Recent ACWG Meeting Agenda Items and Updates


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Proposed Agenda:


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.
  • They 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, 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.

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:

 

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)




July 2018; No Meeting this Month due to Vacation and Travel Schedules


Watershed Issues of Interest:


Danaher/Pall/Gelman 1,4-Dioxane Plume - MDEQ Agrees to do Additional NSG Tests on Westside, But We Need a Plan


 
At the last Coalition for Action on Remediation of Dioxane (CARD) Meeting July 10th the MDEQ has said they will do additional Near-Surface Groundwater (NSG) tests in similar and the same locations a previously including West Park and 8th Street.

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.


 

Beal Building at Kingsley St. Again Found with Lock Down Swing Up Flood Hazard Prevention Fencing by ACWG

Beal Building Kingsley St. 6-10-2018 (Click for larger image)

(Some of the Removed Locks circled, ACWG; Right 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 quickly as requested by staff.
  • These fences under the elevated building were not to be locked down to prevent flood hazards for homes upstream due 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 1 1/2 years 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.


Great Lakes Now: Michigan’s Upper Peninsula 1,000 Year Storm (.1% chance): “the new normal”


MLive - UP 1,000 Year Rain (click for larger image)

On June 17 a historic 1,000 Year Storm (.1% chance) brought up to 10 inches of rain on portions of the MI UP causing millions of dollars in damage.

Scientists now say this is the 'New Normal' with Globel Warming effects on Michigan.

Great Lake Now:

'Scientist says many in area lack a “sense of urgency” 

Is the extreme weather that wreaked havoc on parts of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula this week a storm event that can be set aside as an aberration?

[MTI Professor of Environmental History Nancy] Langston told Great Lakes Now that following similar historic storm events in 2012 and 2016, the 2018 version “should be considered the new normal.”

Michigan Tech’s Langston says she is worried about the slow pace of planning for a future where extreme weather is the new normal. '

More Extreme Precipitation Events Great Lakes Region:

Great Lakes Integrated Sciences + Assessments (GLISA; Ann Arbor, MI):

'There are several possible causes for the observed increase in extreme precipitation events over the last century. Perhaps the most prominent hypothesis is that rising global surface temperatures have increased evaporation and added water vapor to the atmosphere. With more heat and more moisture, two of the key ingredients for storm development are now more abundant, leading to an increase in extreme precipitation.

[In the Great Lakes Region] Precipitation falling during heavy, multi-day wet periods has also increased dramatically.

The observed increased in heavy rain events across the region is already contributing to more storm water management problems.'

GLISA - 440 Church Street, Dana Building, Ann Arbor, MI;  GLISA is a partnership between the University of Michigan and Michigan State University, housed in the University of Michigan School for Environment and Sustainability (SEAS).


Great Lake Now - https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2018/06/michigans-upper-peninsula-storm-the-new-normal/

MLive - https://www.mlive.com/news/index.ssf/2018/06/photos_show_michigans_up_devas.html

Great Lakes Integrated Sciences + Assessments


VOTE on August 7th Primary Elections For ACWG, Sierra Club Endorsed and, Environmentally and Watershed Friendly Candidates


Please VOTE Aug 7th



 



Proposed Agenda:

June 21, 2018


Danaher/Pall/Gelman 1,4-Dioxane - EPA Meeting May 17 Error in Invitations Omits Many Critical Stakeholders

US EPA Region 5 had a stakeholder meeting in Scio Township on May 17 to discuss the Danaher/Pall/Gelman 1,4 Dioxane plume, but many critical stakeholders were not invited.

Major stakeholders were not effectively notified or invited to attend and make comment on the current and past progress, or lack thereof, in the testing and cleanup of the groundwater contamination.

Members of the EPA Superfund petitioners Sierra Club Huron Valley Group, Coalition for Action on Remediation of Dioxane (CARD) board members and others were not given effective or any notice.

I find this unacceptable and contrary to any public engagement effort of this magnitude.

It is most unfortunate we have a, questionably legal, "Public Officials' Self-imposed Confidentially Agreement" among some of the critical stakeholders and in addition this restricted access to public meetings.

Michael Berkoff (EPA Region 5) who is watching this site for EPA has emailed that there was a mixup and he had hoped all interested parties would attend like the last meeting with the EPA.

He writes '... moving forward is that the invitation list is at least as broad as that December meeting. I would be happy to work with everyone on finding the appropriate venue for EPA’s participation. Whatever that will be, the invitation list will be open to all interested stakeholders.'

Unfortunately, Gelman and MDEQ are still dragging their feet on Near-Surface Groundwater (NSG) monitoring. Permanent wells are needed to monitor this exposure potential. Just 11 blocks from the NSG values of 4 to 2 ppb in 3 tests at West Park and 8th Stree Vet's Park is over 1,000 ppb. The DEQ was not forthcoming in doing NSG tests and needed extensive pressure for ACWG and CARD.

Contingency plans for drinking water well contamination in Scio Twp. is also, still not being addressed, this with some wells in Scio Twp. now up to 4 ppb with the new MI drinking water standard at 7.2 ppb. 


Roger Rayle's Youtube Video of te last CARD June 5th meeting where this was discussed - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hc5DViq6Flc&t=657s

 

2018 Ann Arbor Green Fair - SRSW, CARD, ACWG Staffed a Table 


Rita and Shana at the Table at 2018 Green Fair Table (Click or Right Click for Larger Image; ACWG)


Lots of folks stopped by and asked a lot of questions, and signed up to be on the CARD email list.  Roger Rayle (Scio Residents for Safe Water - SRSW, CARD), Rita Loch Caruso (UM SPH, CARD, ACWG), Shana Milkie (CARD) and I were staffing the table again this year.

Many folks still are surprised this plume is still growing and a cleanup is not taking place, just a containment effort to let it flow to the Huron River. 

Two women in front of the table facing the camera were some of the organizers for the UM SEAS Galaxy 2018 1,4 Dioxane Cherrette who invited Rita, Roger and I, among a few others, to be experts the same weekend of the Green Fair. Expecting more results and videos from this Cherrette in weeks to come.


Visit to the Atlanta BeltLine Greenway - More Successful than Anyone Though in Just a Few Years


 

Atlanta BeltLine Spring 2018 (Click or Right Click for Larger Image; ACWG) 

In a visit to the Atlanta BeltLine Greenway in the spring of this year, it was clear it has turned a rundown part of Atlanta into a major gathering place for residents and visitors. Even with it only about 50% complete it has huge numbers of walkers and bikers using it daily.

Stores along the BeltLine are opening main entrances in the former back of the store for BeltLine folks. Large numbers of new stores are opening in renovated and new buildings along the BeltLine. Many of these stores were very crowded on this Saturday in the spring.

Folks are walking and biking to downtown Atlanta for work and play just off the BeltLine which is planned to circle the city when finished. A major center of Atlanta is only a few blocks from the BeltLine.

Property along the BeltLine has gone up in value and, new apartments and condo buildings are being built.

Much like the potential Allen's Creek Greenway/Tree Line, this could be a very similar outcome for Ann Arbor, an economic, environmental and social success.

In discussion with a BeltLine planner consultant working in Ann Arbor on Protected Bike Lanes and improved streets currently, she said they are working to preserve affordable housing along the western side of the Beltline with a tax freeze program for eligible apartment buildings and homes. This is an issue facing Ann Arbor with gentrification as the Greenway develops.

Link: Atlanta BeltLine // Where Atlanta Comes Together.

Link: Ann Arbor Tree Line Link to Master Plan




Proposed Agenda:

May 17, 2018 


UPDATE: Here is the link to the full Video of the PFAS in S.W. Michigan talk, described below, recently posted by Michigan Center on Lifestage Environmental Exposures and Disease (M-LEEaD) on an Updated Jun 25, 2018 Post https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OkDdq9i1Qg8


Danaher/Pall/Gelman 1,4-Dioxane Comments Regarding Recent Quarterly Report From MDEQ 


Below is comment from Dan Bicknell on the Application of Updated Groundwater-Surface Water Interface (GSI) Dioxane Criterion. The ACWG agrees with this comment.

Note: ug/L dioxane is the same as ppb.

Gelman Site - Application of Updated Groundwater-Surface Water Interface (GSI) Dioxane Criterion

In March 2018, DEQ updated the dioxane Groundwater-Surface Water Interface Criterion (GSI), see below Ann Arbor News article.  However, in the Ann Arbor News article, the DEQ representative stated that for the Gelman Site "The current groundwater remedy that is being implemented by Gelman pursuant to the consent judgment overseen by the DEQ and Washtenaw Circuit Court does not require Gelman to directly address the GSI, in part because the previous numbers were much higher and were not included in the court-ordered remedy,"  This statement by DEQ is not factually correct, as the value of 2,800 ug/L was expressly included in the Court Order and the basis for the 2,800 ug/L dioxane cleanup criterion in the Court Order was predicated upon a GSI of 2,800 ug/L dioxane.  The revised GSI is a DEQ remedial criterion which must be met by Gelman in the clean-up to comply with State of Michigan laws and regulations.

Below is an extract from the 2004 Court Order which states that Gelman must remediate the groundwater through purging (extraction) so that any escaping groundwater will not exceed 2,800 ug/L dioxane.  The 2,800 ug/L value is expressly stated in the Court Order and the basis for the 2,800 ug/L dioxane was the GSI criterion at the time.  In various public meetings over the past many years, DEQ has always said that the 2,800 ug/L dioxane value was based upon the GSI criterion.


 The Court believes that treatment and reinjection of the Unit E water

The DEQ prepared a 2005 Fact Sheet to explain the establishment of the Prohibition Zone.  As part of this DEQ Fact Sheet, the document detailed the relevant dioxane cleanup criteria, see below extract from the Fact Sheet.  The DEQ indicated that there are two relevant dioxane remedial criteria which must be attained by Gelman: drinking water; and GSI.   The DEQ Fact Sheet specifically states that the 2005 Court Order directly addresses the GSI criterion.

Attaining all applicable or relevant and appropriate State of Michigan remedial criteria is required in a Gelman clean-up.  For DEQ to suggest otherwise constitutes malfeasance.

Daniel J. Bicknell, MPH

President

Global Environment Alliance, LLC

Phone - 248-720-9432

danjbicknell@live.com


WUOM Environment Report 4-19-18:   Retired DEQ staffer: "Politics have become a much bigger part of what's driving the DEQ."

U of M Michigan Radio, WUOM 


Sybil Kolon, the staffer, worked for many years with the DEQ on the Gelman Plume as the site manager for DEQ. She worked with local groups including the CARD Group and the ACWG.

She comments that the issue is that the state is not protecting the community due to political efforts, that now, do not allow the DEQ to deal with the pollution or prevention of pollution.

Seems, in the case of the Gelman Site, this speaks volumes as to what the EPA would legally do vs the State of Michigan, a black and white difference.


Clips from the interview:

'Sybil Kolon is retired from the Department of Environmental Quality. She worked in the Remediation and Redevelopment Division for 24 years. 

...

My concern is that whenever you leave contamination in the ground or in the groundwater, you may think you have it under control, but the environment, the groundwater is very complex and it's hard to know what's going to happen over time," she says.

...

I don't know what else I could've done, if I could go back in time, because they weren't listening to us back then, and I don't know why they would," she says. "But I would just say that citizens need to be more engaged in what's going on with our department and electing legislators who are going to put their interests at least on equal footing with the regulated community.'

(bold by us)

Link: http://michiganradio.org/post/retired-deq-staffer-politics-have-become-much-bigger-part-whats-driving-deq

 

PFAS in S.W. Michigan | 05/16/2018, 4pm | Talk and Webinar Sponsored by M-LEEaD (Univ of MI) at School of Public Health Ann Arbor

PFOS (arbetsochmiljomedicin.se)


Talk and Webinar on "unfolding groundwater contamination in southwest Michigan, sponsored by the M-LEEaD Center. Panelists will describe the process of building scientific knowledge about the scope of the contamination and its public health impacts, and will describe potential solutions to groundwater contamination with PFAS and similar chemicals."

PFAS are Teflon related chemicals of high toxicological concern.

  • MDEQ has set a standard for combined PFOS PFOA Drinking Water Criterion at 0.07 ppb (70 parts per trillion)!! 
  • Ann Arbor has concentrations of PFAS's in the drinking water currently range between .008-.015 ppb but can be as high as 45 ppt (*corrected not ppb), source unknown
  • MI has many sites with high levels of PFOS and other PFOA's
  • All MI environmental remediation sites are now being screened and reevaluated by MDEQ for PFOS and PFOA's and potential actions to deal with this contaminant
  • CARD and ACWG founding member Professor Rita Loch-Caruso PhD SPH-UM will be one of the presenters and is Director of the M-LEEad Center at SPH.
  • Michigan Center on Lifestage Environmental Exposures and Disease (M-LEEaD); http://mleead.umich.edu/
  • Here is the link to the full Video of the talk recently 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

Location of Talk SPH-UM Ann Arbor:

School Public Health (SPH) Building 1 (SPH Building on North side of Tower)
Rm 3755  from 4:00 – 5:30 pm.   Paid parking options in the area including UM Hospital just to the north.


NPR  May 8, 2018: These Smart Sewers Are Part Of A Growing Trend Connecting Infrastructure To The Internet


Civil + Structural Engineer Magazine

The ACWG has been advocating for Smart Sewers for years. Here is an NPR national story on how effective they can be and at low cost in a city similar to size as Ann Arbor.

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 $10K each, then they are removed. This is for both sanitary and stormwater flows.

With permenent gauges changes in development could have 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.

We had an estimated 600,000-gallon sewage overflow directly into the Huron River in the summer of 2016 that may have occurred undetected over several days. This technology would notify staff of potential blockages and breaks via radio transmissions even before a spill occurred.

From the report:

'In South Bend, Ind., officials took the smart sensor underground into the city's sewer system.

LUIS MONTESTRUQUE: They are a manhole cover. They have a box underneath that has a microprocessor and a radio and a battery, and they have a sensor. So these are intelligent manhole covers that are looking down in the sewer, and they're broadcasting every five minutes the data.

WEINGART: That sensor helps city workers to better direct sewer water to specific pipes. Luis Montestruque worked on the project as a graduate student, then founded the company that sells the sensors to South Bend's sewer department.

WEINGART: According to city officials, the sensors save the city a ton of money, more than $500 million. And they've made city workers like Marvin Smith more efficient.

WEINGART: All of this smart infrastructure and the ideas of what to do next are part of what's called the Internet of things, technology that's used to track or solve physical problems in new ways.'

(bold by us)

Links

https://www.npr.org/2018/05/08/609493403/these-smart-sewers-are-part-of-a-growing-trend-connecting-infrastructure-to-the-

ACWG Past Agenda Items on this subject


Allen Creek Railroad Berm Opening Project Should not be 'Derailed'

Proposed Berm Opening  (2017; Right Click for Larger Image) (City of Ann Arbor) 

  • Some have recently questioned city council and others on the need for the Allen('s) Creek Railroad Berm Opening Project
  • This already approved project will allow flood water to flow to the river under the berm which currently acts as a dam. This will greatly reduce flood hazard in the area. Many of the homes in the area that now flood may not have flooding with this opening to the river in the 100 year (1% chance) rain event.
  • This will allow a much-needed connection with the Greenway to the B2B trail.
  • Pollution levels on the northeast side of the track [up to the Allen's Creek Outlet] need to be tested and the pollution needs to be cleaned up. Pollution levels near the Allen's Creek outlet are very high and not clearly shown on this map. Pollution at this site is no doubt polluting the groundwater and river and, during a major flood will be washed into the Huron River. Why our state, city, county, Huron River Watershed Council and DTE are not dealing with this pollution is a major issue.
  • Access to the berm opening does not seem to be clearly defined. During public meetings about this project, the First Martin building owners near the opening were not interested in a trail near the building. The berm will greatly enhance the value of the First Martin building lowing the floodplain by a large amount.
  • The ACWG has petitioned for many years for this project with the benefits discussed above and others, and attended many public meetings over the past few years to lobby for this to be funded.
  • Derailing this project would be a major loss of opportunity to improve the neighbourhood, near businesses, the B2B Trail, Allen('s) Creek Greenway/TreeLine and the community, and reduce flood hazard and flood insurance rates.
  • Link to recent MLive Article: 'Plan unveiled for new tunnel to Ann Arbor's riverfront' - MLive

   


Proposed Agenda:

April 19, 2018


Danaher/Pall/Gelman 1,4-Dioxane Comments Regarding Recent Quarterly Report From MDEQ 


 

Below is Dan Bicknell's Comments to the EPA and DEQ in response to the last Gelman Quarterly Report issued by MDEQ March 2018.

Dan has been working with the Scio Twp, Ann Arbor Twp and Sierra Club Huron Valley Group on an EPA Superfund Petition for the Gelman Plume.

The ACWG supports these comments and suggestions, and would like the EPA to evaluate and suggest remedies or most preferably to take over the full cleanup of the site to its original status before Gelman started using the site. EPA unlike the state of Michigan will do a full cleanup if it is designated an EPA Superfund Site and force the Responsible Party to cover the cost.

Daniel J. Bicknell, MPH
President
Global Environment Alliance, LLC
danjbicknell@live.com
geallc.org

Dan's Excerpted Comment to EPA's Michael Berkoff, Remedial Project Manager, Superfund Division, EPA Region 5:

Residential Well Sampling and Future Residential Well Sampling. 

There was no DEQ discussion to address the current and future contamination of residential wells.  At the November 2017 Stakeholder Meeting, State Representatives discussed the requirement to get ahead of the expanding dioxane plume towards Scio Township residential wells, including establishing a strategy to provide safe drinking water to residential wells which become contaminated above the dioxane drinking water criteria.  As there are currently residential wells contaminated with dioxane outside of any future planned municipal potable water system and the dioxane plume is moving towards numerous other residential wells, it is only prudent to prepare contingency plans to provide a safe water supply to wells which will become contaminated under the current DEQ dilution remedy.  

 

Additionally, the community has long requested that the DEQ analyze residential drinking water wells with the most reliable and sensitive analytical method – Method 522 which has a detection level of approximately 0.07 ug/L dioxane, for example see CARD Response Letter to PALL Life Sciences Corporation & Michigan Department of Environmental Protection Dioxane Analytical Methods – June 2015.   The normal analytical method used by the DEQ laboratory has a dioxane detection limit of approximately 1 ug/L.  Method 522 is the preferred USEPA analytical method for dioxane in residential well water.  By using Method 522 for residential drinking water well dioxane analysis: the public and agencies will have better tracking of the dioxane plume path; allow residences to protect themselves from any exposure to dioxane; and assist in the forward planning of an alternant water supply system.

 

Monitoring Well Sampling.  There is no DEQ discuss about the adequacy of the current Monitoring Well Network.  In February 2015, Gelman provided DEQ with a formal document requesting modification to the Groundwater Monitoring Program, which included the reduction in many monitoring well sampling frequencies.  CARD reviewed the Gelman document and provided to DEQ a formal response, which was provided recently to USEPA - CARD Response Letter to PALL Life Sciences Corporation – Groundwater Monitoring Program February 2015 – May 2015.  The CARD Response Letter included a comprehensive monitoring well strategy with locations of new monitoring wells to address the current Monitoring Well Network deficiencies.  DEQ has never provided a formal response to the Gelman or CARD technical documents.  As presented in the Petition Requesting a Preliminary Assessment – Supplemental Information Document, the current Monitoring Well Network deficiencies include:  having northern Boundary Well MW-129 cover a 0.375 mile distance immediately up-gradient of potentially impacted Scio Township residential wells, see below figure; and allowing the distance between the key northern Boundary Monitoring Wells MW-120 and MW-135 to be approximately one mile.  Currently, DEQ is using Elizabeth Road residential wells to track the dioxane plume which has gone past the last northwestern monitoring wells MW-133 and MW-121, see below figure.   Clearly, additional monitoring wells are required to track the extent and magnitude of the dioxane plume.

 




Current Remediation Activities.  There is no discussion on the effectiveness of the limited groundwater extraction to contain the dioxane plume or eliminate the source of the dioxane plume; only information on how much groundwater is extracted over the reporting period.  There is no discussion of the fact that the remedy allows the dioxane plume to migrate in all directions under what DEQ has described in City and County public meetings as a “dilution/dispersion” remedy.  The reporting period data demonstrate that the source area plume continues to expand off of the Former Gelman Property and the outer margins of the plume are dispersing in all directions.

 

Surface Water and Sewer Sampling.  The DEQ Report only provides data generated over the reporting period.  There is no discussion on what the data show.  For example, the Allen Creek Drain December 2017 water sample from the southwest corner of West Park detected 4.4 ug/L of dioxane.  This is the same sensitive heavily populated Old West Side area where DEQ found in 2016 that the shallow groundwater ranged from 1.9 ug/L to 3.3 ug/L dioxane.   These DEQ storm sewer results near West Park indicate that the Gelman dioxane shallow plume may be‎ at a higher concentration than found in the past 2016 DEQ / Gelman temporary soil boring work.  There needs to be a full extent and magnitude of dioxane contamination investigation ‎done in the shallow groundwater about the Old West Side of Ann Arbor /West Park Area.   The receptors include construction and utility workers and residents in buildings. The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality has established an approximately 80 ug/L dioxane criterion protectiv


e of a worker in a trench in contact with shallow groundwater.  USEPA Headquarters Staff has referenced this Virginia DEQ value, as there is no USEPA or Michigan DEQ criterion protective of a worker in a trench route of exposure.  It should be noted that any dioxane contaminated shallow groundwater infiltrating the Allen Creek Drain would be diluted by storm water, therefore, the surrounding dioxane contaminated shallow groundwater is likely significantly higher than the detected 4.4 ug/l dioxane in the storm water. 

 

Stakeholder Issues

Risks posed by soil and sediment contaminated with dioxane stemming from the Former Gelman Plant.  DEQ indicates that Gelman has collected additional soil and groundwater samples at the Former Gelman Plant and will provide a report to DEQ in the future.  There is no mention by the DEQ that the Former Gelman Plant property is undergoing significant changes, including the construction of a large church on the property, thereby, creating exposure pathways to construction workers and church attendees not covered in the current risk evaluation.  As presented by the Petitioner in the August 2017 document – Current & Future Routes of Exposure to the Gelman Sciences, Inc. Site Dioxane Contamination, inhalation is the most common route of human exposure to dioxane and dioxane readily evaporates from soil.  The USEPA Regional Screening Level (RSL) for a worker exposure to soil is 24 mg/kg dioxane based primarily on an inhalation risk.  There is no DEQ established dioxane criterion for worker soil exposure covering all relevant routes of exposure.  As the USEPA Preliminary Assessment identified, there is a very large data gap in what is the concentration of dioxane in the residual soils due to a lack of recent on-site soil data.  The older, but most recent, available on-site soil data show that the dioxane soil concentrations ranged over 1,000 mg/kg.  The receptors at the site are changing and require a more detailed risk study which has not been done by DEQ or Gelman.

 

Clearly define the groundwater migration pathways and how does the past data characterize the deep aquifer plume.  In response to this question, DEQ simply refers USEPA to “numerous reports on file”.  There is no DEQ discussion on whether it agrees with the Gelman groundwater report conclusions on file; nor what the DEQ view on the groundwater migration pathways are for the dioxane plume.  There is no groundwater model for the dioxane plume.  As part of the DEQ oversight of Gelman and the CJ, DEQ needs independently to evaluate the dioxane plume migration.

 

In the DEQ referenced reports, Gelman has been continually incorrect on what is the direction of the dioxane plume migration. 

·         Gelman stated in the Gelman 2007 Phase 2 Report that “The predicted pathway of the plume is well within the existing Prohibition Zone”, which was wrong causing the loss of numerous Evergreen Area domestic water wells.  A northern Expanded Prohibition Zone was created in March 2011.

·         Gelman stated that the dioxane plume would not move beyond the southern PZ boundary; which was wrong. The plume is beyond the southern boundary and has contaminated the City Northwest Supply Well.

·         Gelman stated that the Ann Arbor Cleaning Supply Well western area would not have dioxane above 85 ug/L past April 2014, which was wrong.  This quarter’s data show the concentration above 85 ug/L dioxane.

 

The reporting period groundwater quality data show that both the deep and shallow portions of the glacial till aquifer are migrating in most every direction unabated by the limited groundwater extraction.  This includes flowing towards Scio Township residential wells along Elizabeth Road and Rose Drive. 

 

The Ann Arbor Cleaning Supply Well data collected during the reporting period show an increasing concentration above 85 ug/L dioxane, which may indicate a continued migration from the Former Gelman Plant source area.  Over the past few years, Gelman has significantly reduced groundwater extraction rates at the Former Gelman Plant property.  

 

Concerns that analysis of the plume at 465 DuPont may not adequately characterize the behavior of the plume.  DEQ response to USEPA on this item is “Again, there are multiple reports on file…” and DEQ has asked Gelman to provide a summary on investigations in this area.  There is no DEQ review and evaluation of this very important matter.  Despite Gelman past claims that the plume in this area is not moving to the northwest towards Scio Township wells, all of the data show that the dioxane plume is migrating to the Scio Township wells and has already reached the homes along Elizabeth Road.  The below figures show the concentrations of the dioxane plume, the high dioxane concentration at and about 465 DuPont Circle, and the PLS/Gelman isoconcentration plot showing a strong northwest flow component towards Scio Township residential wells.  As readily evident by the existing concentrations of dioxane in monitoring wells and residential wells, the dioxane is moving at high concentrations towards residential wells in Scio Township.  As part of the DEQ oversight of the CJ and Gelman technical work, DEQ must conduct an independent review of where the dioxane plume is going and the likely receptors impacted by the plume migration. 

 


 


 

 

Dioxane contamination in near surface groundwater can pose a risk through exposure pathways other than drinking water.  Status of shallow groundwater sampling and characterization.  The DEQ response summarizes the Shallow Groundwater Investigation Report prepared by Gelman in 2016 on the shallow groundwater study which installed temporary soil borings.  This work included borings about the Old West Side of Ann Arbor.  Dioxane was detected in the Old West Side shallow groundwater in two borings ranging from 1.9 ug/L to 3.3 ug/L.  DEQ compares these results to: the proposed DEQ 1,900 ug/L dioxane building vapor intrusion screening level; the USEPA Regional Screening Level of 4.6 ug/L dioxane; the USEPA RSL of 11 ug/L for inhalation of groundwater protection; and USEPA RSL of 2,300 ug/L for skin contact.  Based upon comparison to these criteria, DEQ concludes that no further investigation is required at this time of the shallow groundwater about the Old West Side.   

 

As detailed in the CARD Response Letter to Michigan Department of Environmental Quality Emergency Rules on Dioxane Criteria & Vapor Intrusion Follow-up Work – July 26, 2017  and  Gelman Report – Gelman Sciences, Inc. - GEA Comments on DEQ Shallow Groundwater Work Plan & Report to Support a Building Vapor Intrusion Evaluation – October 2016, which were recently provided to USEPA, the deficiencies in DEQ Shallow Groundwater Work Plan and results of the Gelman work demonstrate that there is shallow groundwater dioxane contamination in the Old West Side area but the extent and magnitude of the contamination is not known.  What is known is that the samples collected by Gelman from the lower topographic areas detected dioxane in the shallow groundwater, but samples from the upper topographic locations did not find dioxane.  Further study in the lower topographic areas is required to identify the area and concentration of the dioxane contamination in the shallow groundwater about the Old West Side of Ann Arbor.  The dioxane concentrations in the shallow dioxane plume about the Old West Side are likely higher than the 1.9 ug/L to 3.3 ug/L range observed in the rudimentary Gelman 2016 soil boring work.

 

Concerning the comparison criteria used by the DEQ, DEQ is applying a building vapor intrusion criterion which has not been established by DEQ.  DEQ references an existing USEPA RSL of 4.6 ug/L for dioxane, which is near the 1.9 ug/L dioxane and 3.3 ug/L dioxane values observed in the 2016 Gelman work.  The fact that the DEQ Work Plan study was designed to gather only preliminary results using only a handful of soil borings in the Old West Side and that the results are close to the USEPA RSL criterion referenced by DEQ, lead to the reasonable conclusion that a permanent monitoring well network to identify up-gradient and down-gradient dioxane contamination in the shallow groundwater about the Old West Side is required to ensure the protection of the public health.    The historical dioxane shallow plume 2,800 feet up-gradient of the Old West Side demonstrates that significant dioxane contamination is moving into the Old West Side/West Park neighborhood shallow groundwater, see below figures. 






At recent public meetings, the DEQ has stated that no further shallow groundwater investigation is required in the Old West Side, because seep and pond data do not show elevated levels above applicable groundwater criteria and these surface water data are “representative” of shallow groundwater quality.  The DEQ  position that Old West Side surface water samples have the same dioxane concentration as local shallow groundwater is without technical merit.  Groundwater monitoring wells are required to determine the extent and magnitude of the shallow dioxane plume.

 

Potential risks posed to construction workers by contaminated shallow groundwater within the prohibition zone.  The shallow groundwater impacted with dioxane about the Old West Side presents a complete exposure pathway to construction and utility workers who contact the dioxane contaminated shallow groundwater.  In response to the question, DEQ acknowledges the existing dioxane shallow groundwater contamination found in the 2016 Gelman work, but then compares the observed values to a DEQ Groundwater Contact Criteria (GCC) of 1,700,000 ug/l dioxane which was eliminated from use by the DEQ in 2013.  This GCC was based upon an outdated dioxane toxicity constant (as was the recently replaced DEQ dioxane drinking water criterion) and an exposure equation and factors which were technically flawed.   The Virginia DEQ has established an approximately 80 ug/L dioxane criterion protective of a worker in a trench in contact with shallow groundwater.  This Virginia DEQ criterion includes all the relevant routes of exposure, such as dermal contact, inhalation, inadvertent ingestion, etc.  USEPA Headquarters Staff has referenced this Virginia DEQ value, as there is no USEPA or Michigan DEQ criterion protective of a worker in a trench route of exposure. 

 

A permanent monitoring well network, which can be sampled routinely to track the dioxane plume, needs to be established to determine the extent and magnitude of the shallow groundwater quality about the Old West Side, thereby, protecting residences from dioxane build vapor intrusion and construction/utility workers from exposure to dioxane contaminated shallow groundwater.

 

Provide the status of the risk evaluation posed by the Groundwater to Surface Water (GSI) pathway.   While this issue relates mainly to surface water impacts, DEQ does not discuss the risks posed by misapplying the GSI to this site.  The CJ applies a  remedial criterion of 2,800 ug/L dioxane east of Wagner Road based upon the DEQ dioxane Groundwater-Surface Water Interface (GSI) value of 2,800 ug/L.  However, a GSI is intended to be used only in situations where the plume is immediately next to a water body and there are no receptors between the contaminant plume and the water body, which is not the case with the Gelman Site, see below DEQ generic GSI figure.  For the Gelman Site, there are sensitive exposure receptors between the dioxane groundwater plume and the Huron River.  These receptors include: residential flooded basement exposure; residential and commercial building vapor intrusion exposure from the volatilization of dioxane contaminated shallow groundwater and subsurface contaminated soil; construction and utility worker exposure to contaminated shallow groundwater; and residential well drinking water exposure at Ann Arbor Charter Township homes west of the Huron River.  This misapplication of the GSI creates the situation where a dioxane plume of up to 2,800 ug/L can migrate freely towards sensitive receptors before reaching the Huron River, see below figure with Ann Arbor Charter Township wells.   The misuse of the GSI criterion creates potential adverse risks to the public health and needs to be replaced by a Drinking Water criterion.

 





 

Other issues not covered in the DEQ Quarterly Report

 

Gelman violation of Consent Judgment (CJ) terms and conditions. 

The CJ has numerous technical requirements to ensure the protection of public health and compliance with the CJ remedy.  DEQ did not discuss Gelman compliance with the CJ terms and conditions.  Over this reporting period, Gelman had CJ violations of trigger levels requiring additional work and investigation (e.g., exceedances of Ann Arbor Cleaning Supply Well triggers, boundary well trigger exceedances, etc).   The CARD Response Letter to April 17, 2014 Michigan Department of Environmental Quality Letter to PALL Life Sciences Corporation – Conceptual Site Model About the MW-103 Area – March 21, 2016 details the exceedance of southern boundary CJ requirements for further site investigation which has not been done by Gelman, thereby, violating the CJ.  The Ann Arbor Cleaning Supply Well was above the CJ 85 ug/L dioxane trigger level in this reporting period, thereby, requiring addition groundwater extraction to contain the plume, but Gelman has taken no action. 

 

DEQ did not review Gelman compliance with CJ objectives and criteria or compliance with CJ Verification Plans, Monitoring Plans or Down-gradient Investigations.  Based upon this reporting period data, Gelman is not in compliance with Down-gradient Investigations.

 

As part of the DEQ Quarterly Report to USEPA, DEQ should discuss Gelman compliance with the CJ technical terms and conditions, including attaining CJ objectives.   





WUOM Environment Report Today: Michigan Part 201 Partial Cleanups Like Zombies Rising Up

 U of M Michigan Radio, WUOM 


Like the Gelman Plume partial cleanups are not good enough and the state with the largest freshwater resource in the world is not doing its job.

From Today's program:

"In 1994, Michigan OK’d partial pollution cleanups. Now we have 2,000 contaminated sites.

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.

Dempsey is talking about a phenomenon called vapor intrusion. That’s when contamination underground seeps into buildings through the air.

Like time bombs left in the ground."

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

 

 



March 2018;   No Meeting this month due to Illness


Pall/Gelman/Danaher 1,4-Dioxane:   Sierra Club Huron Valley Group Discussion PDF of PowerPoint Slides Posted - NSG Numbers Unclear

 


Gelman Discussion at the Sierra Club's Huron Valley Group (SCHVG) General Meeting PowerPoint sides posted:

Prof. Rita Loch Caruso PhD, Mike Moran Ann Arbor Township Supervisor and Vince Caruso gave an invited talk and took questions about the status of the Gelman Plume, toxicity and EPA Superfund Status at the General Meeting of the SCHVG on February 20 and now has been posted on the ACWG Site:

https://sites.google.com/site/allenscreekwatershedgroup/sierra-club-huron-valley-group-gelman-talk-2-20-18


DEQ Not Clear on very important NSG standard:

Roger Rayle reports that the MDEQ recently reported to EPA Superfund manager that the near-surface groundwater (NSG) action level standard is 1,000 ppb, not the 1,900 ppb communicated to CARD. This is apparently a tough number to pin down. The mayor reported it being 29,000 ppb recently which would seem an order of magnitude or more too high.


  • SCHVG has a General Meeting open to the public every 4th Tuesday of the Month at Matthaei Botanical Gardens (U of M) at 7:30 pm, check SCHVG web site for updates and Speaker Lists




February 2018;   No Meeting this month due to Travel Schedules

Pall/Gelman 1,4-Dioxane Near-Surface Groundwater (NSG) MDEQ Tests at West Park Show 4.4 ppb


 

Approximate Location of NSG Tests West Park (Right Click for larger image; Annotation by ACWG)

Near-Surface Groundwater Tests Done at West Park Results - 4.4 ppb 1,4 Dioxane found in stormwater pipe:

DEQ commented at a recent Town Hall meeting that they now will be continuing near-surface groundwater (NSG) tests on the near west side of town. DEQ tests were done at West Park shown above.

Results published earlier this month show 4.4 ppb found in what is in all likelihood are NSG flow. At the 2-6-18 CARD meeting, Mitch Adelman MDEQ did comment that the DEQ will need to reevaluate the NSG issues with this new finding.

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 NSG wells on the near west side of the city. 

The flows in the Allen's Creek at this location collect a lot of NSG springs and seeps just upstream. During a drought high flows can be heard flowing through this system through the access gates on this path. When this storm drain was installed it was designed to capture upstream NSG flows to reduce undermining of surface structures, like homes and the roadway.

  

Gelman Site, Scio Twp; Roger Rayle SRSW/CARD (Right Click for larger image; Annotation by ACWG) 

 

Undisclosed Well and Soil Tests at Gelman Site?

Roger Rayle (SRSW, CARD) found signs of what seems like a temporary setup for well drilling/soil sampling in the marshy area of the Gelman site, by chance, on recent Google Arial View images, shown above. Google aerial view does not show this setup now.

The ACWG and CARD Groups are very interested in this undisclosed testing results and would like the MDEQ to do its own tests. The last soil tests in the 90's estimated up to 2M ppb in soils on the Gelman site area.

The ACWG and CARD Groups have asked for over a decade now, and Scio Residents for Safe Water for longer, soil test be done in the Gelman site area. We have commented that high levels of 1,4 dioxane could be recontaminating the groundwater that is being cleaned up. 

Tens of dump truckloads of contaminated soil were removed from this site in the early days of the site remediation, and still very high levels seem to still exist there.

Gelman Discussion Sierra Club's Huron Valley Group (SCHVG) General Meeting;

Vince Caruso, Prof. Rita Loch Caruso PhD and Mike Moran Ann Arbor Township Supervisor will be giving an invited talk and be taking questions about the status of the Gelman Plume, toxicity and EPA Superfund Status at the next General Meeting of the SCHVG

Date: Tuesday, February 20; 7:30 pm

Location: Matthaei Botanical Gardens; 1800 North Dixboro Rd, Ann Arbor;  Matthaei metered parking fees go to support the Botanical Gardens.

Sierra Club Huron Valley Group meetings are held every third Tuesday of the month, are free and open to the public


City Officials, Again Last Night, Discussing Affordable Housing in Floodplain on City Owned Lots

 

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

 

City officials again at the Working Session last night discussed the sale of city-owned property in the floodplain. These sites were said by city leaders in recent years to be used as anchors for the Greenway. Keeping these sites open for the Greenway will make it a much more beneficial greenway and will reduce flood hazard. It will also make it Green with Park Space Plantings. These open sections can be used to have green open space in the near downtown and, place benches and tables, and potentially Public Art Spaces.

From Ann Arbor Flood Hazard Mitigation Plan proposes:

"The City of Ann Arbor takes a multi-faceted approach to floodplain management, working to protect natural floodplains and to mitigate flooding problems where the floodplain has already been developed...

Maintains an extensive park and greenway system in the floodplain along the Huron River, and has numerous other parks in the floodplain areas of the creeks flowing to the Huron River." (bold by us)

Unfortunately, Ann Arbor has a long and sorted history of placing less fortunate of city residents in affordable housing in the floodway and floodplain, and many still exist, including the current Homeless Shelter in the floodplain with some of the emergency exits into the floodway.

The two sites discussed again, last night, were 415 W. Washington and 721 N. Main are both almost entirely in the floodplain and largely in the floodway and along the proposed route of the Tree Line/Allen('s) Creek Greenway.

Doing flood mitigation in conjunction with the creation of the Greenway will allow the city to obtain grant funding as has occurred in the past. An example was when the ACWG pushed for stormwater mitigation in the West Park renovation, a large federal grant was used to do the forward-thinking SW portion of the renovations.

The Master Plan passed Planning Commission they also commented on and supported grant opportunities the ACWG mentioned at the Public Hearing, related to SW mitigation.

ACWG past discussion in past years with then Drain Commissioner Janis Bobrin and her staff, they agreed that opening up the floodplain and floodway would greatly reduce the number of homes facing flood hazard and costly flood insurance. Many homes in the Near and Old West Side have real flood hazard especially with Globel Warming effects on rainfalls and droughts. It is predicted, and is happening now by some respected accounts, that we will suffer much larger rainfall events. We will also suffer more severe droughts with greater flood hazard with very dry soil and very heavy rains with much higher fresh rainwater runoff, stormwater, and flooding.

The city staff has commented in previous public meetings that the FEMA Floodplain Maps are very loosely calibrated with very little real data used in the drawing of the maps. Even the FEMA consultants at StanTec drawing the maps have made similar statements when the maps were presented to the city.

The DDA commissioned a $1/4 to $1/2M sub-watershed study for this area from FTCH Consultants in the recent past but never asked for the results of this study. Time to see these results to more effectively plan for these sites.

Just before groundbreaking the Homeless Shelter initial $1M plan was scrapped due to it being shown by ACWG and others to be illegally in the floodway. Just before groundbreaking the North Main Affordable Housing Avalon Housing plan, which the ACWG did not support, was scrapped because new floodplain maps showed it was also in the floodway. The new Y building (which the ACWG did not support) Free Board (1' safety zone above the Floodplain Required for Construction Approval) was lost with a Letter of Map Revision 1 1/2 years after construction, with an increase of 33% higher floodplain at this location; 415 W. Washington is across the street.

Building in and up to the floodplain and floodway should not be something our city should be allowing to happen.




Proposed Agenda:
 

January 18, 2018

Update 1/25/18: MDEQ Allen's Creek tests 4.4 ppb in Allen's Creek (AC) Southwest branch in West Park released on this day.

These results show potential exposures in later years in the near-surface groundwater (NSG) I would say. This branch has spring collectors upstream to reduce undermining of roads and other structures. Lots of NSG (IMHO) flow thru this pipe even during severe droughts. We have this in a few other AC fresh rainwater runoff, stormwater, pipes in town I've have seen and been told about.

Not sure why this was so delayed in coming out when the other tests, done on the same day, were out 1-4-18. I did email the DEQ in the morning about when the results would be available and the results arived in the afternoon. Was told later by the DEQ they arrived at the DEQ the day before.

Not too much else found in these tests in the fresh rainwater runoff, stormwater, which is good.

More details on this later. Data to be posted soon on the DEQ site, available on request from ACWG now

Mayor's 2018 Letter to the City Makes Errors of Commission and Omission on the Gelman Plume


City of Ann Arbor

Vapor Intrusion Action Level:

The current DEQ Vapor Intrusion Action Level is 1,900 ppbnot 29,000 ppb as stated in the letter. The DEQ originally set the standard at 29 ppb in 2017 then changed it to 1,900 ppb, which the EPA did agree this new DEQ value was a standard they would support. The DEQ said they used EPA 'Calculator' to arrive at the new higher value.

This is important as requested near-surface groundwater testing by the ACWG and Coalition for Action on Remediation of Dioxane (CARD) the DEQ found 1,4 Dioxane near the surface near Slawson Middle School at 2 and 3 ppb. Just about eleven blocks west upstream at Vet's Park we are now over 1,000 ppb and moving east. Many homes from West Park to the Huron River, about a mile, have very wet basements that in many cases originates as groundwater, by past accounts related to the ACWG over the last 20+ years.

CARD is still evaluating the new 1,900 ppb VI Action Level standard.

The city, county and DEQ had no plans to test NSG till the ACWG  insisted on these tests. Permanent wells for NSG tests are still not in the work plan which needs to change.

EPA Superfund Findings for Gelman Site:

No real discussion in the letter on the very significant EPA finding that the Gelman Plume does meet the federal EPA standard for declaring the eligible for Full Superfund site evaluation, this without EPA doing major additional evaluations like detailed site visits, and soil and water tests, and other procedures. If fully evaluated by the EPA the Gelman Plume would clearly rank very high as an EPA Superfund Site.

Scio and Ann Arbor Townships and Sierra Club's Huron Valley Group, with support from the ACWG and CARD Groups, filed a petition to list the site as an EPA Superfund Site. Ann Arbor and Washtenaw County did not join the Petition to the EPA, which clearly did weaken the petition.

The EPA at this time has decided not to move beyond the Preliminary Assessment (PA) but leave the DEQ in charge with 'Close' EPA oversite for the time being.

EPA has said if they take the step to Superfund status they will clean up the groundwater to safe useable drinking water standard and make the polluter, Responsible Party, pay for all the work, Gelman/Pall/Danaher.

EPA is very concerned about 1,4 Dioxane contamination all across the country, hence its inclusion in the 2016 Lautenberg Act that allows only 10 compounds to be evaluated of thousands possible. This site could be a great location to show how this compound can be addressed in a cleanup, not just a remediation, as it is in a near pristine aquifer, unlike most other sites.


This letter/email from the mayor was not sent to the ACWG, CARD, Seria Club Huron Valley or Ann Arbor Neighborhood Group leaders in this household for some reason.


Pall/Gelman 1,4-Dioxane Near-Surface Groundwater Tests at West Park and, Soil Tests at Gelman Site



Gelman Site, Scio Twp; Roger Rayle SRSW/CARD (Annotation by ACWG; Click for Larger View) 


Near-Surface Groundwater Tests Done at West Park:

DEQ commented at a recent Town Hall meeting that they now will be continuing near-surface groundwater (NSG) tests on the near west side of town. DEQ tests were done at West Park. Results are not available yet, but in the next week or so we were told. 

Undisclosed Well and Soil Tests at Gelman Site?:

Roger Rayle (SRSW, CARD) found signs of what seems like a temporary setup for well drilling/soil sampling in the marshy area of the Gelman site, by chance, on recent Google Arial View images, shown above. Google aerial view does not show this setup now.

DEQ stated that Gelman did do soil tests at that location at a CARD Meeting. DEQ said they will expect to get the results from Gelman, if not produced after about a year the DEQ will petition for the results, 'we'll get them'.

This core area of the Gelman site has been thought to have near 2B ppb before regular testing ended in the middle 90's. CARD and SRSW have asked to have these soils tested and cleaned up for over a decade.

Gelman Discussion Sierra Club's Huron Valley Group (SCHVG) General Meeting;

Vince Caruso and Prof. Rita Loch Caruso PhD will be giving an invited talk and be taking questions about the status of the Gelman Plume, toxicity and EPA Superfund Status at the next General Meeting of the SCHVG

Date: February 20; 7:30 pm

Location: Matthaei Botanical Gardens; 1800 North Dixboro Rd, Ann Arbor;  Matthaei metered parking fees go to support the Botanical Gardens.

Sierra Club Huron Valley Group meetings are held every third Tuesday of the month, are free and open to the public.

  • Flows into West Park in the Allen's Creek pipe have high levels of groundwater which will be a valuable and quick test of NSG. The City, when asked by the ACWG, has agreed to help with this test.
  • The CARD Group has asked for permanent monitoring NSG wells on the near west side of the city. 
  • It is not clear if DEQ will start installing these wells this winter or spring.
  • Home basement exposures through contaminated NSG is a major concern and needs to be tested regularly till the plume is cleaned up.


 

 
Ann Arbor Resumes SW Fees For Art, After Offical Level Of Service Meeting Pledges Not To Do This

(On right - Japanese Manhole art ongoing for last 20 years; Wikipedia)

I was asked to attend a Level of Service Public Citizen Advisory Committee meetings at City Hall to discuss reasonable and proposed level of service changes to the Stormwater Utility.

At one of these meetings on 10-21-16, with many city staff in attendance, I asked and was told by staff no Stormwater Utility funds (fees) would be used for Art anymore. I asked this question because of the controversial nature of the past practice of using Stormwater Utility funds (fees) for Art Work in Ann Arbor and other utility fees used for art.

One has to question how the city would hold such meetings and not uphold this statement made at a public meeting to city proposed changes in Level of Service for the Stormwater Utility.

Using Stormwater Utility fees for art can place our Stormwater Utility at risk of a 'Bolt Judgement (A2Gov.Org)' where this could be considered a tax, not a fee and made invalid by the court like in Lansing with the Bolt Judgement.

This is a blatant disregard for the citizens and open process when asked to attend public meetings to help define city issues. This decision must be reversed and no Stormwater Utility funds (fees) should be used for art.

We have lots of work to do with the Stormwater Utility in Ann Arbor and should not be risking the Stormwater Utility Fees in this manner or be using the fees for things that would normally be funded with taxes or contributions.

Global Warming is a real threat to Ann Arbor with larger rainfall event happing now and predicted to increase in the future, we have lots of work to do. Just one example is the Lawton storm of March 15, 2012 at 5-6" may have been a 500-year rain and caused major flooding. Warren was hit with a 500-year 5" rain in August 2014 in a storm that went over Ann Arbor before dumping in Warren causing about $2B in damages just in Warren, other metro Detroit communities suffered major flooding also.

Supporting public art is not the issue, it is how you pay for it legitimately.




December 2017   No Meeting this month due to Holiday and Travel Schedules



Watershed Issues of Interest:

Pall/Gelman 1,4-Dioxane Near Surface Groundwater Tests at West Park

US EPA

US EPA and Representative Dingell Gelman Plume Superfund Discussion 11-13-17

(ACWG; Right Click to View Larger)

Near-Surface Groundwater Tests Done at West Park:

DEQ commented at a recent Town Hall meeting that they now will be continuing near-surface groundwater (NSG) tests on the near west side of town.

They did a test today at West Park (results in a few weeks). We are glad they have said they will continue doing these tests. We would like to see tests they agreed to do this past summer before they stopped testing, eg: flows in the Allen's Creek, and additional locations.

  • Flows into West Park in the Allen's Creek pipe have high levels of groundwater which will be a valuable and quick test of NSG. The City, when asked by the ACWG, has agreed to help with this test

  • The ACWG was instrumental in getting these NSG tests done. DEQ, County and city did not request these tests till the ACWG and CARD groups requested them.

  • The CARD and ACWG Groups have asked for permanent monitoring NSG wells on the near west side of the city.

  • It is not clear if DEQ will start installing these wells this winter or spring.

  • Home basement exposures through contaminated NSG is a major concern and needs to be tested regularly till the plume is cleaned up.

Allen('s) Creek Greenway/Allen Creek Tree Line Master Plan Adopted by City Council; Discussions of Sale of City Properties Along Greenway Path


A screenshot of a presentation slide from CAC #3 Meeting, City of Ann Arbor

The ACWG is glad to see council adopt the plan for a Greenway/Tree Line. The ACWG, Sierra Club Huron Valley Group and many others have been pushing for a greenway plan for over 20 years. ACWG and SCHVG members participated in the Greenway CAC and various public hearings and meetings in the recent years.

Some local and other communities have had great success with Greenways:

  • Kalamazoo Arcadia Creek Greenway: $400-500K in new tax receipts, 600% increase in revenues with $12M/yr festival revenue; From Backwater to one of the Hottest locations in town; Can handle beyond a 500 year storm now where it flooded almost every year.

  • Flints Gilkey Creek - Daylight and Greenway: In its first year prevented flooding in 100 year rain;  Revitalized portion of city with daylighted and restored Gilkey Creek.

  • NYC High Line Greenway: elevated green space; 8th Wonder of the World; More visitors every year than the 7th Wonder of the World the Sphinx in Egypt; $2B in new investments in the area.

With the city talk of developing the city-owned properties in the floodplain and floodway along the proposed Greenway/Tree Line Trail, we should have a better understanding of the flood risk to the community.

The DDA commissioned a subwatershed study upstream of the city-owned 1st and William site when proposing a parking garage on this site which is in the floodway. FTCH was commissioned to do this study with a DDA budget of $1/4 to $1/2M. The Allen’s Creek Watershed Group (ACWG) FOIA'd the DDA for the results of this study but the DDA was not able to produce the report.

From the FOIA the ACWG was given the 'modelling results dataset' from the FTCH modelling runs but not the report.

It is time to produce the report to fully understand the flood hazard of these properties proposed to be sold and developed that are all in the floodway and floodplain. We have very little data to judge flood hazard, this study is valuable information that is not available to the public.

The FTCH indicated they could only release the report to the DDA, but DDA did not request it. They also indicated that the results were surprising to them enough to check with a local expert to discuss the findings.

The DDA proposed 1st and William Parking Garage did not move forward at that time.

With larger storms caused by Global Warming, the city should be taking this real opportunity to create a Greenway and reduce flood hazard as is recommended in the city adopted Flood Hazard Mitigation Plan. Ann Arbor has 100's of homes at risk of flooding in and near the floodplain with those in the floodplain paying higher flood insurance each year.

City officials are now discussing the sale of city-owned property in the floodplain that should be used as anchors for the Greenway. Keeping these sites open for the Greenway will make it a much more beneficial greenway and will reduce flood hazard. These open sections can be used to have green open space in the near downtown and, place benches and tables, and potentially Public Art Spaces.

Doing flood mitigation in conjunction with the creation of the Greenway will allow the city to obtain grant funding as has occurred in the past. An example was when the ACWG pushed for stormwater mitigation in the West Park renovation, a large federal grant was used to do the forward-thinking SW portion of the renovations.

When the Master Plan passed Planning Commission recently they also commented on and supported grant opportunities the ACWG mentioned at the Public Hearing, related to SW mitigation.

The city staff has commented in previous public meetings that the FEMA Floodplain Maps are very loosely calibrated with very little real data used in the drawing of the maps. Even the FEMA consultants drawing the maps have made similar statements when the maps were presented to the city.

Building in and up to the floodplain and floodway should not be something our city should be allowing to happen.

 

UM needs to work more with the community to make a meaningful Greenway. They initially indicated they would work with the city on a Greenway near the Athletic Campus, then at the next meeting, they pulled back.

When the UM is pushing for a Fuller Park Parking Garage in our city park for use by UM medical staff and not able to 'give an inch' on the Greenway, there is truly something that needs to change.

A person in attendance indicated that at a recent UM Medical Town Hall a speaker commented they thought they had solved the Parking Problem on 'The Hill' but now it is not a sure thing, with reference to the potential 1,300 car Fuller Park Parking Structure, and attached small train station.

Reliable sources indicated to us very little of the UM property would be affected if any, maybe a few parking spaces, with the Greenway adjacent to the Athletic Campus as originally proposed.

An old RR turntable is next to the Athletic Campus with over 150' wide area that could be a small pocket park in the greenway the owner has said could be used.

Game traffic on tracks will be on the Greenway the first day open with 1,000s of users, which will help grant options, and will be good advertising by word of mouth. This Greenway will connect people with nature, neighbours and, near and downtown businesses. It will also be a great connection to the B2B trail and Huron River.


More Green Space in the City of Ann Arbor

Related image

Proposed Two blocks of Ontario St. Cleveland to close to traffic and open the space to more grass and green (wksu.org; Right Click to View Larger)


The parks millage has only spent about 9% of the funds for city parcels this year.

The parks millage has only spent about 23% in the city since its inception.

The parks millage states it should be spending 33% a year on green space in the city.

We should be obtaining more green space in the city not selling it off.

This, when we are proposing to sell off parcels along the path of the Greenway and, portions of Fuller Park for a Parking Garage and Train Station which once built will "necessitate" taking more of the Fuller Park for transit oriented development.

Green space in the urban center will help reduce heat island, polluted freshwater rain runoff and be a needed refuse from all the hardscape.

A UM study, done partially in Ann Arbor, showed walking in a green space like wooded areas is as good as antidepressants (or better).

New York Times “Front” Web Page Today (12-19-17): "Lake Erie Giant Algal Blooms"

NYT Front Page Image 12-19-17 (NYT; Huron River Arrow added by us; Right Click to View Larger)

NYT Photos of the Year: Lake Erie Giant Algal Bloom, 2017


"Lake Erie experienced one of the worst algal blooms in recent years, turning the lake bright green and alarming residents and local officials. At its peak, it stretched for miles south of Detroit, from Toledo to the shores of Ontario."

This appeared as a “Front” Web Page Headline with link to series of memorable 2017 aerial photos and captions.

Huron River flows to Lake Erie and the urban runoff contributes much to the algal bloom problem now plaguing the lake much more often than ever, and some predict with Global Warming and very weak runoff standards it will happen almost yearly. Dangerous levels of the algal bloom toxin caused Toledo Ohio, to shut down the drinking water supply of a half-million residents for three days in summer of 2014.

Close to 20 Million people in US and Canada use Lake Erie a drinking water source.

Algal blooms can render the water toxic and hard to decontaminate as well as kill off wildlife, affect residents living near the lake.

The pollution flowing into Lake Erie is rendering it a spoiled freshwater critical natural resource for Michigan, Ohio, NY and Canada.

NYT Web site - New York Times;  NYT Photos from Above of 2017




Proposed Agenda:  

November 16, 2017


UPDATE: Roger Rayle's YouTube video of CARD meeting is now avaiable, see second agenda item below.


US EPA Superfund Gelman Plume Does Score High Enough for Full Superfund Evaluation, Currently Put On Hold

US EPA

US EPA and Representative Dingell Gelman Plume Superfund Discussion 11-13-17

(ACWG; Right Click to View Larger)

  • US EPA and Representative Dingell held a meeting (thanks to Roger Rayle for taping the meeting and making available on YouTube) on Monday to discuss EPA Superfund designation for the Gelman Plume and take public comment, especially from the three Petitioners to the EPA for Superfund designation.
  • Scio and Ann Arbor Townships and, Sierra Club's Huron Valley Group filed a petition to list the site as a Superfund Site.
  • Many elected officials, Ann Arbor Administrator, Scio and Ann Arbor Township Managers, CARD members and others were in attendance.
  • It was communicated (Link to PDF of letter to Scio Township from EPA on PA Status saved on this site) the site does meet the 28.5 point standard for Superfund Status further evaluation. The state agrees with this analysis and scoring.
  • EPA will not currently do a site evaluation which is normally the next step, which would clearly push the score much higher than it is now, which is not reported other than at least 28.5, if and until a full Superfund designation is made.
  • EPA has decided to classify the site as "Other Cleanup Authority - State Lead" to allow the MDEQ to continue work with EPA oversite.
  • An EPA Scientist is now assigned to the site and will oversee MDEQ operations in dealing with the plume.
  • EPA can designate the site for further Superfund evaluation and designation if they so choose later, depending on MDEQ progress on protecting the environment and community.
  • When the ACWG and others asked for a list of "Bench Marks" the MDEQ must meet and by which date, we were told that process is not currently being used, to which the ACWG stated that was not good.
  • The CARD group may propose Bench Marks that MDEQ must meet to keep the site off the Superfund National List.


  • If the majority on City of Ann Arbor City Council and Washtenaw County had joined in the Petition (the county passed a good draft resolution but it was never finalized) the outcome may have been different, as the petitioners hoped to present a united front for full Superfund Designation and full cleanup.
  • We may still get a full cleanup of the site as EPA originally proposed with Superfund Designation and MDEQ may adopt but it will take longer and cost countless families heartache with loss of property value, higher cost of living, and potentially health effects and health effects not addressed.
  • Petitioners have issued a statement after the recent EPA announcement. Here is a partial Text of statement from Petitioners:
    • "The dioxane plume continues to migrate in all directions with no effective off-site hydraulic control.  Numerous Scio Township and Ann Arbor Charter Township private residential drinking water wells are down-gradient of the plume. The City of Ann Arbor’s main drinking water supply comes from the Huron River at Barton Pond, which potentially could be impacted as the dioxane plume expands. As the shallow dioxane plume migrates through the City, it may adverse impact: homes through building vapor intrusion; and utility workers who come into contact with the contaminated groundwater. A large portion of the off-site dioxane plume is greater than 1,000 ug/L (parts-per-billion) dioxane, while the USEPA dioxane drinking water criterion is 0.35 ug/L at a 1 in 1,000,000 excess lifetime cancer risk level."
    • See full press release statement on our site here


Pall/Gelman 1,4-Dioxane - Near Surface Groundwater Tests Now Planned Again


  • Near-Surface Groundwater Tests are now Planned: DEQ commented at a recent Coalition for Action on Remediation of Dioxane (CARD) meeting (thanks to Roger Rayle for taping the meeting and making available on YouTube) that they now will be continuing near-surface groundwater (NSG) tests on the near west side of town but there is no date when these tests will start but should be in the next month or so. The ACWG pushed the DEQ for these tests at the meeting, which they said they would do previously but then back away from that. We are glad they have said they will continue doing these tests. We would like to see more tests eg: West Park Ground Water flows in the Allen's Creek, and additional locations.
  • They have agreed to do a test in West Park NSG flows next. ACWG, I, offered to help if needed and they may ask us to help. Flows into West Park in the Allen's Creek pipe have high levels of groundwater which will be a valuable and quick test of NSG. The City, when asked by the ACWG, has agreed to help with this test.
  • MDEQ has made a special case of 1,4 Dioxane mainly because of exposure threats in Ann Arbor and the heightened concern for this compound in the regulatory community including US EPA.  
  • It was commented on by MDEQ at the recent CARD meeting that residents exposed to the compound at the near and surface waters does not seems to violate Prohibition Zone (PZ) Environmental standards in Michigan for this Gelman Consent Case unless the exposure is greater than the action level for the compound and the route of exposure, eg: 1,900 ppb for vapor intrusion, 7.2 ppb for drinking water. Dermal contact may be an issue with much higher levels of exposure if they are found in NSG. The setting of a Prohibition Zone in the city was to isolate the compound and allow it to flow under the city to the river and dilute out on its way to Lake Erie. 

Allen('s) Creek Greenway/Allen Creek Tree Line - More Talk of Potential City Owned Property Sales - More Data Needed

A screenshot of a presentation slide from CAC #3 Meeting, City of Ann Arbor
 
 
  • At a city council working session on Tuesday this week, again the city officials discussed the sale of city-owned property in the proposed Greenway Route, land mainly in the floodplain. 
  • With the city talk of developing the city-owned properties in the floodplain and floodway along the proposed Greenway/Tree Line Trail, we should have a better understanding of the flood risk to the community.
  • The DDA commissioned a sub-watershed study upstream of the city-owned 1st and William site when proposing a parking garage on this site which is in the floodway. FTCH was commissioned to do this study with a DDA budget of $1/4 to $1/2MThe ACWG FOIAed the results of this study when the DDA was not able to produce the report.
  • From the FOIA the ACWG was given the 'modeling results dataset' from the FTCH modeling runs but not the report.
  • It is time to produce the report to fully understand the flood hazard of these properties proposed to be sold and developed that are all in the floodway and floodplain.
  • The FTCH indicated they could only release the report to the DDA, but DDA did not request it. They also indicated that the results were surprising to them enough to check with a local expert to discuss the findings.
  • The DDA proposed 1st and William Parking Garage did not move forward at that time.

  • With larger storms caused by Globel Warming, the city should be taking this opportunity to create a Greenway and reduce flood hazard. Ann Arbor has 100's of homes at risk of flooding in and near the floodplain with those in the floodplain paying higher flood insurance each year.
  • City officials are now discussing the sale of city-owned property in the floodplain that should be used as anchors for the Greenway. Keeping these sites open for the Greenway will make it a much more beneficial greenway and will reduce flood hazard. These open sections can be used to have green open space in the near downtown and, place benches and tables, and potentially Public Art Spaces.
  • Doing flood mitigation in conjunction with the creation of the Greenway will allow the city to obtain grant funding as has occurred in the past. An example was when the ACWG pushed for stormwater mitigation in the West Park renovation, a large federal grant was used to do the SW portion of the renovations. 
  • The Master Plan passed Planning Commission last week and they also commented on and supported grant opportunities the ACWG mentioned at the Public Hearing, related to SW mitigation.
  • The city staff has commented in previous public meetings that the FEMA Floodplain Maps are very loosely calibrated with very little real data used in the drawing of the maps. Even the FEMA consultants drawing the maps have made similar statements when the maps were presented to the city.
  • Building in and up to the floodplain and floodway should not be something our city should be allowing to happen.


  • UM needs to work more with the community to make a meaningful Greenway. They initially indicated they would work with the city on a Greenway near the Athletic Campus, then at the next meeting, they pulled back.
  • When the UM is pushing for a Fuller Park Parking Garage in our city park for use by UM medical staff and not able to 'give an inch' on the Greenway, there is truly something that needs to change.
  • A person in attendance indicated that at a recent UM Medical Town Hall a speaker commented they thought they had solved the Parking Problem on 'The Hill' but now it is not a sure thing, with reference to the potential 800 car Fuller Park Parking Structure, and train station.
  • Reliable sources indicated to us very little of the UM property would be affected if any, maybe a few parking spaces, with the Greenway adjacent to the Athletic Campus as originally proposed.
  • An old RR turntable is next to the Athletic Campus with over 150' wide area that could be a small pocket park in the greenway the owner has said could be used.


 

Eberwhite Woods Committee Has Contacted the City to Have an Illegal Storm Sewer Pipe Removed from the Woods; Contaminated Creek Water an Issue



Eberwhite Woods, AAPS (Google Maps; Right Click for Larger View)

  • Last month the members of the Eberwhite Woods Committee have contacted the city regarding what seemed to be an illegal SW pipe draining into the park. They were told that is was indeed an illegal SW pipe that should be removed by the installer. The pipe was installed when new homes were built recently next to the northeast of the park.
  • They will be asking for payment for damages to the flora and the path caused by the excessive flows from the pipe into the park.
  • There are ongoing discussions on the options to reduce the excessive flows into the woods that is causing tree loss and habitat destruction.
  • Committee members commented that children are routinely in the creek in the woods. I commented this is not advisable as the creek waters may be contaminated according to city and county officials past comments to the ACWG. We agreed this contamination should be addressed and the creek cleaned up so contact of the waters is not a health hazard. Keeping kids out of the open creek is not an option.
  • We have children routinely in the open sections of the creek in the woodland between Liberty and Glendale and have commented on the contamination issues to officials in the recent past.
  • We agreed to meet with the full committee to discuss the potential options. They also will have discussions with U of M forestry staff.
  • These woods are the largest woodland on the west side of town and a real gem to the community and wildlife and, need to be preserved in as natural a state as possible.



Proposed Agenda:  

October 19, 2017

Pall/Gelman 1,4-Dioxane - Part 201 Meeting; Near Surface Groundwater Tests Not Planned


 

Michigan Water Crisis


Near-Surface Groundwater Tests not Planned:

DEQ commented at a recent Town Hall meeting that they now will be continuing near-surface groundwater (NSG) tests on the near west side of town but there is still no word on when these tests will start. We are glad they have said they will continue doing these tests but no sign of actually doing the tests. We would like to see tests they agreed to do this past summer before they stopped testing, eg: West Park Ground Water flows in the Allen's Creek, and additional locations.

MDEQ Part 201 Revisions Meeting:

Members of CARD and ACWG did attend the MDEQ Part 201 discussion in Ann Arbor on October 11, last week.  

'The DEQ, Remediation and Redevelopment Division (RRD), has prepared a revised comprehensive update to Part 201 Cleanup Criteria Rules that reflects revisions from previous public comments and stakeholder discussions.' 

The meeting also included the Volatilization to Indoor Air Pathway (VIAP) revisions, including an opportunity for participants to observe how the VIAP Tiered Process addresses facility-specific site conditions. Currently called Vapor Intrusion (VI).

We asked at the meeting if 1,4 Dioxane will be included in the VIAP standards and was told yes by the MDEQ expert on VI. There was some comment in past meetings that 1,4 D was not like other VIAP compounds but MDEQ said this compound will be included.

DEQ staff commented to us after the end of the formal meeting that public comment from non-regulated community is needed to maintain the inclusion of the Child and Pregnant Mother exposures in any environmental analysis of exposure. Members of ACWG and CARD, some from U of M SPH, and Matt Naud AA City Environmental Coordinator attended the Rules Change Meetings in Lansing last 2 years and had a significant impact on the inclusion of these new exposure rules consideration. The regulated community is requesting removal of these proposed additions to the Part 201 changes.

The comment period for the Rule Changes will start sometime in late November.

MDEQ has made a special case of 1,4 Dioxane mainly because of exposure threats in Ann Arbor and the heightened concern for this compound in the regulatory community including US EPA.

  • Having residents exposed to the compound at the near and surface waters seems to violate even the very weak GOP's Part 201 Environmental standards in Michigan. The setting of a Prohibition Zone in the city was to isolate the compound and allow it to flow under the city to the river and dilute out on its way to Lake Erie. No comment at the last CARD meeting from DEQ representative when this was discussed. No comment at Town Hall meeting.
  • CARD has asked for months to have a 7.2 ppb map that is still not available, as this is the new standard not as is shown currently at 85 ppb.
  • We have soil concentrations at the Gelman site at about 2M ppb that are not being addressed by the DEQ.
  • A reliable source indicates that EPA will be giving notice in November on the whether they will proceed with Gelman Contamination as a Superfund. See past agenda items for details on EPA Superfund Process of acceptance.
  • CARD and ACWG pressed hard for NSG tests that showed 2 and 3 ppb near 8th St. across from Slawson School. Even with higher numbers for VI there is still a fear that this compound will be in NSG at levels of concern in years to come. The original 29 ppb value may be low but 1,900 ppb is no doubt way too high. 
  • Lots of stores by Ryan Stanton in Ann Arbor News/MLive including this recent article 'DEQ signals shift in thinking about threats posed by dioxane'.
  • Links: Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ)-Gelman Project SiteWashtenaw County CARD SiteScio Residents for Safe Water (SRSW)
  • More information about CARD, including the meeting calendar and a copy of the bylaws, is available on the CARD website by going to card.ewashtenaw.org. The CARD Group is working on setting up its own website to make access to information easier.
 

Allen('s) Creek Greenway/Allen Creek Tree Line Potential Property Sales - More Data Needed
 
A screenshot of a presentation slide from CAC #3 Meeting, City of Ann Arbor

  • With the city talking about developing the city-owned properties in the floodplain and floodway along the proposed Greenway/Tree Line Trail we should have a better understanding of the flood risk to the community.
  • The DDA commissioned a sub-watershed study upstream of the city-owned 1st and William site when proposing a parking garage on this site which is in the floodway.
  • FTCH was commissioned to do this study with a DDA budget of $1/4 to $1/2M.
  • The ACWG FOIAed the results of this study when the DDA was not able to produce the report.
  • From the FOIA the ACWG was given the 'modeling results dataset' from the FTCH modeling runs but not the report.
  • It is time to produce the report to fully understand the flood hazard of these properties proposed to be sold and developed that are all in the floodway and floodplain.
  • The FTCH indicated they could only release the report to the DDA, but DDA did not request it. They also indicated that the results were surprising to them enough to check with a local expert to discuss the findings.
  • The DDA proposed 1st and William Parking Garage did not move forward at that time.
  • With larger storms caused by Globel Warming, the city should be taking this opportunity to create a Greenway and reduce flood hazard. Ann Arbor has 100's of homes at risk of flooding in and near the floodplain with those in the floodplain paying higher flood insurance each year.
  • City officials are now discussing the sale of city-owned property in the floodplain that should be used as anchors for the Greenway. Keeping these sites open for the Greenway will make it a much more beneficial greenway and will reduce flood hazard. These open sections can be used to have green open space in the near downtown and, place benches and tables, and potentially Public Art Spaces.
  • The city staff has commented in previous public meetings that the FEMA Floodplain Maps are very loosely calibrated with very little real data used in the drawing of the maps. Even the FEMA consultants drawing the maps have made similar statements when the maps were presented to the city.
  • Building in and up to the floodplain and floodway should not be something our city should be allowing to happen.
  • Link to Allen Creek Greenway Conservancy/Allen Creek Tree Line ACGC


City of Ann Arbor Show Potential Use of Porous Pavement on High Traffic Access Roadways in One of the New Rail Road Station Design Options

Porous Pavement Access Roads Shown in Dark Red (Ann Arbor, Right Click for Larger View)

Great to see the city of Ann Arbor has shown the potential use of Porous Pavement access roads and bike/walkways in the new RR Station proposal. 

With Global Warming, it is clear we will be experiencing larger rain events. Just this past weekend the Kalamazoo area experienced a 7-9 inch rain which caused extensive flooding in the area. Porous pavements have the potential to save money and greatly reduce property losses when used in an appropriate manner. Ann Arbor has several streets and parking lots that have been paved with porous pavement.

Salt use is causing surface and groundwater contamination according to published reports, the east coast is under EPA order to greatly reduce salt use on roadways, other regions are also on notice. Porous pavement can reduce salt use up to 80% saving the waterways and road funds. Porous pavements also last longer saving road funds, and are up to 80% quieter, some intall it just to make their community quieter.

Below are comments from a recent article regarding Porous Pavement use in roadways.


Porous Pavement 4 Lane Roadway - Beach Road, Lake George, NY (Right Click for Larger View)

(For Construction Pros Web Site)

Civil Engineering Magazine - THE MAGAZINE OF THE AMERICAN SOCIETY OF CIVIL ENGINEERS

http://www.asce.org/magazine/20151006-porous-pavement-helps-protect-beach-water-quality/

From the Article: 

'Beach Road will undergo a three-year monitoring program to measure runoff volumes and quality of the discharge.

The roadway is not susceptible to frost heaving and potholes since there is no moisture trapped just below the surface to freeze and expand. “We also do not seal cracks like in conventional pavement,” says Baird. “Unlike conventional asphalt, we invite the water into this roadway. We don't try to keep it out.

“We anticipate enhanced life with this porous pavement,” concludes Baird. “Minor patchwork is just a fact of the typical life of a roadway, however the porous asphalt on Beach Road should hold up for more than 20 years — twice as long as traditional impervious pavement.” ' (bold by us)

Porous Pavement Concrete Sample


Upcoming Ann Arbor City Council Elections November 7th

Vote Nov 7th

On Tuesday November 7th Ann Arbor will have General Election Voting. Please vote.

With all the building in the Allen's Creek Floodplain and the Allen's Creek Greenway Master Plan in its final stages, there is a lot at stake.

We have three great long time Allen's Creek, and citywide, watershed supporting candidates which we hope you will support:

Jack Eaton  4th Ward Democrat Incumbent,  MI Sierra Club Endorsed, Supports EPA Superfund Status

Anne Bannister  1st Ward Democrat

Jane Lumm  2nd Ward Independent Incumbent




Proposed Agenda: 

September 21, 2017

Pall/Gelman 1,4-Dioxane - Near Surface Groundwater Tests To Continue; Town Hall Discussions


 

Michigan Water Crisis


Town Hall Meeting on Gelman Plume Update 8-30-17 Ann Arbor Library:

Town Hall Meeting had overflow crowd with US House Representative Debbie Dingle and most local political representatives in attendance, as were two MDEQ representatives.

DEQ commented at the meeting that they now will be continuing near-surface groundwater (NSG) tests on the west side of town. We are glad they have said they will continue doing these tests. We would like to see tests they agreed to do this past summer before they stopped testing, eg: West Park Ground Water flows in the Allen's Creek, and additional locations.

Comments by DEQ also left it unclear if Danaher does not feel it is the owner of the contamination and is not the Responsible Party (RP). Seemed to indicate Gelman as a funded entity of Danaher is the RP.

See Roger Rayle's (SRSW.ORG, CARD) great video posting of the meeting (CTN could not tape this meeting): 


Screen Shot of Town Hall Meeting (Roger Rayle Video: SRSW.ORG, CARD)


YouTube Video of 08/30/2017 Town Hall Meeting - Dioxane Plume Update (https://youtu.be/fSOjmx_Sdz0)


  • Having residents exposed to the compound at the near and surface waters seems to violate even the very weak GOP's Part 201 Environmental standards in Michigan. The setting of a Prohibition Zone in the city was to isolate the compound and allow it to flow under the city to the river and dilute out on its way to Lake Erie. No comment at the last CARD meeting from DEQ representative when this was discussed. No comment at Town Hall meeting.
  • CARD has asked for months to have a 7.2 ppb map that is still not available, as this is the new standard not as is shown currently at 85 ppb.
  • We have soil concentrations at the Gelman site at about 2M ppb that are not being addressed by the DEQ.
  • All indications are that EPA will accept the Gelman Contamination as a Superfund. See past agenda items for details on EPA Superfund Process of acceptance.
  • EPA is still evaluating this site for Superfund status. We continue to send information to EPA to assist in the evaluation. Published reports indicate that EPA Superfund is not an agency the federal government is planning to make major cuts to as it is widely supported in the country as a major supporter of environmental cleanups with 'deep-pocketed' federal support.

Allen('s) Creek Greenway/Allen Creek Tree Line Citywide Meeting 
 




The Citywide Master Plan Meeting next month -

Greenway City-wide Public Meeting 3

October 4, 2017; 6:30- 8:30 P.M.

In the Council Chambers at City Hall

Open to the public


  • The Allen('s) Creek Greenway has been renamed The Treeline - Allen Creek Urban Trail
  • The U of M has declined to say it will allow a Greenway Trail along the Campus adjacent to the Athletic Campus.
  • An area just west of the tracks adjacent to the Athletic Campus has an old train turntable with an area almost 150' wide at one point which could be used as an open park space along the Greenway with tables and benches and, potentially public art. Access to this area does have a small pinch point which could be mitigated.
  • A trail along this route could be a win-win for the U of M and the city. The fans by the 100's stream along and on the track to and from the games which is dangerous. 
  • The Greenway was proposed next to this track to help get football fans off the track onto a safe path.


Fans walking to UM Football game last Saturday (Right Click for Larger View) (ACWG)


  • U of M representative at this meeting asked to discuss with ACWG the recent additions to the campus of significant stormwater management projects and planned projects which we would be glad to attend. They said they have added many Green Roofs, porous pavement and infiltration designs in recent years to reduce flooding and pollution loading to the Huron River; and plans to add many more in construction and design phases. 


  • With larger storms caused by Globel Warming, the city should be taking this opportunity to create a Greenway and reduce flood hazard. Ann Arbor has 100's of homes at risk of flooding in and near the floodplain with those in the floodplain paying higher flood insurance each year.
  • City officials are now discussing the sale of city-owned property in the floodplain that should be used as anchors for the Greenway. Keeping these sites open for the Greenway will make it a much more beneficial greenway and will reduce flood hazard. These open sections can be used to have green open space in the near downtown and, place benches and tables, and potentially Public Art Spaces.
  • The city staff has commented in previous public meetings that the FEMA Floodplain Maps are very loosely calibrated with very little real data used in the drawing of the maps. Even the FEMA consultants drawing the maps have made similar statements when the maps were presented to the city.
  • Building in and up to the floodplain and floodway should not be something our city should be allowing to happen.
  • Link to City of Ann Arbor The Treeline-Allen Creek Urban Trail Master Plan Project Web Page
  • Link to Allen Creek Greenway Conservancy/ Allen Creek Tree Line ACGC

 

Just a 1.2" Rain Floods 2 Streets that have New Development Approved and Under Construction in the Floodplain


W Kingsley St. & N 1st St 1.2" total rain 9-4-17 (Right Click for Larger View) (ACWG)

Felch St. & N Ashley St. 1.2" total rain 9-4-17 (Right Click for Larger View) (ACWG)

  • Ann Arbor had a 1.2" rain event on September 4th that resulted in impassable flooding of streets, the city has approved nearly 100 new homes on that are in the floodplain, many are in these areas of the city. 
  • With this relatively small rainfall event, it seems clear that the much larger rain events will prove problematic for these areas.
  • With the city approved Flood Hazard Mitigation Plan (FHMP) we should following its recommendation and be reducing flood hazard by shrinking the floodplain and not building in it. 
  • The city in the last few years has applied and received FEMA funds to remove homes in the floodplain yet allowing new homes in the floodplain seems to violate the intent of the FHMP.
  • Building in the floodplain will also affect flood insurance rates and may jeopardize the city's flood hazard rating which could affect later flood mitigation grant funding.
  • With Global Warming more intense rain events are predicted then the current floodplain maps have used to predict flood hazard for Ann Arbor.


Eberwhite Woods Committee Intrested in Reducing the Destruction of the Woods by Excessive Flows in an Open Section(s) of the Allen's Creek in the Woods

Eberwhite Woods, AAPS (Right Click for Larger View)
  • Members of the Eberwhite Woods Committee have contacted and toured the Eberwhite woods with the ACWG earlier this month to discuss the options to reduce the excessive flows into the woods that is causing tree loss and habitat destruction.
  • We agreed to meet with the full committee to discuss the potential options. They also will have discussions with U of M forestry staff.
  • We did look at the maps of Allen's Creek flows reaching the woods to discern options to reduce flows.
  • These woods are the largest woodland on the west side of town and a real gem to the community and wildlife and, need to be preserved in as natural a state as possible.


 

August 2017: No Meeting due to Vacation and Travel Schedules


Watershed Issues of Interest:

Update:  
Town Hall Meeting on Gelman Plume Update 8-30-17 Ann Arbor Library:

Town Hall Meeting had overflow crowd with US House Representative Debbie Dingle and most local political representatives in attendance, as was two MDEQ representatives.

 DEQ commented at the meeting that they now will be continuing near-surface groundwater (NSG) tests on the west side of town. Comments by DEQ also left it unclear if Danaher does not feel it is the owner of the contamination and is not the Responsible Party (RP). Seemed to indicate Gelman as a funded entity of Danaher is the RP.

See Roger Rayle's (SRSW.ORG, CARD) great video posting of the meeting (CTN could not tape this meeting): 



See Ann Arbor News MLive Report: Ryan Stanton MLive on the Town Hall with links to additional recent Ann Arbor News MLive articles on Gelman:



Al Gore's 'An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power' Now Playing till Aug. 17 Mich. Theater.

Ann Arbor Solar Panel Tax is Wrong for Ann Arbor and Wrong for the Environment and, Health and Safety!

'Rain Bomb', Phoenix, Arizona 2015 (An Inconvenient Sequel)

  • Al Gore's movie included an extensive discussion and videos on Rain Bombs hitting the US with increasing frequency with devastating effect on communities due to increases in carbon emissions and Global Warming!
  • The videos of recent Rain Bombs in the US in the movie will be a shock to some.
  • One example of new threats to Michigan was when Holland MI was hit with a 500 Year Storm that washed out 13 bridges and destroyed over 1,500 autos in the recent past. Manistee MI was hit by two 100 Year Storms in three days flooding most of the downtown twice also washing out many bridges including on M31 a major access point to the city. Lawton Neighborhood was hit by 5-6" record storm in 2012 flooding many homes. Warran has a 500-year storm in 2014 causing over $2B in property damage, a storm that first passed over Ann Arbor on its way to dumping flooding rains on Warren.
  • While the vast majority of MI communities do not tax solar panels Ann Arbor does. City officials say it is a State Law but no so for the vast majority of our state.
  • We need to move to low carbon energy sources and make it advantageous for folks to do this now. 
  • No Solar Tax Ann Arbor. We have options like the Stormwater rebate for green solutions. We could have a tax rebate every year you have solar panels on your home that are functional to 70% or 60% of the installed efficiency.
  • Or we could discontinue the Solar Panel Tax altogether.
  • "Sierra Club's Huron Valley Group has joined the debate over whether Ann Arbor should be raising people's taxes for going solar, something the city argues it has no choice but to do under state law.
  • In a statement shared with members of the Ann Arbor Solar Users Network, the club's leaders said they are greatly disappointed it appears the city will continue raising residents' property assessments for adding solar panels to their homes, without any form of local mitigation or offset for the increases." (bold by us) MLive
  • Ann Arbor Tax Assessment on Home Solar Panels is Legally Wrong: James Carter
James J. Carter, Published February 25, 2016 in GLREA.ORG

"The Michigan Tax Tribunal has held that a solar system is personal property, not real property, and therefore should be taxed as personal property. Schmitt v. Charleston Township, decided December 21, 2012. This case was not appealed to the Michigan Court of Appeals, and therefore is the current law for Michigan.

Since homeowners are not taxed on their personal property, no homeowner's tax assessment should increaseas a result of installing a solar system. Commercial and industrial taxpayers will be taxed in the same manner they are taxed on other business personal property. There are many exceptions for business personal property.

Local tax assessors generally do not have a legal background. They rely on their understanding of what is real property, and for years they have applied the common law doctrine that tangible movable property which becomes attached to the real estate, with the intention that it stay attached, is considered a fixture and is therefore real estate and assessable (for example, a deck). The Tax Tribunal rejected the argument that the common law (law from judicial decisions) applied and based their decision on a Michigan statute that defined a solar photovoltaic system as personal property. The common law has been changed many times by statute, and that happened in this case.

A real property owner, either residential, commercial or industrial, should appeal any increase in assessment that is based on a solar installation." (bold by us)

James Carter died in Summer of 2016, he was recent past Board President of the Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association, GLREA, Juris Doctorate in 1968, practiced law in Ann Arbor



Pall/Gelman 1,4-Dioxane - CARD Group Votes to Request DEQ Additional Near Surface Groundwater Tests in Ann Arbor

 Image result for flint mi

Michigan Water Crisis


  • CARD will be submitting a formal complaint to MEDQ that additional testing is needed and required and, should not be paid for by the state but by Gelman.
  • In the recent past, it was communicated to the Coalition for Action on Remediation of Dioxane (CARD) group that samples could be collected at the West Park Allen's Creek and other locations. City staff indicated to us they would assist in sampling at West Park. West Park has very high groundwater flows through the stormwater drain that picks up many underground springs west of West Park and ACWG and CARD Group are asking for an additional test there.
  • At the last CARD meeting, we were told by the DEQ that no additional near-surface groundwater (NSG) tests we made by the DEQ.
  • After finding 1,4 Dioxane in the near surface waters at about 8th St on the west side of town the DEQ said they will do more testing to determine more clearly where the exposure is. Now, in past weeks the DEQ has told the CARD Group they will not do any more testing because they are changing the action level of exposure to basements from the current 29 ppb to 1,900 ppb, in all likelihood. They said the lower standard was quickly determined and now they find it is much too low.
  • City officials have been mum on this for some reason. No city officials have been at the last two CARD monthly meetings with DEQ in attendance.
  • Having residents exposed to the compound at the near and surface waters seems to violate even the very weak GOP's Part 201 Environmental standards in Michigan. The setting of a Prohibition Zone in the city was to isolate the compound and allow it to flow under the city to the river and dilute out on its way to Lake Erie. No comment at the last CARD meeting from DEQ representative when this was discussed.
  • CARD has asked for months to have a 7.2 ppb map that is still not available, as this is the new standard not as is shown currently at 85 ppb.
  • We have soil concentrations at the Gelman site at about 2M ppb that are not being addressed by the DEQ.
  • These NSG tests should be expedited given the fact we have found 1,4 Dioxane in the west side of town in recent past tests.
  • CARD and ACWG pressed hard for NSG tests that showed 2 and 3 ppb near 8th St. across from Slawson School. Even with higher numbers for VI there is still a fear that this compound will be in NSG at levels of concern in years to come. The original 29 ppb value may be low but 1,900 ppb is no doubt way too high. 
  • MLive article 'Court of Appeals rejects polluter's request in Gelman plume case'.
  • MLive also has an  article on VI issues the state is currently trying to decide on in including it in the Part 201 statute or not. 'Poison vapor funds trapped in debate over how DEQ pays for cleanups'.
  • EPA is still evaluating this site for Superfund status. We continue to send information to EPA to assist in the evaluation. Published reports indicate that EPA Superfund is not an agency the federal government is planning to make major cuts to as it is widely supported in the country as a major supporter of environmental cleanups with 'deep pocked' federal support.
  • All indications are that EPA will accept the Gelman Contamination as a Superfund. See past agenda items for details on EPA Superfund Process of acceptance.
 


Allen('s) Creek Greenway Citizen Advisory Committee - Meeting September 13th


A screenshot of a presentation slide from CAC #3 Meeting, City of Ann Arbor


Upcoming Greenway Master Plan Meetings:


Greenway CAC Public Meeting  

Citizen Advisory Committee Meeting 6: 

September 13, 2017; 8:30-10:30 A.M. City Hall Council Chambers


Community-wide Meeting 3: October 4, 2017; 6:30- 8:30 P.M. (Loc TBD)


  • Citizen Advisory Committee Meeting Public welcome, general public comments up to 3 minutes can be made toward the end of the meeting.
  • Many Greenway attendees have commented that we hope the Greenway has major Green Space Included as part of the plan.
  • Building new homes in the floodplain next to the Greenway is not a progressive plan for Ann Arbor. This already is occurring in the floodplain, with over 100 new homes in the Allen's Creek floodplain, in about the past year.
  • Some have commented, and I would agree, we do not need a $50M sidewalk next to the railroad track with buildings up against the sidewalk in Ann Arbor and call it a Greenway.
  • The ACWG has worked for decades to advise against building in the floodplain floodway and create a Greenway to reduce the size of the floodway and greatly reduce flood hazard in Ann Arbor near Westside, as has been shown in many MI communities already.
  • Recent discussions by city officials of building out the floodplain along the Greenway are very short sited and clearly benefit a few at the cost of many.
  • The Greenway should be used to help reduce flood hazard for the 100's  if not well over 1,000's of homes and businesses at real risk of flooding. This project should be used in this manner with little extra costs involved due to the fact that much of the work will occur in the floodplain and floodway. This should not be an opportunity lost and leave residents, businesses and the environment at risk to fend for themselves with little regard to expert predictions of future Flood Hazard risk in SEM.
  • MLive has an article 'New renderings of future urban trail in Ann Arbor set to be unveiled'.
  • There are many examples where a Greenway has produced benefits for the environment, reduced flood hazard and created higher property values and much higher tax base, and created a real signature amenity for the community. One needs not look any further than the K-DDA lead Arcadia Creek Greenway in Kalamazoo or Dequindre Cut near Detroit.
  • Link to City of Ann Arbor Allen Creek Greenway Master Plan Project Web Page
  • Link to Allen Creek Greenway Conservancy ACGC

 

July 2017 - No Meeting due to Vacation and Travel Schedules


Watershed Issues of Interest:
 

 

Pall/Gelman 1,4-Dioxane - No Additional Near Surface Groundwater Tests
 
 
 
  • In discussions with the Sierra Club HVG Ann Arbor in June CM Ackerman commented to us that he was sure DEQ was doing basement testing for 1,4 Dioxane. I asked him if he was sure and he said he was. Comments from DEQ at the past two CARD meetings do not support this statement. They have not and do not plan to do basement testing for the foreseeable future and have never said they are doing basement testing in Ann Arbor.
  • In the recent past it was communicated to the Coalition for Action on Remediation of Dioxane (CARD) group that samples could be collected at the West Park Allen's Creek and other locations. City staff indicated to us they would assist in sampling at West Park. West Park has very high groundwater flows through the stormwater drain that picks up many underground springs west of West Park and ACWG and CARD Group are asking for an additional test there.
  • At the last CARD meeting, we were told by the DEQ that no additional near-surface groundwater (NSG) tests will be made by the DEQ.
  • After finding 1,4 Dioxane in the near surface waters at about 8th St on the west side of town the DEQ said they will do more testing to determine more clearly where the exposure is. Now this past week the DEQ has now told the CARD Group they will not do any more testing because they are changing the action level of exposure to basements from the current 29 ppb to 1,900 ppb, in all likelihood. They said the lower standard was quickly determined and now they find it is much too low.
  • City officials have been mum on this for some reason. No city officials have been at the last two CARD monthly meetings with DEQ in attendance.
  • Having residents exposed to the compound at the near and surface waters seems to violate even the very weak GOP's Part 201 Environmental standards in Michigan. The setting of a Prohibition Zone in the city was to isolate the compound and allow it to flow under the city to the river and dilute out on its way to Lake Erie. No comment at the last CARD meeting from DEQ representative when this was discussed.

  • CARD has asked for months to have a 7.2 ppb map that is still not available, as this is the new standard not as is shown currently at 85 ppb.
  • We have soil concentrations at the Gelman site at about 2M ppb that are not being addressed by the DEQ.
  • These NSG tests should be expedited given the fact we have found 1,4 Dioxane in the west side of town in recent past tests.
  • CARD and ACWG pressed hard for NSG tests that showed 2 and 3 ppb near 8th St. across from Slawson School. Even with higher numbers for VI there is still a fear that this compound will be in NSG in levels of concern in years to come. The original 29 ppb value may be low but 1,900 ppb is no doubt way to high. 
  • CARD has a resolution in support of more NSG tests and an Action Plan to deal with it, that will be voted on for approval and sent in soon.
  • New MLive article 'Court of Appeals rejects polluter's request in Gelman plume case'.
  • MLive also has a recent article on VI issues the state is currently trying to decide on in including it in the Part 201 statute or not. 'Poison vapor funds trapped in debate over how DEQ pays for cleanups'.
  • EPA is still evaluating this site for Superfund status. We continue to send information to EPA to assist in the evaluation. Published reports indicate that EPA Superfund is not an agency the federal government is planning to make major cuts to as it is widely supported in the country as a major supporter of environmental cleanups with 'deep pocked' federal support.

 


Allen('s) Creek Greenway Citizen Advisory Committee - Meeting July 19
 

A screenshot of a presentation slide from CAC #3 Meeting, City of Ann Arbor


UPDATE:
at this meeting is was commented on by city staff, ACGC members and a CAC member that developing the city owned parcels in the floodway and floodplain would be a way to fund the Greenway. My comment was the ACWG does not support the development of the floodplain due to the inherent danger of floodplains especially with Global Warming increasing flood threat. Funds are available for communities to remove structures from the floodplain and floodway that need to be applied for now to reduce flood hazard risk.

Many more flooding events are now occurring in the Midwest that will cause more threat to life and heath, and, damage private and public buildings and infrastructure. 

"Climate change increases the probability of some types of weather. Recent heavy rains and flooding in the Northeast, Midwest, and Great Plains are consistent with a warming planet, and such events are expected to become more common over time." Union of Concerned Scientists 

The link below will have new renderings presented at the meeting of potential Greenway path designs in different locations along the route.



The Greenway Master Plan Meeting 

Greenway CAC Public Meeting  

Wednesday, 8:30 am to 10:30 am, July 19 In the Council Chambers at City Hall

 
  • Public welcome, general public comments up to 3 minutes can be made toward the end of the meeting.
  • At the Joint Session recently of City Council and Planning Commission on Greenway Master Plan progress, it was commented on by some on the panel, including the city manager Howard Lazarus, that building in the floodplain next to the Greenway would be an option that will be discussed in planning for the Greenway. As the ACWG has said and lobbied for in the last 20 years building in the floodplain is not a progressive planning model and should not be used in Ann Arbor especially with the new flood threats from Globel Warming and quickly rising flood insurance rates for those in the floodplain and floodway.
  • The Greenway should be used to help reduce flood hazard for the 100's  if not well over 1,000's of homes and businesses at real risk of flooding. This project should be used in this manner with little extra costs involved due to the fact that much of the work will occur in the floodplain and floodway. This should not be an opportunity lost and leave residents, businesses and the environment at risk to fend for themselves with little regard to expert predictions of future Flood Hazard risk in SEM.
  • MLive has a new article 'New renderings of future urban trail in Ann Arbor set to be unveiled'.
  • There are many examples where a Greenway has produced benefits for the environment, reduced flood hazard and created higher property values and much higher tax base, and created a real signature amenity for the community. One needs not look and further than the K-DDA lead Arcadia Creek Greenway in Kalamazoo or Dequindre Cut near Detroit.
  • Link to City of Ann Arbor Allen Creek Greenway Master Plan Project Web Page
  • Link to Allen Creek Greenway Conservancy ACGC
  
 
Upcoming Ann Arbor City Council Primaries August 8th
 
 
Vote Aug 8th
 

On August 8th Ann Arbor will have Primary Election Voting. Please vote.

With all the building in the Allen's Creek Floodplain and the Allen's Creek Greenway Master Plan in its final stages, there is a lot at stake.

We have four great long time Allen's Creek, and city wide, watershed supporting candidates which we hope you will support:

David Silkworth  5th Ward Democrat, Supports EPA Superfund Status

Jack Eaton  4th Ward Democrat Incumbent,  MI Sierra Club Endorsed, Supports EPA Superfund Status

Stephen Kunselman  3rd Ward Democrat Past Council Member, MI Sierra Club Endorsed, Supports EPA Superfund Status

Anne Bannister  1st Ward Democrat




 

The Lake Erie Forecast - Another Major Algae Bloom Forcast for Later This Summer



 

              2015 Lake Erie Algae Bloom; WILX.Com

 

FEMA Teams Surveying Flood Damage in Mid-Michigan, Record 7 Inch Rain Fall Recorded

         A car sits in the flooded parking lot of Midland's downtown farmers' market.

                        Midland Flooding (Photo: WUOM)

 Record Rain Hits North of Chicago, 7 inches in 6 Hours; Wisconsin 8 inches;

         Northern Chicago Flooding (Chicago Sun Times)




Proposed Agenda:  
 
June 15, 2017 

Pall/Gelman 1,4-Dioxane - Near Surface Groundwater Tests
 
 

  • It was communicated to the Coalition for Action on Remediation of Dioxane (CARD) group that samples could be collected at the West Park Allen's Creek and other locations. City staff indicated to us they would assist in sampling at West Park. West Park has very high groundwater flows through the stormwater drain that picks up many underground springs west of West Park and ACWG and CARD Group are asking for an additional test there.
  • We have not received word that West Park and other tests were collected as of today.
  • These NSG tests should be expedited given the fact we have found 1,4 Dioxane in the west side of town in recent past tests.
  • CARD and ACWG pressed hard for near-surface groundwater (NSG) tests that showed 2 and 3 ppb near 8th St. across from Slawson School. Even with higher numbers for VI there is still a fear that this compound will be in NSG in levels of concern in years to come. The original 29 ppb value may be low but 1,900 ppb is no doubt way to high. 

  • MLive has a recent article on VI issues the state is currently trying to decide on in including it in the Part 201 statute or not. 'Poison vapor funds trapped in debate over how DEQ pays for cleanups'.
  • EPA is still evaluating this site for Superfund status. EPA Superfund manager was in town past weeks and expected back soon to further gather information to interview the Superfund petitioners including me and others about this option. They still have concerns including the delay in soil cleanup and VI exposures. We continue to send information to EPA to assist in the evaluation. Published reports indicate that EPA Superfund is not an agency the federal government is planning to make major cuts to as it is widely supported in the country as a major supporter of environmental cleanups with 'deep pocked' federal support.
  • EPA Superfund Status, Comments from Senator Stabenow to me during the Sierra Club 50 Anniversary event June 10:
    • Senator Debbie Stabenow indicated to me when asked that Superfund Cleanup is not proposed to see major cuts in funding in D.C. She agreed with published reports that it seems EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt does not propose major changes in Superfund Cleanup funding.
    • Senator Gary Peters was also in attendance but I did not get a chance to ask him the same question.
    • Generally EPA Superfund has a very good record of Superfund fully funding from a Responsible Party if one is available and has said if accepted they will make every effort to restore the township and city's groundwater to a drinkable standard. Not a Remediation but a Clean Up.
  • More information about CARD, including the meeting calendar and a copy of the bylaws, is available on the CARD website by going to card.ewashtenaw.org. The CARD Group is working on setting up its own web site to make access to information easier.

  • Links: Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ)-Gelman Project Site;Washtenaw County CARD Site;Scio Residents for Safe Water (SRSW)
  • Lots of stores by Ryan Stanton in Ann Arbor News/MLive including this recent article 'DEQ signals shift in thinking about threats posed by dioxane'.
 
 

312 Glendale Memory Care (MC) Proposal - Comments to Questions on Council Chooses not to do a Reconsideration of this Vote Due to Misrepresentations

Results of residents neighborhood survey;
Site is to left in dark olive tone with Legend, stormwater flow to the right

  • Water Resources Commissioner (WRC) send an email questioning past comments I and others made regarding the 312 Glendale Memory Care Center Proposal before the Planning Commission and City Council (CC).
  • Here are the comments from our Agenda and my follow-ups in Red.
  • I do think the 220% retention on site was an important improvement on the plan but the overriding issues still remained.  It is as important or more important to maintain or improve existing TAX BASE as it is to add new tax base. 10's if not 100 or more homes are at real risk just downstream of this project of flood hazard and this project will make matters worse not better given past history of flooding and court finding with money damages to residents, resident survey showing about 50% with fresh rain runoff water and sanitary sewage problems, $2M study results, Globel Warming and no green space upstream to mitigate the flood risk.
  • City rules clearly state Life Health and Safty are Paramount in any City Actions and take president.
  • All these comments listed below were expertly captured on video by CTN in the Planning Commission and City Council meetings.
  • False or misleading statements by staff:

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 street curb flood conditions in Ann Arbor have been discussed extensively in city meetings repeatedly, that I have attended in the past 20 years.

This comment was made to PC during questions from the PC to WRCO Scott Miller

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.

This comment was made by the WRCO to CC

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.

This comment was made by various members of staff to PC.  Videos show no such flows in large rains, the runoff is captured in the area now proposed building site. These videos may not have been 100 year (1% chance) events but the videos do show major street flooding in the neighborhood while no runoff is occurring off the orchard.

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.

This comment was made by WRCO Evan Pratt during comments to CC

This new development will improve SW handling. 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.

These comments have been made repeatedly over the last 30 years by CC, Planning Staff and Commissioners, and WRCO and Drain Commissioners Office before that, which the ACWG has questioned repeatedly as being an invalid way to put off dealing with flooding and pollution issues in the region.

 
Allen('s) Creek Greenway Citizen Advisory Committee - Meeting July 19
 

A screenshot of a presentation slide from CAC #3 Meeting, City of Ann Arbor
 
  • The Greenway Master Plan Meeting next month

Greenway City-wide Public Meeting  

Wednesday, 8:30 am to 10:30 am, July 19 In the Council Chambers at City Hall

  • Public welcome, general public comments up to 3 minutes can be made toward the end of the meeting.
  • At the Joint Session last night of City Council and Planning Commission on Greenway Master Plan progress, it was commented on by some on the panel, including the city manager Howard Lazarus, that building in the floodplain next to the Greenway would be an option that will be discussed in planning for the Greenway. As the ACWG has said and lobbied for in the last 20 years building in the floodplain is not a progressive planning model and should not be used in Ann Arbor especially with the new flood threats from Globel Warming and quickly rising flood insurance rates for those in the floodplain and floodway.
  • The Greenway should be used to help reduce flood hazard for the 100's  if not well over 1,000's of homes and businesses at real risk of flooding. This project should be used in this manner with little extra costs involved due to the fact that much of the work will occur in the floodplain and floodway. This should not be an opportunity lost and leave residents, businesses and the environment at risk to fend for themselves with little regard to expert predictions of future Flood Hazard risk in SEM.
  • There are many examples where a Greenway has produced benefits for the environment, reduced flood hazard and created higher property values and much higher tax base, and created a real signature amenity for the community. One needs not look and further than the K-DDA lead Arcadia Creek Greenway in Kalamazoo or Dequindre Cut near Detroit.
  • Link to City of Ann Arbor Allen Creek Greenway Master Plan Project Web Page
  • Link to Allen Creek Greenway Conservancy ACGC
 
 
City of Ann Arbor Water And Sewer Values Survey Till June 30th
 

City of Ann Arbor Seal

This message from Jennifer Lawson City of Ann Arbor:

"The City of Ann Arbor is undertaking a Water and Sewer Values Survey to aid in the City’s Water and Sewer Rate Study.

If you have a few minutes, please fill out the survey – open to all City of Ann Arbor residents, and customers of A2 Water. 

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/B333HNH

In addition – please feel free to forward to any of your colleagues, friends or neighbors that live in Ann Arbor.  Please let me know if you have questions, comments, or concerns!"

Jennifer E. Lawson, CSM
Water Quality Manager; Public Services Area - Systems Planning Unit
City of Ann Arbor; jlawson@a2gov.org

More details here at A2Gov.Org.


 
Public Hearing: 2017 State Revolving Fund 
 

Miller Ave Rain Garden just after Installation - EWashtenaw.Org


This message from Harry Sheehan Washtenaw County Water Resources Office:
 
"The City of Ann Arbor’s 2018-2023 Capital Improvements Plan (CIP) identifies major stormwater projects expected to take place in the coming 6 fiscal years. Some of these projects will be financed via the State Revolving Loan Fund (SRF). These SRF loans are based on 2.5%, 20 year bonds that often include some type of principal forgiveness.

Please join us next Tuesday evening for a public hearing to learn about SRF funding for the coming cycle of projects identified in the CIP.

SRF Public Hearing
Tuesday, June 13 at 6:30
1100 N. Main Street, Ann Arbor, 2nd Floor

If you would like a copy of the presentation beforehand, or if you would like to review the draft document, please email me. Thanks!"

Harry Sheehan
Deputy of Environmental Services; Washtenaw County Water Resources
705 N. Zeeb Road, PO Box 8645; Ann Arbor, MI 48107-8645
(734) 222-6851; sheehanh@ewashtenaw.org
 


Proposed Agenda:  
 

May 18, 2017 


Pall/Gelman 1,4-Dioxane - Near Surface Groundwater Test of Allen's Creek
 
 
 
  • Results of the Allen's Creek water test were Non-Detect (ND) for 1,4 Dioxane. Results were sent by Dan Hamel MDEQ to ACWG 4-20-17. ND is at least below the 1 ppb reporting limit. All other compounds were below Target Detection Limit. Full report sent to the ACWG is available on request.
  • Additional sample could be collected at the West Park Allen's Creek. City staff indicated to us they would assist in sampling at West Park. West Park has very high groundwater flows though the stormwater drain that picks up many underground springs west of West Park and ACWG and CARD Group are asking for additional test there.
  • The state has removed vapor intrusion (VI) from the last state budget. The state is not clear on how it will deal with this type of exposure to the community. UPDATE: state funding is still not clear on VI.
  • CARD and ACWG pressed hard for near surface groundwater (NSG) tests that showed 2 and 3 ppb near 8th St. across from Slawson School. Even with higher numbers for VI there is still a fear that this compound will be in NSG in levels of concern in years to come. The original 29 ppb value may be low but 1,900 ppb is no doubt way to high. 

  • Seems the DEQ should be on top of the VI issue with all the time that has elapsed since we knew VI could be an issue. This is just one of the issues the townships and Sierra Club Huron Valley Group raised when asking for EPA Superfund evaluation, which the city and county have still yet to join in on. Even 1,900 pbb is not not very far off as this plume moves through the city with Vet's Park already at 1,000 ppb. At the last CARD meeting it was discussed that we had readings of 2M ppb at the core area after many truck loads of contaminated soil were removed. Soil cleanup is not being addressed at all currently.

    CARD had folks in Lansing, two toxicologists, and other locals at the Part 201 discussions that were also pushing for VI inclusion. Lots of push back from the Regulated Community, that obviously now have an upper hand that pressured the state to remove VI from the last budget bill. VI is a major issue all over MI not just Ann Arbor and clearly should be part of the Part 201 state environmental cleanup regulations. This is why EPA is really needed to 'watch the backs' of MI communities that the state officials have little regard for.

  • EPA is still evaluating this site for Superfund status. EPA Superfund manager was in town last week to interview the Superfund petitioners including me and others about this option. They still have concerns including the delay in soil cleanup and VI exposures. We continue to send information to EPA to assist in the evaluation. Published reports indicate that EPA Superfund is not an agency the federal government is planning to make major cuts to as it is widely supported in the country as a major supporter of environmental cleanups with 'deep pocked' federal support.
  • More information about CARD, including the meeting calendar and a copy of the bylaws, is available on the CARD website by going to card.ewashtenaw.org. The CARD Group is working on setting up its own web site to make access to information easier.

  • Links: Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ)-Gelman Project Site;Washtenaw County CARD Site;Scio Residents for Safe Water (SRSW)
  • Lots of stores by Ryan Stanton in Ann Arbor News/MLive including this recent article 'DEQ signals shift in thinking about threats posed by dioxane' and has links to past stories.
 
 

312 Glendale Memory Care (MC) Proposal - Council Chooses not to do a Reconsideration of this Vote Due to Misrepresentations

Results of residents neighborhood survey;
Site is to left in dark olive tone with Legend, stormwater flow to the right

  • Council has of now decided not to Reconsider this vote even with the false and misleading comments to the Planning Commission and City Council. This is very troubling as it shows a disregard for factual decision making in our city government. The neighborhood residents are considering their options in response.
  • Council approved plans for the MC at 312 Glendale on April 3rd in a 6-3 vote.
  • A council member or members needed 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.

 
  Allen Creek Railroad Berm Opening Project

Depot_preferred_101813_update.jpg
Proposed Berm Opening (City of Ann Arbor)
 
  • May 15 Council Resolution to Approve a Design Phase Agreement with the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak) for $97,020.00 for Review of Design Plans for the Allen Creek Railroad Berm Opening Project.
  • This will allow flood water to flow to the river under the berm which currently acts as a dam. This will greatly reduce flood hazard in the area. Many of the homes in the area that now flood may not have flooding with this opening to the river in the 100 year (1% chance) rain event.
  • This will allow a much needed connection with the Greenway to the B2B trail.
  • Pollution levels on the north east side of the track [up to the Allen's Creek Outlet] need  to be tested and the pollution needs to be cleaned up. Pollution levels near the Allen's Creek outlet are very high and not clearly shown on this map. Pollution at this site is no doubt polluting the groundwater and river and, during a major flood will be washed into the Huron River. Why our state, city, county, Huron River Watershed Council and DTE are not dealing with this pollution is a major issue.
  • Access to the berm opening does not seem to be clearly defined. During public meetings about this project the First Martin building owners near the opening were not interested in a trail near the building. The berm will greatly enhance the value of the First Martin building lowing the floodplain by a large amount.
  • The ACWG has petitioned for many years for this project with the benefits discussed above, and attended many public meetings over the past few years to lobby for this to be funded.
 
 

Celebrating 50 Years of Sierra Club in MichiganImage result for sierra club huron valley ann arbor 50th anniversary


The Sierra Club Michigan Chapter will mark its 50th Anniversary  on June 10.

Washtenaw Community College, Morris Lawrence Bldg-Atrium.

Live Music • Cash Bar • Dinner


Senators Gary Peters Keynote Speaker and National Sierra Club Exec. Dir. Michael Brune

$50/person, $15/student with ID, includes dinner

Contact our local Sierra Club member Ginny Maturen for currently available seats at $40 till the day of the event.

Sierra Club Huron Valley Group will have many members attending.


Date:Saturday, June 10, 2017
Time:6:00 PM to 8:30 PM
Presented by:Michigan Chapter
Leader:Cecilia Garcia - 517-896-1506 cecilia.garcia@sierraclub.org
Location:4800 E Huron River Dr, Ann Arbor, MI 48105, USA
 Click Here for Additional Information



Proposed Agenda:  
 

April 20, 2017 


 Pall/Gelman 1,4-Dioxane - Near Surface Groundwater Test of Allen's Creek

Michigan Water Crisis

MDEQ Staff Collecting Creek Water Samples On Allen's Creek 
between Glendale and Liberty St's on 4-5-17 (ACWG.ORG)

 

Update: Results of the Allen's Creek water test were Non-Detect (ND) for 1,4 Dioxane. Results were sent by Dan Hamel MDEQ to ACWG 4-20-17. ND is at least below the 1 ppb reporting limit. All other compounds were below Target Detection Limit. Full report sent to the ACWG is available on request.


MDEQ did collect additional near surface groundwater (NSG) tests at Allen's Creek between Glendale and Liberty St's on April 5. Results not returned yet.

We were told that additional sample could be collected at the West Park Allen's Creek if the city would allow. City staff indicated to us they would assist in sampling at West Park. West Park has very high groundwater flows though the stormwater drain that picks up many underground springs west of West Park and ACWG and CARD Group are asking for additional test there.

  • This shallow groundwater exposure is a clear and present danger to the community and needs immediate evaluation by state and local officials and, plans made to stop the potential exposure to the west side residents through their basements and other exposure points.
  • With the poor quantity, and in some cases quality, of tests done to date the city is left with very little information of the risks to exposure to residents.
  • Several blocks west of the previous 2 near surface tests, with 2 and 3 ppb, is a deep groundwater well showing 320 ppb and moving east. At Vet's Park several blocks farther west we have deep groundwater well with readings over 1,000 ppb.
  • The ACWG was instrumental in getting official to agree to do near surface and surface ground water tests, and it is important to gain an understanding of the flow of the plume and if it will be coming to the surface and where.
  • At the last CARD meeting we did discuss the option to have the DEQ contract or do 'Geo Prob's on the city west side to quickly map the NSG.
  • DEQ have indicate to the CARD group the they are now doing modeling for Vapor Intrusion (VI) of 1,4D as they said is necessary for including VI in the new emergency site regulatory statute. This data would be necessary to determine the level of exposure in basements that may occur. This compound VI profile would be different than most other VI compounds of concerns as it would enter structures with water and then evaporate with the water into the air. This special modeling may not have been done for any compound or just a few. U of M VI research scientists have expressed interest in studying this uncommon exposure modeling.
  • The action level for 1,4 D is 29 ppb within about 10 feet of a basement. This may change with the VI modeling of the compound as the 29 ppb is based roughly on other volatal compounds commonly found in contaminated sites.
  • Michigan has set new standard at 7.2 ppb with 32 years exposure (less 2 weeks/yr vacations) 1 in 100K, not the EPA standard of 70 years exposure (no vacations) which would result in a 3.5 ppb standard. A 1 in 1M risk, 70 year exposure would result in a .35 ppb standard according to EPA.
  • EPA considers 1,4-dioxane a respiratory and nervous system hazard, skin irritant, an animal carcinogen and a probable human carcinogen.
  • CARD has voted to form a Board and Adpot Bylaws at its last meeting, March 7th: 

    The first CARD officers are:

    Chair: Roger Rayle; Co-Founder & Chair, Scio Residents for Safe Water

    Vice Chair: Mike Moran; Supervisor, Ann Arbor Charter Township

    Secretary: Shana Milkie; Citizen, City of Ann Arbor

    Treasurer: Vince Caruso; Coordinating Member, Allen’s Creek Watershed Group; Sierra Club Huron Valley Group Exe. Committee

    The officers elected Jennifer Conn, Washtenaw County Environmental Analyst, to be CARD’s Executive Director

More information about CARD, including the meeting calendar and a copy of the bylaws, is available on the CARD website by going to card.ewashtenaw.org.

 

312 Glendale Memory Care (MC) Proposal - Council Needs to do a Reconsideration of this Vote Due to Misrepresentations:

Results of residents neighborhood survey;
Site is to left in dark olive tone with Legend, stormwater flow to the right


Update: Council has of now decided not to Reconsider this vote even with the false and misleading comments to the Planning Commission and City Council. This is very troubling as it shows a disregard for factual decision making in our city government. The neighborhood residents are considering their options in response.

Council approved plans for the MC at 312 Glendale on April 3rd 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).

False or misleading statements by staff:
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • This new development will improve SW handling. 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 over taxed neighborhood.

The neighborhood had many conversations and communications with council and staff on these issues. Our own Fifth Ward Council Members are particularly egregious for not commenting on these issues.

This proposal is much too large for residential neighborhood with the back facing existing single family residential. It will have a Glendale address and the back will face Glendale. This will be ugly and lower the value of Glendale homes.

Health and safety of the neighborhood should not come in second behind developer wishes for large profits, sometimes in the tens of millions.

Health and safety should not just be considered unless severe health effects and death has been shown in recent past, zoning and codes take precedence.

Our city attorney tells council not to get into a fight with developers who may go to court. This is what a city attorney does.

Existing well established and proven tax base of hundreds(?) of existing homes at risk should really matter to the city. About 80% of the tax base in Ann Arbor is from the residential community.

The value of homes to the homeowners really does matter and should not be ignored.

Flooding from the HT site occurred when first built in the 1970's. Downstream homeowners settled out of court for money damages. Adding a new building and imperiousness in this area will cause flooding.

A park with stormwater detention is the best option for the site to handle non-mitigated up stream flows including HT that are putting more and more homes at risk of flooding, a health, safety and welfare risk, and property devaluation. This is recommended for this neighborhood by the 2015 study. This opportunity should not be allowed to be missed. No other green space is west, upstream, of this site.

Record heat in the Gulf of Mexico waters this year is setting up for major record storms in the Midwest including SEM.

Global Warming Climate Deniers in our city government, hard to believe. Council has voted for 102 new homes in the Allen’s Creek Floodplain in about the past year.

In the Lawton neighborhood of 100’s of homes at risk, the city will end up paying well over $7M in the next few years to try to fix the mess in that neighborhood, and bail out a really bad developer and really bad city planning, and this neighborhood will still be a sitting target for the next big rain event that may happen any day. A very large part of their $7M “mitigation” is loss of a neighborhood park, loss of a very dense separating woodland and hill that is a critical buffer for many homes from noise on the nearby I94, for SW detention.

HRWC and UM/MSU/MI Dept of Health recent published studies say we should be planning now for 500 year (0.2% chance) not 100 year storms due to Global Warming (see below). In the last year or so the city has approved over 60 new homes in the Allen's Creek Floodplain and some up next to the floodway contrary to federal opinion and, current Michigan and national scientific studies.

Studies cited above:

The Huron River Watershed Council (HRWC) has recently posted on the web (Feb. 2016):

'Implications of precipitation changes in Southeast Michigan and options for response: A guide for municipalities',

Report by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and the Great Lakes Integrated Sciences Assessments (GLISA) Program—a partnership between the University of Michigan and Michigan State University Michigan Climate and Health Profile Report 2015 -  Building Resilience Against Climate Effects on Michigan’s Health

Federal rules virtually disallow using federal funds for building in the 100 year floodplain, and critical structures in the 500 year floodplain.

President Obama discussed in 2016 that Global Warming threats as 'Terrifying', in a New York Times article, and some Nobel Scientist have said it may be worse than the Nuclear Threat to our communities. He states it's 'already manifesting itself as droughts, storms, heat waves and flooding'.

Inappropriate development across the creek on Liberty St. from our house at 556 Glendale in early 2000's forced the city to spend close to $1/2M to mitigate flooding issues caused by very poor planning of a new development. In our Fair Glen Commons private park space 7 landmark trees were cut down, the woodland half cleared and an open section of the Allen's Creek enclosed in a 5'x8' 1,000' long ugly pipe. Tax return on the new homes will be 35 to 40 years before the increase tax is realized by the city. Many of the new owner occupied homes on Liberty St. that were at risk have been turned into rental units with much less value than previously.

To be fair to the neighborhood this proposal needs to be brought up for Reconsideration due to misrepresentations and the other issues sited above.
 


With Spring Again We Have Many Kids Playing in Allen's Creek, Pollution of the Creek Makes it Unsafe, Time to Clean It Up 
 
Child Playing in Open Section of Allen's Creek this Spring (ACWG)
 
With spring comes the time for kids to get outside and explore. Many times that is in or around water bodies. 
 
The Drain Commissioner Janis Bobrin said to ACWG, during a visit some years ago to an open section of the creek where the DEQ did the NSG tests, she 'would not let her pet dog near the Allen's Creek' due to pollution issues.

Past Time to clean up the creek because you can not keep kids, and some adults, from having contact with the creek water. 
 
This is a common effort all over the country and needs to be improved on here in Ann Arbor.
 
Riparian Water Rights: The reasonable use of the water by a riparian owner is subject to the downstream riparian owners [the kids and neighbors along the creek] 'riparian right' to receive waters undiminished in flow and quality. Since all surface waters eventually flow to the public ocean, federal regulatory authority under the Clean Waters Act, like the Clean Air Act, extends beyond only public (navigable) waters to prevent downstream pollution.
 
The creek is not only a health hazard to nearby residents, it flows into the Huron River causing unacceptable pollution there where we have more and more folks contacting the river water. The river below Argo Dam is not rated for full body contact, mainly due to Allen's Creek outflow just below the dam. In recent past years some government officials have said the river above Argo Dam is also not rated for full body contact, especially after a heavy rain event.
 
 
 
Allen('s) Creek Greenway Citizen Advisory Committee - Meeting
 

A screenshot of a presentation slide from CAC #3 Meeting, City of Ann Arbor
 

Update: City staff report that in recent discussions regarding the Greenway Plans with various groups in the city that there is very strong support from that a large portion of the Greenway should be off road. 




Next meeting of the CAC is:

Wed, 8:30 am to 10:30 am April 19 In the Council Chambers at City Hall

 

  • We hope you can attend, get a overview of the plan options for the Greenway, ask questions and make comment on the options for a Greenway in Ann Arbor. As always non-CAC members are encouraged to make 3 min. comment about the Greenway Plans at the end of the meeting.
  • A Greenway in the Allen's Creek floodplain will greatly reduce flood hazard to hundreds of homes and businesses in the west side, will create a open gathering green space in the near downtown, connect to the Huron River and Border to Border Trail, provide alternative transportation to and from the downtown and river, provide festival sites for events, arts display locations and many other amenities that will be enjoyed for generations to come.
  • As part of the Community Rating System (CRS) with FEMA a Greenway could significantly lower Flood Insurance Rates in Ann Arbor which are going up each year. One homeowner in the floodplain was told by the city staff recently the rates are expected to go up 25% a year for the next many years. Unfortunately Ann Arbor currently does not qualify for this FEMA important safety and cost saving benefit for its home owners.

 

Earth Day Festival This Sunday

  • ACWG will be sharing a table with SRSW and CARD at the Earth Day Event this Sunday 
  • Lesley Science and Nature Center 12-4pm; 1831 Traver Rd.
  • 'Parking can be limited at the event so visitors are strongly encouraged to "go green" and carpool, bus, bike, or walk to the festival.
  • This free, family-friendly event features displays from 40 local environmental, nonprofit, and governmental organizations; live animal demonstrations; hands-on activities; live entertainment; green building & commuting technologies; energy topics; water awareness; sustainable agriculture; and more.

 

 

Celebrating 50 Years of Sierra Club in MichiganImage result for sierra club huron valley ann arbor 50th anniversary


The Sierra Club Michigan Chapter will mark its 50th Anniversary  on June 10.

Washtenaw Community College, Morris Lawrence Bldg-Atrium.

Live Music • Cash Bar • Dinner


Senator Gary Peters Keynote Speaker, National Sierra Club Exec. Dir. Michael Brune

$50/person, $15/student with ID, includes dinner

Sierra Club Huron Valley Group will have many members attending.


Date:Saturday, June 10, 2017
Time:6:00 PM to 8:30 PM
Presented by:Michigan Chapter
Leader:Cecilia Garcia - 517-896-1506 cecilia.garcia@sierraclub.org
Location:4800 E Huron River Dr, Ann Arbor, MI 48105, USA
 Click Here for Additional Information








(*Some agenda items may have been corrected for typos and include follow up updates when posted here.)