel Field.


New Council Seems to Have a Better Attitude About Water and the Need to Protect Our Water Sources and Reduce Flood Hazard 


New City Council Members Event Card




Proposed Agenda and Updates:

November 15, 2018

Danaher/Pall/Gelman 1,4-Dioxane Plume - EPA Superfund Meeting Oct 30th, Governor Stopped Superfund Designation Full Evaluation; 19 ppb Now at West Park

 Wide Angle Image of EPA Superfund manager Michael Berkoff, Congresswoman Debbie Dingell, MDEQ
and other Stakeholders meeting 10-29-18 (ACWG, click for larger view )

The Coalition for Action on Remediation of Dioxane (CARD)  members attended the EPA and Congress Women Debbie Dingell meeting on Monday, Oct. 29th to discuss progress/or lack thereof on the Gelman Plume.

Link to the great video of this meeting courtesy of Roger Rayle.

Unlike the last EPA SuperFund meeting, this meeting was open meeting did not omit critical stakeholders.

With new leadership in Ann Arbor and in Lansing and with help from state NGO's we need to petition the new Governor to have EPA proceed with Superfund evaluation and potential Superfund Designation with a Responsible Party in the owner Danaher.

Knowledgeable sources have indicated that $50M and in 10 years we could potentially clean up the plume and save Barton Pond, many private wells and homes from contamination. 

    • New data on Near-Surface Groundwater (NSG) tests at West Park showed 19 ppb, 400% increase from 8 months ago. The NSG tests were not in the MDEQ plans till the ACWG and CARD Groups insisted on tests be made.
    • 280 ppb is the limit for contaminated flows into surface waters yet 1,900 ppb allowed in homes basements. No comment on plans to deal with this threat to homes and businesses in its path. Just 11 blocks upstream we have had readings of close to 1,000 ppb at Vet's Park area.
    • If homeowners or businesses have over 250 ppb in their basements and have a sump pump discharging it they will be in violation of State Law which limits it to below 251 ppb. What is a homeowner or business to do? No comment from our state, county or city leaders when asked at this meeting.  
    • It was disclosed that the Superfund Designation for the Gelman site would have proceeded for next step in the evaluation if the governor had not stopped it according to EPA Superfund manager Michael Berkoff. The site met the standard for next step in evaluation without doing most of the obvious evaluation which would have put it even higher standing.
    • We have new State and city leadership after the November election. We need to move to pressure them to support a continued Superfund Designation. 
    • Governor-Elect Whitmer would be more approachable than our current term-limited Republican Governor.
    • Still no comment on a real plan of action on the NSG exposure potential, not simply more minimal tests. Dan Bicknell's GEA Comments on the DEQ Shallow Groundwater Work Plan and his proposed plan is posted in the November 2016 Agenda. Dan had a very well and logical plan laid out for dealing with the initial investigation of the NSG issue which seems to be clearly a problem that needs addressing.
    • The ACWG and CARD Groups has asked for permanent monitoring of NSG wells on the near west side of the city with no indication of action on this.

YouTube of CARD/DEQ Regular Meeting October 2018, by Roger Rayle Chair of CARD (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cujtejRg2q0&t=2710s)

Lots of stores by Ryan Stanton in Ann Arbor News/MLive including this recent article 'EPA holding off on Superfund designation for Gelman dioxane plume'

Lots of details from Barbara Lucus at Dioxane.Org and WEMU News Program GreenRoom

See ACWG site pages EPA Superfund Option Details

Click here to view and/or sign in support of Superfund Designation


Stormwater Pipes and Unapproved Flows Were Added to Two Public Wooded Natural Areas With City Notification But Without City Action, One Woodland is Owned by AAPS


Fairglen Fst Martin Illegal 10" SW Pipe (ACWG; Click for larger image)

Illegal SW Pipe into Eberwhite School, Eberwhite Woods Committee, AAPS (Circled in Red) (ACWG; Click for larger image)

We have had two cases now where illegal (as determined by city staff in both email and phone calls) stormwater pipes added to natural areas on the west side recently, without action by the city to have them removed.

Fairglen:

One is in the Fairglen Commons Nature area, between Liberty and Glendale streets, where First Martin added an unpermitted 10' stormwater pipe without a city permit from Manchester West Apartments on Liberty St. The ACWG provided photos and map to show the offending installation. We received communication from city staff that this was not a permitted stormwater pipe and is illegal but have yet received notice that they have forced its removal. City staff did inspect the installation of the pipe. First Martin's workers who were doing the work said it was a replacement pipe they were installing. Not true by city and ACWG own checking of existing pipe location on 'As Built' stormwater pipe plans for the area. There was not a pipe to the Fairglen Wooded area at that location.

This additional unpermitted stormwater flow will cause more flooding issues for an overtaxed natural and residential area. Many homes are near the FEMA 2004 designated floodplain near the wooded commons and have had flooding in their backyard nearly up to their back doors.

We have worked successfully with city staff over the past 10 years to get flows reduced going into this neighborhood, reducing flood hazard and excess fast-food street trash filling up the woodland. Excessive erosion is a constant issue still in this woodland, causing silt clogged stormwater pipe maintenance issues, extensive tree loss and flood hazard, which negatively effects the tax base and livability of the neighborhood.

The city does not have a permit to store large amounts of stormwater in this wooded commons, up to 6' deep at times, causing real flood hazard and reducing livability, property values, wooded natural area and the tax base.

Eberwhite School Eberwhite Woods Committee AAPS:

The other is a ~8" stormwater pipe added to Eberwhite Woods added by a developer of new homes on Liberty next to Eberwhite Woods. This has been reported to city staff over a year ago as indicated to me by the Eberwhite School Eberwhite Woods Committee AAPS. They contacted the ACWG for information on this new pipe and asked if developers on Liberty to the east can just add a 8" stormwater pipe into the Eberwhite Woods without a permit. We advised them it would not be legal and they should contact the city staff. They were told by city staff that it was not a permitted stormwater pipe and the extensive stormwater erosion from the pipe would stop as they were requiring the pipe be removed. Over a year later the pipe is still sending stormwater into the woods and eroding one of the pedestrian paths and destroying vegetation in the Nature Area the volunteers of the EWC are trying hard to restore.

Residents, AAPS and natural area stewards should not be forced to bend over backwards or go to court to get relief from illegal actions by folks at companies who probably don't even live in our city which are causing harm.


Council Should Reconsider the Floodplain Overlay Planning That Was Voted Out of the City 2017 City Budget by Majority on City Council, Then They Approved over 110 New Homes in the Floodplain


June 14, 2015 - Major Flooding on Mary St. - U of M Athletic Campus Area - in Central Ann Arbor After Just Under 2" Rain

  • Current city council shot down the Floodplain Management Overlay Ordinance then goes on to approve over 110 new homes in the floodplains of Ann Arbor.
  • The cost to produce this plan it very high when you consider the U of M graduate students time and city staff time in the 4-year effort to research and put this together.
  • Council Members Jack Eaton, Sumi Kailasapathy and Jane Lumm had brought a resolution for Floodplain Management Overlay Ordinance at the first Council meeting in July 2016.
  • This Resolution has been postponed twice by majority vote of our City Council and then voted down.
  • This was a resolution worked on by city staff with graduate students and faculty from UM who did considerable research and work to its end, and whose help had been requested by city staff.
  • Comments by the opposing council members indicated they would consider adding to the 2017 City budget which would be more appropriate avenue to take.
  • Unfortunately, the option to include it in the 2017 budget was not supported by the majority on council.
  • This same majority went on to approve over 110 new homes in the floodplains of Ann Arbor. 
  • Adopting this ordinance would have been part of the effort to meet the Federal Community Rating System (CRS). The CRS ranks cities according to their compliance with federal flood management requirements. Currently, Ann Arbor does not fully participate in the CRS. Ann Arbor rates 6 of 10 with 1 being the best score fully engaged*. With each improvement in our local flood management plan, City residents and businesses become eligible for larger discounts on flood insurance which is predicted to increase greatly for at least the next decade according to city staff and council comments and, published reports.

Link: Planet Blue University of Michigan, Ann Arbor - Developing a Floodplain Management Overlay Ordinance for the City of Ann Arbor, MI




Update 10-29-18

NSG found at large jump from 4.4 to 19 ppb  400% increase 1,4 Dioxane at West Park Allen's Creek groundwater flows during very dry period with high pipe flows (assumed groundwater, NSG), according to MDEQ reported today at the EPA, local public and government meeting. This up from the last test at 4.4 ppb about 8 months ago.

It was also disclosed at this meeting that a Superfund site could/would have been declared by US EPA if EPA took the next steps for evaluation for the Gelman Site if Governor Rick Snyder had allowed it. He said no.

From the meeting:
 Wide Angle Image of EPA Superfund manager Michael Berkoff, Congresswoman Debbie Dingell, MDEQ
and other Stakeholders meeting 10-29-18 (ACWG, click for larger view )



Proposed Agenda and Updates:


October 18, 2018

 

Update: Jeff Hayner for Ward 1 City Council Democratic candidate is now also endorsed by the ACWG, see voting below.


Danaher/Pall/Gelman 1,4-Dioxane Plume - EPA Superfund Proposed Meeting Oct 29th* 



The Coalition for Action on Remediation of Dioxane (CARD) has been told that the EPA and Congress Women Debbie Dingell have scheduled a meeting for Monday, Oct. 29th to discuss progress/or lack thereof on the Gelman Plume.

EPA Superfund Stakeholder Meeting

Monday, Oct. 29th

Scio Township Hall, 827 North Zeeb Road


Unlike the last EPA SuperFund meeting we are assured by the EPA, it will be an open meeting and not omit critical stakeholders, which they note was not the intention of the EPA.

No progress on new monitoring wells or meaningful long-term plans for Near-Surface Groundwater (NSG) tests:

Still no comment on the need for more monitoring wells, the DEQ and CARD asked for in the past, be installed in the northern area where there are few now, and Judge Shelton in the past dismissed them as unnecessary so Gelman did not need to add them. We have a new judge in charge and need to submit this request. No response from DEQ on this request.

Still no comment on a real plan of action on the NSG exposure potential, not simply more tests. Dan Bicknell's GEA Comments on the DEQ Shallow Groundwater Work Plan and his proposed plan is posted in the November 2016 Agenda. Dan had a very well and logical plan laid out for dealing with the initial investigation of the NSG issue which seems to be clearly a problem that needs addressing.

The ACWG and CARD Groups has asked for permanent monitoring of NSG wells on the near west side of the city.

There is a Confidentiality Agreement (CA) amongst some of the Stake Holders in the Gelman Plume.

I ask to have an Agenda item added to the CARD Oct. meeting to discuss the CA Group but we ran out of time before we could discuss it.

CA Group was arranged and agreed to by a subset of Stake Holders and then approved by Judge Connors.

    • We were told it was a Court Ordered Group, not true, after pressure from CARD members it was later stated the judge approved the self-selected group of stakeholders.
    • EPA is not included in this CA Group.
    • When CARD members asked to see the CA Group agreement we were denied, until a CARD Board member threatened to FOIA it. 
    • This group has been "meeting" for well over a year.
    • Comments from members of the CA Group is it has not met very often.
    • No word on any potential agreements or discussions or deadlines.
    • This CA Group does not involve major critical stakeholders like SRSW, EPA Superfund, Ann Arbor Twp, Sierra Club Huron Valley Group, ACWG and others.

Seems time to open up this discussion and include the folks who are going to pay the cost of this non-cleanup Remediation. Their voices need to be heard and attended to. This issue is much too important to keep behind closed doors.

CARD members voted in the October meeting to keep the current Board for the next upcoming yearly term.

 

YouTube of CARD/DEQ Regular Meeting October 2018, by Roger Rayle Chair of CARD (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cujtejRg2q0&t=2710s)

Lots of stores by Ryan Stanton in Ann Arbor News/MLive including this recent article 'EPA holding off on Superfund designation for Gelman dioxane plume'

Lots of details from Barbara Lucus at Dioxane.Org and WEMU News Program GreenRoom

See ACWG site pages EPA Superfund Option Details

Click here to view and/or sign in support of Superfund Designation

 


Major Climate Report Describes a Strong Risk of Crisis as Early as 2040 - NYT



'A landmark report from the United Nations’ scientific panel on climate change paints a far more dire picture of the immediate consequences of climate change than previously thought and says that avoiding the damage requires transforming the world economy at a speed and scale that has “no documented historic precedent.”

The report, issued [last] Monday by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a group of scientists convened by the United Nations to guide world leaders, describes a world of worsening food shortages and wildfires, and a mass die-off of coral reefs as soon as 2040 — a period well within the lifetime of much of the global population.': NYT (bold by us)

Ann Arbor and other communities need to Lead and work to avoid these historic changes in climate.

  • We should not be building out our floodplains, the 2007 City of Ann Arbor Flood Hazard Mitigation Plan clearly stated the city should not be building in the current floodplain and work to remove existing buildings in the floodplain (see below).
  • We need to make sure the floodways are not obstructed like what ACWG opposed but was allowed to occur at the Y and potentially building in the floodplains which may really be the floodway next year as was the case for the Affordable Housing on N Main. This project was blocked when the maps changed the year after the plan was submitted to the city showing it was now in the floodway.
  • The U of M needs to work with the city to reduce unmitigated runoff main campus and other properties
  • Create a Greenway that will create a buffer area for flooding, sparing potentially thousands of home from catastrophic flooding
  • The Allen's Creek Watershed is particularly at risk with very steep slopes, very flashy runoff, overbuilt environment
  • We have 100's if not 1,000's of homes and businesses at risk of flooding
  • The ACWG has worked with the city to do some important improvements but more is need
  • The ACWG were leaders in Ann Arbor and county in the use of:
    • Blocking the Homeless Shelter plans to build in the Floodway
    • Tried to block building the Y in the floodway
    • Green Streets, working with the Water Committee of the Environmental Commission and city staff and local consultants, whereby Green Streets, many already installed, will capture and infiltrate all the water on them from the road sidewalks and adjacent buildings
    • Rain Barrel and Rain Garden use and fee rebates, reducing runoff, pollution and heat island effects
    • Porous Pavement, already on many streets and parking lots in Ann Arbor (including U of M) which allow runoff to capture and infiltrate all the water on them detoxifying pollutants naturally as it infiltrates through the Rice Cake like pavement, greatly reduce heat island and noise
    • West Park Flood Mitigation improvements
    • Writing the Allen's Creek Watershed Management Plan, unlike with the other plans, with no external funds or assistance, was adopted by city, county and state government.
    • Working with the Water Committee of the Environmental Commission and city staff to get a Flood Hazard Mitigation Plan passed in 2007
    • Preservation of Green parks and other Green landscapes
    • Championing the Allen's Creek Greenway for over 20 years which will greatly reduce flooding and polluted floodwaters into city neighborhoods, not to mention all the other real benefits
    • Championing additions to the CIP for funding for flood hazard reduction efforts

Link: NYT article

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/07/climate/ipcc-climate-report-2040.html



Adopted City Of Ann Arbor Flood Hazard Mitigation Plan 2007 - Should Not Be Ignored

City of Ann Arbor

The ACWG working closely with the Water Committee of the Environmental Commission helped write and get past this plan in 2007. Many of the major objectives have not been followed in recent years. Working closely with developers to develop new homes and businesses in flood-prone properties is not a recommendation of this plan.

The city has added over 110 new homes in the floodplain and many of the people in these homes may not know they are in the floodplain or know they should have flood insurance.

Some of the Major Objectives of the Plan:

  • "Public acquisition and management of flood prone properties.
  • Permanent relocation of flood prone structures to areas outside the floodplain.
  • Establish clear and consistent government policy for public owned land in the floodplain aimed at preventing public buildings in the floodplain.
  • Create Allen['s] Creek Greenway in floodplain area"
  • Regular data collection and modeling to update flood hazard maps
  • Decrease Flood Insurance Rates by meeting FEMA required flood hazard mitigation recommendations

A 2017 Hazard Mitigation Plan, which now includes the Flood Hazard Plan, has been produced and accepted. This plan, according to city staff, has many of the same aims as the 2007 Flood Hazard Mitigation Plan version.*

Link: Flood Hazard Mitigation Plan 2007

https://www.a2gov.org/departments/systems-planning/planning-areas/water-resources/floodplains/Documents/FloodplanMitigationPlan_Mar07.pdf


Please VOTE November 6th, 7am-8pm


Watershed friendly candidates include:





Proposed Agenda and Updates:


September 20, 2018

 

Danaher/Pall/Gelman 1,4-Dioxane Plume - EPA Proposed Meeting In September, Not Scheduled Currently

 

The Coalition for Action on Remediation of Dioxane (CARD) has been told that the EPA has proposed a meeting in September but no notice has been given to date. Some issues with scheduling have been given for past and present delays in giving early notice for EPA SuperFund meetings on the Dioxane Plume.

Unlike the last EPA SuperFund meeting we are assured by the EPA, it will be an open meeting and not omit critical stakeholders which they note was not the intention of the EPA.

At our last CARD meeting, I asked again for more monitoring wells, the DEQ and CARD asked for in the past, be installed in the northern area where there are few now, and Judge Shelton in the past dismissed them as unnecessary so Gelman did not need to add them. We have a new judge in charge and need to submit this request. No response from DEQ on this request.

Still no comment on a real plan of action on the NSG exposure potential, not simply more tests. Dan Bicknell's GEA Comments on the DEQ Shallow Groundwater Work Plan and his proposed plan is posted in the November 2016 Agenda. Dan had a very well and logical plan laid out for dealing with the initial investigation of the NSG issue which seems to be clearly a problem that needs addressing.

The ACWG and CARD Groups has asked for permanent monitoring of NSG wells on the near west side of the city.


 


Recent Discussions of Development of Polluted DTE Site at Depot St and Broadway St In the FW FP


City Web Image of FW FP of Proposed Mixed Use Development (Annotated ACWG)

Coal Tar found and shown by DEQ at river's edge at the site

subsequently cleaned up in recent years (WUOM)


  • There was a developer lead public meeting on 8-8-18 to discuss the proposed Mixed Use Development on the DTE site on Depot St.
  • The developer stated that they are seeking changes in the floodplain floodway map of the site through a Letter Of Map Revision FEMA (LoMR) with their consultants Smith Group. This seems like a not a sure thing, and they say if not plans will need to be changed.
  • The site is mainly floodway (FW) not floodplain (FP) as was stated at the meeting. A HUGE difference. FW is where floodwater is flowing, very dangerous.
  • The developers stated that test show the Groundwater below the site is contaminated.
  • Contaminated Groundwater tests need to be made to see if it is leaving the site, this is the site of the old Huron River bed.
  • At a public meeting for local residents at the Smith Group building on Sept 5, 2018, I was told 
    • They will be doing modeling for a FEMA LOMAR.
      • This model will NOT include the new opening in the RR Berm across from the site which may increase flood hazard on this site.
      • The model will NOT include Global Warming effects now being felt in Michigan, 1,000-year (.1% chance) storm this summer in the UP.
      • Will not take into account the very poorly calibrated flood maps used for this site.
  • They are planning a Brownfield partial cleanup with about $24M from taxpayers, and about $12M from the developer.
  • This will not be a full cleanup as they say this is not required in MI Part 201 statute.
  • DTE should be doing a cleanup of this site as the Responsible Party Legal Owner, not taxpayers.
  • The site is very polluted and in the old river bed as shown by their own presentation photos (also shown in the photo below), with a very high water table would be very likely if not certain.
  • Vapor Intrusion (VI) is a real issue being faced by many sites which were built over old dump sites. In Petoskey MI recently 11 of 14 condos were evacuated due to VI issues from building in an old dump site. 
  • The pollution maps produced by DTE and the city are not accurate. At the Allen's Creek Outlet on the west side of the site clearly there are significant black coal tar deposits visible with the sheet pile was installed, all the way down as far as they dug. This is not at all on the pollution maps.
  • The pollution on site should not be left in place to create a VI exposure risk, polluting the groundwater and river, and be left for future generations to deal with.

If done right could be a nice park close to the city center. When it floods hose it off and go back to being a park like many progressive (and non-progressive) cities are doing.

Shots of the presentation projected screenshots "changeable site plan", that were not distributed:


Draft Proposal (Photos and Annotations ACWG) 


Old Image showing DTE is in the Old River Bed

(AADL Holdings)

 

City-Owned 415 West Washington Site In Recent City Discussions for Park Space or Development


415 W. Washington off city site (Annotated ACWG)


2013 Reuter Report commissioned by the city indicates it can be up to nearly 9-foot floodplain on this site. This report should be made available and details of this floodplain height statement.

The DDA FTCH $1/4 to $1/2M budgeted study of the watershed, just upstream of this site. should also be made available to the public. The ACWG FOIA'ed the study but was just given a copy of the raw data used to do models but the report was never offered. FTCH said the DDA had to agree to make it available which they never did.

The city map of this site shows a 3-foot, not 9', floodplain last we checked and were informed of.

The LOMR for the Y site across the street, just 1 1/2 years after construction showed a change from the 3' as built to 4' which obligated the 'Free Board' (1-foot free space below the building to the floodplain) the building was permitted with.

The Y also creates a near full floodway dam with the fencing installed, which the DEQ allowed construction, contrary to ACWG protests. Chain Link Fencing is like a solid wall in hydrological models as it gets clogged up very quickly in a flood event. This has put many more non-floodplain homes at risk upstream and they do not even know it or have the warning to get flood insurance. It also very negatively effects the tax base of the area with this unnecessary flood risk.

Discussions regarding the future of this site need to consider:

    • The floodway and floodplain cover 99% of the site
    • The floodway is already greatly harmed by past practices and flood hazard reduced not increased by poor planning.
    • City staff have commented at public meetings in the past that these flood maps are very poorly calibrated with very little data used to create them.
    • This should be an anchor park in the Greenway/Tree Line as has been promoted by many in the city, including high ranking city officials.
    • The buildings should go
    • The chimney should be kept as a major nesting area for Chimney Swifts, which are a protected species
      • "The birds are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. A federal permit is needed to remove chimney swifts and their nests during the nesting season." : Washington Post 2017
    • Global Warming is clearly now creating a much more dangerous floodplain
    • The economic benefit, preservation of existing tax base and the protection of public health are clearly at risk with the development of this site.
    • Let it be a much needed near downtown park, when it floods, and it will flood, it protects, and hose it off and let it go back to being a Greenway Park Space.

Dr Larissa Larsen an Associate Professor in the School of Architecture and Planning U of M stated clearly as her first comment at the AA-Sponsored Climate Discussions a few years ago, 'first don't build in the floodplain' which the ACWG would completely agree.




One Potential Effect of Floodplain/Floodway Buildings, Drownings


Versailles Condos in Hudson Ohio (ACWG TEB)


Two people died in 2003 in Versailles Condos in Hudson Ohio, just south of Cleveland, built in the floodplain with parking below the building. 

A 100 year (1% chance) hit. While one man was trying to get his car out of a lower parking area another tried to help him and both drowned.

We have many videos from Ann Arbor on YouTube showing people trying to get cars out of parking areas in the floodplain/floodway, some below buildings, out of the floodwaters with great danger.

With the effects of Global Warming, even homes outside the floodplain can be at risk, especially if you have poorly calibrated maps and have new development in the existing floodplain and potentially real floodway, like unfortunately, we have here in Ann Arbor.

Like in Hudson Ohio, most folks do not realize they are living or parking their car in a floodplain/floodway till it floods and it is too late.






August 2018; No Meeting this Month due to Vacation and Travel Schedules  



Watershed Issues of Interest and Updates:

 

Danaher/Pall/Gelman 1,4-Dioxane Plume - MDEQ Agrees to do Additional Spot NSG Tests on Westside Early This Fall, But We Need a Plan

UPDATE: Mayor not Aware

The ACWG was at the Green Fair SRSW/CARD/ACWG Table on June 8th this summer when the Mayor stopped to discuss the Gelman Plume. When asked he said he was not aware of the over-year-long issue with the DEQ in getting any Near-Surface Groundwater tests and a plan in place. We would hope our city leaders were more aware of these issues and stepping up to help resolve them. He did not stay long and did not offer to lend support in this effort. We hope this changes. 

Changes in city council members in this last election may lead to a much better response to this contamination crisis facing the community. 


Well Graphs with Logs Near West Park Area (GEA; See details ACWG April 19, 2018 entry; Click for larger image)


At the last DEQ and Coalition for Action on Remediation of Dioxane (CARD) meeting August 7th the CARD Group again asked the DEQ to work up a plan to monitor Near-Surface Groundwater (NSG) tests and monitoring.

The homes and businesses on the city west side should not be left in the dark as to the potential or actual exposures to their homes and businesses. In 2017 the CARD Group ask for this and we are still waiting for details of this program for monitoring.

The MDEQ has said they will do additional NSGs in similar and the same locations a previously including West Park and 8th Street in early fall. These are spot checks and do not include, as of this last meeting, permanent NSG wells.

Dan Bicknell and CARD have commented, as shown in our 5-19-18 entry, the reasons for NSG monitoring and danger to the community. This is not what Judge Shelton had in mind when he instituted a Prohibition Zone (PZ) to comply with the very weak MI Part 201regulations, to prevent exposure to the compound, without the need to do a cleanup of the compound. 

No report on Danaher NSG sampling at the Gelman Site shown in Google aerial photos (as shown in 1-18-18 entry), not disclosed to CARD by Danaher. These were found by chance by Roger Rayle on Google Earth and now are not visible online.

The ACWG and CARD Groups have real concern for the potential for Vapor Intrusion (VI) and other exposures with NSG. The state has a new standard for Groundwater to Surface Water Interface (GSI) at 280 ppb (GW flows into creeks and the river) yet the standard for action level for VI near homes is 1,900 ppb. 280 ppb for the river but 1,900 for homes seems hard to explain.

Also, Sump Pumps can pose a real issue if up to 1,900 ppb is allowed near homes with sump pumps pumping contaminated groundwater into the city rainwater overflow (stormwater) system, they will be in violation of the 280 ppb GSI. No comment from the DEQ on this issue at the last CARD meeting.

We need a plan of action on the NSG exposure potential, not simply more tests. Dan Bicknell's GEA Comments on the DEQ Shallow Groundwater Work Plan and his proposed plan is posted in the November 2016 Agenda. Dan had a very well and logical plan laid out for dealing with the initial investigation of the NSG issue which seems to be clearly a problem that needs addressing.

The ACWG and CARD Groups has asked for permanent monitoring of NSG wells on the near west side of the city.

 

Recent Discussions of Development of Polluted DTE Site at Depot St and Broadway St In the FW FP


Update: On Sept. 5th at a developer public meeting at the Smith Group JJR offices, I asked the developer if the groundwater has been tested. I was told is was and it is contaminated. I also asked if the groundwater was tested to see if it is moving off site. They said it is not moving off site. As this site is the location of the old Huron River bed (see below) it is very likely to have a very high water table that could be getting contaminated.

Then will ask for about $24M Brownfield and pay about $12M of their own funds for a cleanup 'where needed'.

I asked about the LOMR they are seeking and if they are including the berm opening in the modeling, and they are not. I also commented on the effects of Global Warming and that also needs to be included in the modeling, and they did not comment on that.

I also commented on the issue of Vapor Intrusion (VI) on this site if not fully cleaned up, into the new structures. Michigan has now move to include VI in its site evaluations. In Petoskey the DEQ has evacuated 11 condos, built about 5 years ago on top of an old brownfield site, due to VI and potential mitigation requirements.



City Web Image of FW FP of Proposed Mixed Use Development (ACWG)

Coal Tar found and shown by DEQ at river's edge at the site, subsequently cleaned up in recent years (WUOM, Click for larger images)

  • There was a developer lead public meeting on 8-8-18 to discuss the proposed Mixed Use Development on the DTE site near Depot St. and Broadway St.
  • The developer stated that they are seeking changes in the floodplain floodway map of the site through a Letter Of Map Revision FEMA (LoMR) with their consultants Smith Group. This seems like a not a sure thing, and if not plans will need to be changed.
  • The site is mainly floodway (FW) not floodplain (FP) as was stated at the meeting. A HUGE difference. FW is where floodwater is flowing, very dangerous.
    Note that Smith Group was the same group that erroneously told the city and Allen's Creek Watershed Group that the 1992 FEMA map was made with 1992 data when in fact, verified by DEQ and FEMA, it was 1968 data (big 100-year flood data) during the New Homeless Shelter planning and public meetings. The city "leaders" chose to ignore this erroneous statement.
  • As shown below the site is in the old River Bed of the Huron River which was moved for a Coal Gasification Plant on the site. Having a dump site in the old river bed is not logical.
  • Also, Smith Group and city were forced to redo the Shelter plan as the ACWG and a resident hired consultant showed it was in the floodway, not legal. A $1M mistake and, threat to life and health.
    • They moved the shelter up the hill, still in the FP with some emergency exits into the FW (where floodwaters would be flowing, floodway), a very bad plan.
  • Smith Group is now in the Depot St. Fst Martin building in the floodplain where they are flooded often and cars destroyed in the below building parking/flooding area. See  YouTube videos for many videos of flooded cars that are NSFW with lots of $%$&, Ann Arbor - not in a good light.
    If the FP map does not change this plan will have big changes or not be done at all, as major parts are in the current FW.
    Globel Warming is not considered by them to be an issue, even with more flooding for SEM by all reasonable accounts.
    They are not proposing a cleanup from what I heard, even when I asked direct questions they were vague.
  • The site is very polluted and in the old river bed as shown by their own presentation photos (also shown in photo below), with a very high water table would be very likely if not certain.
  • Vapor Intrusion is a real issue being faced by many sites which were built over old dump sites. In Petoskey MI recently 11 of 14 condos were evacuated due to VI issues from building in an old dump site. 
  • I commented this site is a disgrace to potentially be polluting the river and groundwater without real tests and city officials have looked the other way for too long.
  • The pollution maps produced by DTE and the city are not accurate. At the Allen's Creek Outlet on the west side of the site clearly there are significant black coal tar deposits visible with the sheet pile was installed, all the way down as far as they dug. This is not at all on the pollution maps.
  • DTE is the Responsible Party (RP), as I commented, and should clean up the site. To which they, seemed to me, to be very clear DTE did not plan to do a cleanup.
  • They hinted they will work to get a Brown Field: the public would pay the cost of cleanup.
  • We need to require them to do testing of the GW and river to finally get a full cleanup of this site.
  • We could petition EPA for Superfund if they are not willing to deal with this polluted site in our Huron River.
  • They commented about all the meetings on this with city stakeholder groups, but not with the ACWG or SCHVG, for some reason.
  • The city RR Track berm opening just upstream, coming next year, will add more floodwaters to this site than historically and currently as the berm acts like a dam holding back water and flooding many homes upstream. This is not considered it would seem.


If done right could be a nice park close to the city center. When it floods hose it off and go back to being a park like many progressive (and non-progressive) cities are doing with floodplain flood-prone areas.


Shots of the presentation projected screenshots "changeable site plan", that were not distributed:



Draft Proposal (Photos and Annotations ACWG) 


Old Image showing DTE is in the Old River Bed

(AADL Holdings; Click for larger images)


Exposure to coal tar or coal-tar pitch is associated with an increased risk of skin cancer. Other types of cancer, including lung, bladder, kidney, and digestive tract cancer, have also been linked to occupational exposure to coal tar and coal-tar pitch.*



City of Ann Arbor Purchases Twelve New Sewer Flow Gauges as Part of the Sanitary Manhole Rehabilitation Project



Example of a Smart Wireless Flow Gauge (Civil + Structural Engineer Magazine)


City staff have recently communicated to ACWG that they now have purchased 12 of our own sewer flow gauges on July 30. 2018, see message below.

As commented here before the ACWG has been advocating for Smart Sewers for years. We sited in our May 17, 2018 Agenda, and posted on our site, an NPR national story on how effective they can be and at low cost in a city similar to size as Ann Arbor.

As noted in an NPR May 8, 2018 report "These Smart Sewers Are Part Of A Growing Trend Connecting Infrastructure To The Internet" and, in South Bend Indiana "According to city officials, the sensors save the city a ton of money, more than $500 million."

The city and county over the years have paid to install temporary gauging for many studies, at great expense, many cases in the recent past at close to $10K each, then they are removed. This is for both sanitary and stormwater flows.

With permanent gauges will save money, and changes in development could have more accurate predictions of flood potential with proposed added flows. Additionally, the data would be invaluable in modeling efforts to show the most 'bang for the buck' in our city and county sanitary and stormwater upgrade planning and upgrades to the floodplain map.

From Nick Hutchinson, P.E. City Engineer - Public Services Area - Engineering, July 30. 2018:

'Construction will be starting soon on the Sanitary Manhole Rehabilitation Project, which will install gasketed manhole covers and make other manhole repairs with the aim reducing infiltration into the Sanitary Sewer system. The project will work on approximately 300 manholes in flood-prone areas throughout the City. Construction costs for the project are approximately $1.08 million, and it will be funded from money collected from the Developer Offset Mitigation Program.

A revision to “Table A” of the design flow rates is about to be issues. This is a little down into the weeds, technically speaking, but it was one of the recommendations that came out of the SSWWE Report.

Of the 6 project areas identified in the SSWWE Report – Preliminary engineering is complete (or near complete) for 4 of the areas. Final design/construction will be programmed for these project into Capital Improvements Plan this Fall. We are continuing to monitor (with flow meters) the final 2 areas (First/Miller and State/Hoover areas) which is necessary in order to understand what improvements are needed in these areas.

The City has purchased 12 of its own flow meters which we are currently being used to monitor the system in key locations.

The City is taking a proactive approach to managing the sanitary sewer collection system by developing an Asset Management Plan (AMP) which is anticipated to be completed at the end of this year.'


Beal Building at Kingsley St. Now Without Lock Down, Required Swing Up Flood Hazard Prevention Fencing



Beal Building Kingsley St. 07-29-18

(Removed Locks on Fencing, ACWG; Click for Larger Image)

  • City staff were notified and indicated to ACWG that the locks holding down the swing up flood hazard fencing have been removed as requested by staff, as now shown in the photo.
  • These fence under the elevated building were not to be locked down to prevent flood hazards for homes upstream do to a much higher floodplain as the locked down fencing would cause blockage to flows to the river.
  • Fencing clogs up quickly in a flood and acts like a cement wall in blocking flood water flow causing more unnecessary and dangerous flooding upstream.
  • This is the second time this has happened in recent years. 

  • The first time the city was notified by the ACWG it took many months and an ACWG request to the MDEQ, and a special visit from the MDEQ, to force the city leadership to get the fences unlocked.
  • Clearly, there needs to be protections for upstream residents from unnecessary and dangerous flood hazard. 
  • Not clear if a fine or other action was taken for this second egregious infraction.


PFAS Issues Discussed in Recent WEMU Issues of the Environment, July 25 2018

With Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) (Toxic Teflon related compounds) found in our drinking water and now fish in the Huron River wanted to pass along a new source of information that may be of interest from PFAS toxicology scientist at UofM WEMU interview on PFAS from Professor Rita Loch Caruso PhD and her U of M SPH M-LEEaD Center

Link to WEMU Radio's Recent Issues of the Environment Interview:  http://www.wemu.org/post/issues-environment-pfas-contamination-throughout-michigan-and-washtenaw-county

WEMU; Click for larger image

Environmental Health in Michigan:
Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS)
Wed July 25 2018
INTERVIEW: “Issues Of The Environment: PFAs Contamination Throughout Michigan

And In Washtenaw County” with Rita Loch-Caruso, PhD (SPH University of Michigan, Ann Arbor)







(*Some agenda items may have been corrected for typos and include follow up updates when posted here.)