Recent ACWG Meeting Agenda Items and Updates


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July 2021 - No Meeting this month due to COVID-19 Pandemic Cautions


Watershed Issues of Interest and Updates:

Danaher/Pall/Gelman 1,4-Dioxane Toxic Dump Site Plume - EPA Superfund Update; Consent Agreement Is Still A Mess, NSG Tests and Cleanup Long Overdue, County Staff Challenge Tests Needed and Schools At Risk; Over $1M Tax Payer Dollars Spent On Lawyers!
 
 
Zoom Hosted by Roger Rayle; screenshot of YouTube view (click image to view)
(Roger Rayle; Clk for larger)  
 

EPA is currently doing well testing and studying geological aspects of the Gelman/Danaher Toxic Waste Plume as part of the effort to likely begin a EPA Superfund process for the site in the next year or two. Governor Whitmer Has Sent a Letter To EPA in Support (Concurrence Letter) of an EPA  Superfund for the Gelman/Danaher Toxic Dump Site and Plume in April 2021.

US EPA has set up a website for the Gelman/Danaher Toxic Dump Site and Plume with basic descriptions of the site and status.

At the July Coalition for the Remediation of Dioxane (CARD) meeting, after issuing another request, EGLE and local officials agreed to set a date to investigate potential 1,4 dioxane exposure because of detection and increasing levels being found at and near West Park. Potential exposure could occur from vapor intrusion into buildings and other exposures from outside contact with contaminated groundwater seeping to the surface. See details below. 

With 49 ppb at West Park EIGHT MONTHS since the last tests, we said, is way too long to wait. Additional tests are now planned for this summer.

Very Detailed Gelman/Danaher Plume Geological Study Published:

EGLE has contracted with RockWorks to report on very detailed geological aspects of the Gelman/Danaher contamination. This recently published report is on the city web site. Lots of details, charts and maps which will take some time to study this very long PDF file.

For some reason, the RockWorks report was not communicated to CARD or the public in a timely manner.

4th Consent Judgement (CJ) Agreement Mess:

Still No Consent amongst the litigants yet is suggested as such in the court with the 4th Consent Judgement actions.

Judge makes confusing comments and statements that are confusing even Ann Arbor experienced lawyers on CARD. Not clear where this court is going. Gelman/Danaher very happy with the confusion, delays are a win for them. The public has spent over $1 Million on this 4 CJ with little to show for the effort. Not clear what is the direction or intent of this process other than to delay and get Lawyers rich off Tax Payers doing a very poor job.

Million Dollar Legal Service Unacceptable:

Poor service to the public, for example, the public was left to determine the many Outrageous GOCHAS in the very complex proposed 4CJ.

The Ann Arbor Mayor's Law firm, which he is a part-owner, is part of this legal team for the public via Scio Twp hire. The Mayor has vigorously and consistently pushed for CJ negotiations over the past few years and not supported EPA Superfund. He has said he is decoupled from the case but as an owner of the law firm that does not seem plausible. He should recuse himself on voting on these CJs.

Screening levels for 1,4 dioxane were 29 ppb originally set by EGLE and changed to 1,900 ppb, analysis by a CARD member and now comments from EGLE indicates 100 ppb would be appropriate with some assumptions.

The past analysis shows the Gelman/Danaher Plume may surface in the West Park area due to geological layers from the glacial action being exposed as the groundwater flow move toward the Huron River east of Argo Pond. 

It is the ACWG and CARD's position that the EPA Superfund route is the most effective option the community has, given the fights Gelman/Pall/Donaher, a $140B company, has put up to avoid an effective cleanup for over 40 years.

All local governments and most NGOs, including CARD, ACWG, SC HVG, have voted for the Governor to Petition EPA for Superfund Status for Gelman/Danaher Toxic Dump Site Plume. 

With over 100 Public Comments in public comment sessions, there have been no supporters of the 4th CJ.

40 years of diddling with Gelman is way too long, and the community, the state and the environment deserve better. The State and local governments can not deal with this, this is very apparent now as it was 20 years ago.

40 years of mismanagement, deaths, illness, property and wells damaged, valuable pristine groundwater polluted is enough.

Mayor Taylor should recuse from voting on the current Proposed CJ, he is a Partner/Owner of the law firm making $100's thousands on the ill-conceived CJ legal effort, in lieu of a Gelman/Danaher fully funded Superfund plan and full Cleanup.

ACWG and CARD have stated and Dan Bicknell has proposed a plan for permanent NSG wells back in 2016 that EGLE has not chosen to implement and they have not forced Gelman/Danaher to do it either.

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

July 2021 Regular Coalition for the Remediation of Dioxane (CARD) Group Meeting Video - Taped by Roger Rayle, Chair CARD

RockWorks Geological Gelman Analysis, Very Long PDF File on City Website 

EPA, EGLE and Local Government Joint Session on 3-18-21; YouTube link to the Video  

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

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

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

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

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

Washtenaw County CARD Site

See ACWG site pages EPA Superfund Option Details from CARD/ACWG.

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

 
Why Has EGLE and the City Council Majority Not Supported Permanent Near-Surface Shallow Groundwater (NSG) Tests With All the Data Pointing to This As A Major Issue For Ann Arbor's West Side, and May Also an Issue In Scio Twp NSG Locations
 

Locations of EGLE 10-9-2020 NSG Tests and Schools
(West Part is in the middle of the image)
(ACWG, Clk for larger)
 
We need these wells installed by Gelman/Danaher and monitored to understand the movement of this plume.
 
Homes, school(s) and businesses exposures to 1,4 Dioxane is not an issue we should be waiting for exposures to happen before we act.
 
Homes, school(s) and businesses should not be the ' Canary in the Coal Mine'.
 
The city contracted basement tests but chose not to consult with CARD or ACWG on this. They placed the tests to far west based on previous data from Near-Surface Shallow Groundwater (NSG) tests. More public funds are wasted.
 
At the May CARD meeting, EGLE and local officials agreed to investigate potential 1,4 dioxane exposure because of detection and increasing levels being found at and near West Park. Potential exposure could occur from vapor intrusion into buildings and other exposures from outside contact with contaminated groundwater seeping to the surface.
 
EGLE found 49 ppb in West Park 8 months ago in its last test. EGLE tested upstream of West Park in the Allen's Creek drain and found no 1,4 Dioxane. It would be logical to say the tests in West Park are near-surface shallow groundwater (NSG) entering the Allen's Creek drain very near or in West Park. The Allen's Creek drain in West Park has very high flows even in drought conditions, very likely to be groundwater. The 8th St Allen's Creek drain also has high flows even in drought conditions and is also very likely to be NSG and is also contaminated with 1,4 dioxane.
 
This NSG is contaminated and very likely to be Gelman/Danaher 1.4 dioxane contaminated as shown below in the geological map produced by Gelman/Pall/Danaher showing the pollution in the NSG coming to the surface in the West Park area.


MLive (Red Text Annotated on left by us)
(ACWG, Clk for larger)
 
ACWG and CARD have been requesting very simple tests since 2016, when EGLE and Gelman refused to do a meaningful test program, as reported here in 2016 and posted on the website.
 
ACWG and CARD have stated and Dan Bicknell has proposed a plan for permanent NSG wells back in 2016 (as ACWG has sent out and posted on our site) that EGLE has not chosen to implement and they have not forced Gelman/Danaher to do it either.
 
Concern that the seeps, groundwater entering lower levels of schools, kids getting wet in the playground from seep flows and taking this into the school after recess could lead to exposures.
 
Like in a home's basement, Vapor Intrusion (VI) into a school lower levels can be at risk with high enough concentrations of contaminated Near Surface Shallow Groundwater next to the structure.
 
It would seem that children's exposures would a concern as they may be at risk at much lower values compared to adult exposures.
 
The MS4 Violation in Allen's Creek Going on 3 Years and still not even started to be fixed:
The CARD Group has passed a resolution asking for the illicit 1,4 Dioxane pollution flowing into the Allen's Creek Drain to be removed by Gelman. Gelman and EGLE have been notified of this for over 3 years with the illicit 1,4 Dioxane pollution levels in the drain continuously going up. The ACWG pushed for and also supports the CARD resolution. No resolution of this Federal MS4 violation reported at the last CARD meeting about this violation.
 
The Water Resources Commissioners Office (WRCO) has notified Gelman that they are in violation of the Federal MS4 Permit in a statutory Freshwater Runoff (Stormwater) Drain. WRCO is the delegated authority by EGLE and the Federal Government to manage MS4 permits in the County. No word on what Gelman/Danaher will do about this over 3-year-old Federal MS4 Violation.
 
Screening levels for 1,4 dioxane was 29 ppb originally set by EGLE, analysis by a CARD member and comments from EGLE indicates 100 ppb would be appropriate with some assumptions.
 
Lack of NSG Monitoring Wells is a real concern for West Ann Arbor.
  • The only "shallow monitoring well" (NSG) in the area was in Maple Village MW-87s is now gone due to development, never replaced. Previous credible reports of the wells elevation were in error and previously reported here.
     
  • Elevations are generally: West Park area is at 816', Mack Open School at 845', Slauson School at 821'


Pall Life Science 2007 map of the GW flows Annotated by Dan Bicknell.
Maple Village area to the Left, West Park to the Right. (MW: Monitoring Well)
(Clk for larger)
 
Links:
 
 
Ann Arbor Sanitary Sewer Overflow 25,000-gallon July 1
 

A2 Sign - previous 2021 sanitary sewer overflow that occurred in this vicinity UM Arb
 
Another SS overflow of 25,000 gallons on July 1 after a rain event. Flows entered wooded area near Hogback Road in Ann Arbor.
 
“ 'Upon review of the rain data from the storm event that occurred over June 25 and 26, 2021, staff engineers determined that there were several isolated areas just upstream of this sewer overflow that received rainfall of a duration and intensity equivalent to a 1% chance rainfall event,” the city stated in a news release, noting that’s known as a 100-year storm.' ": MLive
 
These new 100-year storms are getting more common every year due to Global Warming effects. 'Business as Usual' is not an option. 
 
 
 
 
 
Armen Cleaners Site
(Google Street View; Clk for Larger)
 
The ACWG, county officials and others tried to get this cleaning solvent ground contamination cleaned up for decades. The city dragged its feet ignoring the danger to the residents and the environment.
 
The city at one point, after many years of fending off charges of nonconcern, said they would buy the property and have it cleaned up. The assessment of the property value dragged on for years and the purchase seemed to never happen.
 
Residents were exposed even when it was known that the cleaning fluids were leaking into the neighborhood.
 
This has taken way too long to deal with and is not Environmental Stewardship by any Stretch.
 
Ryan Stanton, MLive: " Armen Cleaners has stood at 630 S. Ashley St. in the Old West Side for decades, but it now faces the wrecking ball so the state can take action to remove contaminated soil, a problem first discovered 36 years ago, officials said."
"Improper handling of waste by the dry cleaning business was first documented in 1985 when releases of PCE to soil and groundwater were discovered, and throughout the 1990s, 2000s and 2010s there were several additional investigations to define the extent of the problem, according to EGLE."
 
The cleaning fluids from the cleaners are highly toxic and a common and well-understood dangerous Vapor Intrusion exposure in homes and businesses, as well as a very common groundwater contaminant associated with these kinds of sites.

The city dragging its feet on the Gelman Plume migration to the surface on the west side is another example of a lack of Environmental Stewardship in our city government. The city has paid for a basement test study west of West Park but is being done in the wrong locations because they chose not to discuss it with CARD or ACWG members who would have pushed for a much more valid study.
 
Link:
https://www.mlive.com/news/ann-arbor/2021/07/ann-arbor-dry-cleaner-faces-wrecking-ball-under-pollution-cleanup-plan.html
 
 
Whitmer announces historic $150 million investment in local parks and trails
 
Kalamazoo Arcadia Creek Greenway, City 'Gem'
(Clk for Larger)
 
Kalamazoo took a blighted part of the city along the Arcadia Creek and created a Gem (over 20 years ago): the Arcadia Creek Greenway. It greatly reduces flooding, is a green park gathering space and is a large performance and fair venue in the downtown. The DDA in Kalamazoo spearheaded this effort.
 
"LANSING, Mich. - Gov. Gretchen Whitmer today announced a historic investment in community parks and recreation facilities, proposing $150 million in federal relief dollars from President Biden’s American Rescue Plan be dedicated to addressing critical needs in local park systems. This investment will create good-paying, blue-collar jobs across the state as we jumpstart our economy and get Michigan back to work. 
 
Whitmer announced the proposal at the Idema Explorers Trail in Ottawa County, an example of a recreation property that could benefit from the new funding. The proposed investment would be administered as a grant program by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and would support the economies, health and recovery of communities across the state." 
 
 
Ann Arbor should take advantage of these funds to move more aggressively on the Allen's Creek Greenway/Tree Line which has been promoted by the ACWG and other Citizens Groups for over 20 years. Other communities have had tremendous results with Greenways in urban settings.
 
The Center of the City Park should receive support for the voter-approved park, a vote over 3 years ago now. The voice of the people should not be ignored, and a central park for Ann Arbor is sorely lacking in what some call a Green City with very little or no green in the city center or gathering space for residents and visitors.
 
“These two new investment programs, totaling $400 million, mark a once-in-a-generation chance to improve quality of life for our residents, support local economies and bring people back to Michigan as the state continues its recovery from the effects of the pandemic,” Whitmer said. “These investments will ensure our children and grandchildren continue to enjoy the rejuvenating benefits of natural beauty and outdoor spaces so prized by Michiganders. I look forward to working with the Legislature to secure this investment for our communities.”
 
 
 
The University Of Michigan Medical Creates an Artificial Woodland Seen, Recharge Room, to Help Calm and Relax Medical Staff Dealing With Covid Surges, While Ann Arbor Cuts Down More Trees; U of M: Walk in the Woods May Be As Good As Antidepressants, Without Side Effects
 
Recharge Room: A place of calm in the middle of it all,
in the Frankel Cardiovascular Center, Med Inn and C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital.
(U of M; Rt Clk for Larger)
 
"Studio Elsewhere is a company that creates immersive environments to improve cognitive performance and address anxiety by creating rooms that stimulate the senses through light, sounds and scents.
 
The rooms ... are intended to induce short-term decreases in blood pressure, stress hormones and heart rate through elements like dimmed lighting, relaxing music, abundant greenery, socially-distanced, cozy seating and tranquil imagery projected on a video wall. Future plans include featuring aromatherapy in the rooms." U of M.
 
Green spaces, especially with trees, is a real benefit to a community for calming and relaxing effects.
 
U of M, with others, conducted a study with students walking in the Arboretum vs walking on streets on campus and in town showed significant reductions in stress indicators, as reported here in the past on ACWG. They found taking a walk in the woods seemed to be as effective as anti-depressant drugs, without the nasty side effects, for mood elevation. This would be a very cost-effective way to improve the community in many ways.
 
CityLab: "In recent years, study after study has found that living in neighborhoods with abundant green space is linked to positive health outcomes. These include better heart health, stronger cognitive development, and greater overall longevity. No wonder these areas are also linked to lower levels of Medicare spending.
 
But when it comes to promoting human health, not all green spaces are created equal. That’s the conclusion of new Australian research, which finds higher levels of wellness in areas marked by one particular manifestation of the natural world: leafy trees." This study with almost 50,000 subjects. (bold by us)
 
Long past time to follow the GreenBelt mandate and purchase green space inside the city as passed by the voters of Ann Arbor for the Greenway/Tree Line and other Green Park Spaces in 'our fine city'. 
 
Stop promoting the misconception that the Greenbelt funds can not be used in the city of Ann Arbor.
 
Links


June 2021 - No Meeting this month due to COVID-19 Pandemic Cautions

Watershed Issues of Interest and Updates:
 
EPA Now Has a New Gelman EPA Superfund Website, Since Governor Whitmer Has Sent a Letter To EPA in Support (Concurrence Letter) of an EPA SUPERFUND for the Gelman/Danaher Toxic Dump Site and Plume


US EPA has set up a website for the Gelman/Danaher Toxic Dump Site and Plume with basic descriptions of the site and status.
 
From the EPA Gelman Site:
    EPA Update:
On April 12, 2021 EGLE requested that EPA reinstate the evaluation process needed to consider the Gelman Sciences site for inclusion on the Superfund National Priorities List.
Previously, in 2016, EPA received a petition from Ann Arbor Charter Township, Scio Township and Sierra Club to evaluate the site for inclusion on the NPL. In response to that petition, and in coordination with the state, EPA conducted a preliminary assessment to assess site data and to determine data gaps.
  • Another preliminary assessment is not needed, and EPA will work with EGLE to continue evaluating the site for potential NPL listing.
  • This evaluation process is expected to take an additional two to three years, at which point the site, if determined eligible, will be proposed to the NPL.
  • The public will then be invited to comment on the NPL proposal, and, if determined appropriate following the public comment period, the site will be finalized on the NPL.
 
A full evaluation for Superfund will start. It was said by EPA officials that this site would very likely become a Superfund site with Gelman/Danaher as the Responsible Parties (RPs) responsible for the cost of the evaluation and cleanup with support from the Governor.
 
Here is a link to the ACWG page, on this site, with EPA Superfund Option Details with Flow Chart by Dan Bicknell GEA LLC, including a detailed flow chart of the process to Superfund status and the difference between MDEQ/EGLE and EPA Superfund Elements from 2016.
 
The initial EPA evaluation of the Gelman site scored very high, well over the required value, which indicates a likely listing on the EPA Federal Superfund Cleanup listing. The initial evaluation did not include many environmentally serious conditions that will heighten the scoring of this site for Superfund listing.
 
US EPA Superfund will have much stricter environmental cleanup standards than Michigan's very weak Part 201 Environmental standards. EPA will force Gelman/Danaher to pay for the cleanup and any losses to residents due to the Gelman Plume. 
 
If during the full evaluation EPA finds critical dangerous environmental conditions they may order immediate mitigation and cleanup to protect the life and health of the community.
 
 
 
Danaher/Pall/Gelman 1,4-Dioxane Toxic Dump Site Plume - Consent Agreement A Mess, NSG Tests and Cleanup Long Overdue, County Staff Challange Tests Needed and Schools At Risk; Over $1M Tax Payer Dollars Spent!
 
 
Zoom Hosted by Roger Rayle; screenshot of YouTube view (click image to view)
(Roger Rayle; Clk for larger) 

At the June Coalition for the Remediation of Dioxane (CARD) meeting, after issuing another request, EGLE and local officials agreed to set a date to investigate potential 1,4 dioxane exposure because of detection and increasing levels being found near Ann Arbor Open/Mack and Slauson Schools in West Park 1/2 block away. Potential exposure could occur from vapor intrusion into buildings and other exposures from outside contact with contaminated groundwater seeping to the surface. See details below. 

With 49 ppb at West Park EIGHT MONTHS since the last tests, we said, is way too long to wait.

4th Consent Judgement (CJ) Agreement Mess:

No Consent amongst the litigants yet is suggested as such in the court.

Judge makes confusing comments and statements. Not clear where this court is going. Gelman/Danaher very happy with the confusion, delays are a win for them. The public has spent over $1 Million on this 4 CJ with little to show for the effort. Not clear what is the direction or intent of this process other than to delay and get Lawyers rich off Tax Payers doing a very poor job.

Million Dollar Legal Service Unacceptable:

Poor service to the public, for example, the public was left to determine the many Outrageous GOCHAS in the very complex proposed 4CJ.

Some egregious examples of lack of direction by the publicly hired $1M legal staff:

    •  500 ppb! was a proposed cleanup level, totally unacceptable, EPA would likely be 0.3 ppb
    • The public would be Forbidden and Prevented to ask for EPA Assistance In Perpetuity!, totally unacceptable
    • First Sisters Lake would receive contaminated effluent from the treatment process polluting a pristine Ann Arbor lake and potential flooding in the nearby homes, totally unacceptable

The Ann Arbor Mayor's Law firm, which he is a part-owner, is part of this legal team for the public via Scio Twp hire. The Mayor has vigorously and consistently pushed for CJ negotiations over the past few years and not supported EPA Superfund. He has said he is decoupled from the case but as an owner of the law firm that does not seem plausible. He should recuse himself on voting on these CJs.

Screening levels for 1,4 dioxane were 29 ppb originally set by EGLE, analysis by a CARD member and now comments from EGLE indicates 100 ppb would be appropriate with some assumptions.

The past analysis shows the Gelman/Danaher Plume may surface in the West Park area due to geological layers from the glacial action being exposed as the groundwater flow move toward the Huron River east of Argo Pond. 

It is the ACWG and CARD's position that the EPA Superfund route is the most effective option the community has, given the fights Gelman/Pall/Donaher, a $140B company, has put up to avoid an effective cleanup for over 40 years.

All local governments and most NGOs, including CARD, ACWG, SC HVG, have voted for the Governor to Petition EPA for Superfund Status for Gelman/Danaher Toxic Dump Site Plume. 

With over 100 Public Comments in public comment sessions, there have been no supporters of the 4th CJ.

40 years of diddling with Gelman is way too long, and the community, the state and the environment deserve better. The State and local governments can not deal with this, this is very apparent now as it was 20 years ago.

40 years of mismanagement, deaths, illness, property and wells damaged, valuable pristine groundwater polluted is enough.

Mayor Taylor should recuse from voting on the current Proposed CJ, he is a Partner/Owner of the law firm making $100's thousands on the ill-conceived CJ legal effort, in lieu of a Gelman/Danaher fully funded Superfund plan and full Cleanup.

ACWG and CARD have stated and Dan Bicknell has proposed a plan for permanent NSG wells back in 2016 that EGLE has not chosen to implement and they have not forced Gelman/Danaher to do it either.

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

June 2021 Regular Coalition for the Remediation of Dioxane (CARD) Group Meeting Video - Taped by Roger Rayle, Chair CARD

EPA, EGLE and Local Government Joint Session on 3-18-21; YouTube link to the Video  

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

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

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

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

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

Washtenaw County CARD Site

See ACWG site pages EPA Superfund Option Details from CARD/ACWG.

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

 
After ACWG and CARD Request Additional NSG Tests, EGLE and Local Officials Now Agree to Do More NSG Testing Soon to Investigate Ann Arbor Open/Mack and Slauson Middle School Properties for 1,4 Dioxane, with Detection and Increasing Levels Found Near West Side Schools
 
Locations of EGLE 10-9-2020 NSG Tests and Schools
(West Part is in the middle of the image)
(ACWG, Clk for larger)
 
At the May CARD meeting, EGLE and local officials agreed to investigate potential 1,4 dioxane exposure because of detection and increasing levels being found near Ann Arbor Open/Mack and Slauson Schools 1/2 block away at West Park. Potential exposure could occur from vapor intrusion into buildings and other exposures from outside contact with contaminated groundwater seeping to the surface.
 
EGLE found 49 ppb in West Park 8 months ago in its last test. EGLE tested upstream of West Park in the Allen's Creek drain and found no 1,4 Dioxane. It would be logical to say the tests in West Park are near-surface shallow groundwater (NSG) entering the Allen's Creek drain very near or in West Park. The Allen's Creek drain in West Park has very high flows even in drought conditions, very likely to be groundwater. The 8th St Allen's Creek drain also has high flows even in drought conditions and is also very likely to be NSG and is also contaminated with 1,4 dioxane.
 
This NSG is contaminated and very likely to be Gelman/Danaher 1.4 dioxane contaminated as shown below in the geological map produced by Gelman/Pall/Danaher showing the pollution in the NSG coming to the surface in the West Park area.
MLive (Red Text Annotated on left by us)
(ACWG, Clk for larger)
 
The CARD Group has lobbied for VI for 1,4 Dioxane and MDEQ/EGLE included it as a special case for VI regulations.
 
Mack School is 1/2 blocks from West Park and has been reported to have seeps (like in many areas on the West Side) on the school grounds. Slauson Middle School has 1,4 dioxane levels in the near-surface shallow groundwater (NSG) at the 8th St street drain just south of the school grounds at 11 ppb.
 
More testing of the school grounds needs to be done to determine the potential exposures.
 
ACWG and CARD have been requesting simple tests since 2016, when EGLE and Gelman refused to do a meaningful test program, as reported here in 2016.
 
ACWG and CARD have stated and Dan Bicknell has proposed a plan for permanent NSG wells back in 2016 (as ACWG has sent out and posted on our site) that EGLE has not chosen to implement and they have not forced Gelman/Danaher to do it either.
 
Concern that the seeps, groundwater entering lower levels of schools, kids getting wet in the playground from seep flows and taking this into the school after recess could lead to exposures.
 
Like a home's basement, Vapor Intrusion (VI) into school lower levels can be at risk with high enough concentrations of contaminated Near Surface Shallow Groundwater next to the structure.
 
The MS4 Violation in Allen's Creek Going on 3 Years and still not even started to be fixed:
The CARD Group has passed a resolution asking for the illicit 1,4 Dioxane pollution flowing into the Allen's Creek Drain to be removed by Gelman. Gelman and EGLE have been notified of this for over 3 years with the illicit 1,4 Dioxane pollution levels in the drain continuously going up. The ACWG pushed for and also supports the CARD resolution. No resolution of this Federal MS4 violation reported at the last CARD meeting about this violation.
 
The Water Resources Commissioners Office (WRCO) has notified Gelman that they are in violation of the Federal MS4 Permit in a statutory Freshwater Runoff (Stormwater) Drain. WRCO is the delegated authority by EGLE and the Federal Government to manage MS4 permits in the County. No word on what Gelman/Danaher will do about this over 3-year-old Federal MS4 Violation.
 
 
Recent data from EGLE  Near-Surface Shallow Groundwater test done 10-9-20 sent out on 11-23-20 indicates that Allen's Creek stormwater on the West Side has increased dioxane values from the 2019 sampling. 
  • West Park SW is at 49 ppb up from 22 ppb in 2019, 
  • Chapin St. is at 28 ppb up from 9.1 ppb in 2019,
  • Eight St. next to Slawson Middle School is at 11 ppb up from 1 ppb in 2019. 
Screening levels for 1,4 dioxane was 29 ppb originally set by EGLE, analysis by a CARD member and comments from EGLE indicates 100 ppb would be appropriate with some assumptions.
 
Lack of NSG Monitoring Wells is a real concern for West Ann Arbor.
  • The only "shallow monitoring well" (NSG) in the area was in Maple Village MW-87s is now gone due to development, never replaced, with readings 400-1,500 ppb at 843' elevation as mentioned by Roger. Vet's park has been 1,000 ppb in recent years.
     
  • Elevations are generally: West Park area is at 816', Mack Open School at 845', Slauson School at 821', all at or below MW-87s


Pall Life Science 2007 map of the GW flows Annotated by Dan Bicknell.
Maple Village area to the Left, West Park to the Right. (MW: Monitoring Well)
(Clk for larger)
 
Links:
 
 

West Park Rebuild Plan, ACWG Played a Big Part in Getting Stormwater and Green Treatment and,
Being Shovel Ready For Obama Federal Funds For Green Infrastructure Projects
 
Michigan Radio,  part of The Great Lakes News Collaborative,  story June 9, 2021:
 
' “We can turn back the clock, in terms of urban development,” [Sanjiv] Sinha said, transforming cities with vast acreages of paved land that no longer serve a purpose, from Detroit to Milwaukee, into “garden cities” where large urban parks double as stormwater retention ponds.
 
That would also help remedy the dearth of parkland in cities like Detroit, which has fewer acres of parkland per-person and spends less on parks per-person than other cities with similar population densities. And while the up-front costs of buying new land or renovating existing parks can be high, communities save big on water treatment by “treating the rain where it falls,” allowing natural filtration in the earth to strip away sediment and toxins, Sinha said.
 
Covering porous soil with concrete and asphalt sends rain streaming into streets, sewers and neighborhoods, where it sometimes floods homes, overtaxes infrastructure and raises water treatment costs.
 
Water is at once Michigan’s greatest environmental asset and its most obvious, persistent climate hazard. Scientists expect a warming globe to alter rainfall patterns in the state, bringing more intense storms like the one that flooded mid-Michigan and destroyed two dams in May of last year, leaving a $200 million repair bill. ' (bold by us)
 
Ann Arbor Mayor and his supporters refuse to use appropriate GreenBelt Millage inside our city for 33% of the millage for inside Ann Arbor.
Only 9% of Mileage funds have been used up to recent years in the city in violation of the voter-approved Green Belt Mileage which requires 33% to be spent in the city ( Text of Green Belt Millage City Resolution Passed by voters in the City of Ann Arbor).
 
The Great Lakes News Collaborative includes Bridge Michigan; Circle of Blue; Great Lakes Now at Detroit Public Television; and Michigan Radio, Michigan a NPR News Host
 
Link:
https://www.michiganradio.org/post/michigan-s-climate-ready-future-wetland-parks-less-cement-roomy-shores
 

Biden: Trump's Waters of the U.S. Rule to Be Rewritten. New Supreme Court Could Object!

Our Huron River, Ann Arbor
 
The Waters of the U.S. Rule was originally written under the Obama administration to better clarify which bodies of water should be protected under the U.S. Clean Water Act.
 
National Public Radio (NPR.ORG) 1-20-20
Trump Administration Cuts Back Federal Protections For Streams And Wetlands
"The Environmental Protection Agency is dramatically reducing the amount of U.S. waterways that get federal protection under the Clean Water Act — a move that is welcomed by many farmers, builders and mining companies but is opposed even by the agency's own science advisers.
 
EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, who announced the repeal of an earlier Obama-era water rule in September, chose to make the long-anticipated announcement Thursday in Las Vegas, at the National Association of Home Builders International Builders' Show.
 
'All states have their own protections for waters within their borders, and many regulate more broadly than the federal government,' Wheeler told reporters on a conference call before the announcement."
 
Waters of the U.S. Rule to Be Rewritten, Yet Again
https://www.enr.com/articles/51886-waters-of-the-us-rule-to-be-rewritten-yet-again
The US Army Corps of Engineers and US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will rewrite, yet again, the “Waters of the United States” rule. This comes after a review ordered by President Biden found that the law, revised under the Trump administration, has resulted in fewer bodies of water being protected.
 
The rule was originally written under the Obama administration to better clarify which bodies of water should be protected under the U.S. Clean Water Act. Under Waters of the U.S., or WOTUS, seasonal water bodies and ephemeral streams could be classified as needing federal protection. Contractor groups were opposed to WOTUS because having more water bodies under federal jurisdiction could impact construction.
 
 Acting Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works Jaime A. Pinkham made a June 9  announcement about the revisions.
 
Larry Liebesman, senior advisor at Dawson & Associates [said]:  Ultimately, any rule will have to stand a reasonable chance of being upheld by the Supreme Court,” he says. “With a conservative majority, any final rule that looks too much like the 2015 Obama rule will have a hard time being upheld.” (bold by us)
 
 
The President has issued[1/20/21] an executive order [13990] setting aside the 2015 rule, and ordering the USEPA and the Army [Corps of Engineers] to review the current rule, and proceed to adopt a "durable Rule" that can survive changes in administration, whilst being "fair" to "farmers" and "developers" and other stakeholders [gravel miners] inconvenienced by government regulation. Whether the natural resources are a "stakeholder" along with the human race generally is the base issue.
 
Henry David Thoreau wrote about the wholesale destruction of our rivers:
"Who hears the fishes when they cry?'
"Maybe we need to go down to the river bank and try to listen."
 
Links:
NPR: https://www.npr.org/2020/01/23/798809951/trump-administration-is-rolling-back-obama-era-protections-for-smaller-waterways




May 2021 - No Meeting this month due to COVID-19 Pandemic Cautions

Watershed Issues of Interest and Updates:
 
Governor Whitmer Has Sent a Letter To EPA in Support (Concurrence Letter) of an EPA SUPERFUND for the Gelman/Danaher Toxic Dump Site and Plume!!
 

“The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) announced its request Monday for the Gelman dioxane plume to be added to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Superfund National Priorities List for federal cleanup, according to a release from U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Dearborn.”
 
A full evaluation will start. It was said by EPA officials that this site would very likely become a Superfund site with Gelman/Danaher as the Responsible Parties (RPs) responsible for the cost of the evaluation and cleanup.
 
Here is a link to the ACWG page, on this site, with EPA Superfund Option Details with Flow Chart by Dan Bicknell GEA LLC, including a detailed flow chart of the process to Superfund status and the difference between MDEQ/EGLE and EPA Superfund Elements from 2016.
 
The initial EPA evaluation of the Gelman site scored very high, well over the required value, which indicates a likely listing on the EPA Federal Superfund Cleanup listing. The initial evaluation did not include many environmentally serious conditions that will heighten the scoring of this site for Superfund listing.
 
US EPA Superfund will have much stricter environmental cleanup standards than Michigan's very weak Part 201 Environmental standards. EPA will force Gelman/Danaher to pay for the cleanup and any losses to residents due to the Gelman Plume. 
 
If during the full evaluation EPA finds critical dangerous environmental conditions they may order immediate mitigation and cleanup to protect the life and health of the community.
 
The ACWG and CARD have several concerns with regard to critical dangerous environmental conditions from this toxic plume migration.

ACWG/CARD Observe EGLE and City Utility Staff Sampling NSG in West Park on 9-9-18
Currently Tests Show 49 ppb NSG, More test results soon
(ACWG, Clk for larger)
 
ACWG's most critical issues for immediate attention by EPA, more discussion needs to occur on this:
  • Gelman/Danaher is in violation of Federal Regulations for MS4 in Allen's Creek and flows to Huron River for over 3 years. 
  • Fully test and install permanent wells for near-surface shallow groundwater (NSG) in Ann Arbor and Scio Twp.
  • Scio Twp. drinking water well analysis and 1,4D flows stopped migration toward drinking water wells.
  • Flows of 1,4D toward Barton Pond analysis and 1,4D flows stopped migration toward Barton Pond
  • Basement exposures evaluation. The current City evaluation is not meaningful. CARD and ACWG were not consulted and do not agree with the protocol.
  • Basement analysis and 1,4D flows stopped migration toward basements of homes and businesses.
  • Worker exposures need to be investigated. Exposure to those digging or working in trenches or below ground areas could be exposed.
  • Investigate past drinking water exposures, some in the thousands of PPB in Scio Twp.
  • Investigate illegal intentional dumping of 1,4 D into Scio Twp. wetlands and other locations, which have been personally communicated to CARD and ACWG members and likely others. 
  • Engage with the local community on the effects and concerns of the Gelman/Danaher Toxic Dump Site and Plume. 
 
 
Danaher/Pall/Gelman 1,4-Dioxane Toxic Dump Site Plume - EPA/EGLE Joint Session Comments, EPA: We Are Ready to Step In as a Superfund Manager if We Are Asked by the State
 
 
Zoom Hosted by Roger Rayle; screenshot of YouTube view (click image to view)
(Clk for larger)  

At the May Coalition for the Remediation of Dioxane (CARD) meeting, after issuing another request, EGLE and local officials agreed to investigate potential 1,4 dioxane exposure because of detection and increasing levels being found near Ann Arbor Open/Mack and Slauson Schools in West Park 1/2 block away. Potential exposure could occur from vapor intrusion into buildings and other exposures from outside contact with contaminated groundwater seeping to the surface. See details below. 

Screening levels for 1,4 dioxane were 29 ppb originally set by EGLE, analysis by a CARD member and comments from EGLE indicates 100 ppb would be appropriate with some assumptions.

The past analysis shows the Gelman/Danaher Plume may surface in the West Park area due to geological layers from the glacial action being exposed as the groundwater flow move toward the Huron River east of Argo Pond. 

 

It is the ACWG and CARD's position that the EPA Superfund route is the most effective option the community has, given the fights Gelman/Pall/Donaher, a $140B company, has put up to avoid an effective cleanup for over 40 years.

All local governments and most NGOs, including CARD, ACWG, SC HVG, have voted for the Governor to Petition EPA for Superfund Status for Gelman/Danaher Toxic Dump Site Plume. 
 
Even Mayor Taylor commented recently he is now finally supportive of an EPA Superfund Petition. He had previously threatened to Veto a Superfund vote of a City Council Resolution to support the Petition.

With over 100 Public Comments in public comment sessions, there have been no supporters of the 4th CJ.

40 years of diddling with Gelman is way too long, and the community, the state and the environment deserve better. The State and local governments can not deal with this, this is very apparent now as it was 20 years ago.

40 years of mismanagement, deaths, illness, property and wells damaged, valuable pristine groundwater polluted is enough.

Mayor Taylor should recuse from voting on the current Proposed CJ, he is a Partner/Owner of the law firm making $100's thousands on the ill-conceived CJ legal effort, in lieu of a Gelman/Danaher fully funded Superfund plan and full Cleanup.

After extensive prodding by ACWG and CARD, EGLE has agreed to do more near-surface shallow groundwater testing but has still refused to do more aggressive testing of near-surface shallow groundwater (NSG) that may be seeping into home's basements causing potential exposures due to high values in October 2020. ACWG and CARD have stated and Dan Bicknell has proposed a plan for permanent NSG wells back in 2016 that EGLE has not chosen to implement and they have not forced Gelman/Danaher to do it either.

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

May 2021 Regular Coalition for the Remediation of Dioxane (CARD) Group Meeting Video - Taped by Roger Rayle, Chair CARD

EPA, EGLE and Local Government Joint Session on 3-18-21; YouTube link to the Video  

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

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

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

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

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

Washtenaw County CARD Site

See ACWG site pages EPA Superfund Option Details from CARD/ACWG.

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

 
After ACWG and CARD Request Additional NSG Tests, EGLE and Local Officials Now Agree to Do More NSG Testing Soon to Investigate Ann Arbor Open/Mack and Slauson Middle School Properties for 1,4 Dioxane, with Detection and Increasing Levels Found Near West Side Schools
 
Locations of EGLE 10-9-2020 NSG Tests and Schools
(West Part is in the middle of the image)
(ACWG, Clk for larger)
 
At the May CARD meeting, EGLE and local officials agreed to investigate potential 1,4 dioxane exposure because of detection and increasing levels being found near Ann Arbor Open/Mack and Slauson Schools 1/2 block away at West Park. Potential exposure could occur from vapor intrusion into buildings and other exposures from outside contact with contaminated groundwater seeping to the surface.
 
MLive (Red Text Annotated on left by us)
(ACWG, Clk for larger)
 
The CARD Group has lobbied for VI for 1,4 Dioxane and MDEQ/EGLE included it as a special case for VI regulations.
 
Mack School is 1/2 blocks from West Park and has been reported to have seeps (like in many areas on the West Side) on the school grounds. Slauson Middle School has 1,4 dioxane levels in the near-surface shallow groundwater (NSG) at the 8th St street drain just south of the school grounds at 11 ppb.
 
More testing of the school grounds needs to be done to determine the potential exposures.
 
ACWG and CARD have been requesting simple tests since 2016, when EGLE and Gelman refused to do a meaningful test program, as reported here in 2016.
 
ACWG and CARD have stated and Dan Bicknell has proposed a plan for permanent NSG wells back in 2016 (as ACWG has sent out and posted on our site) that EGLE has not chosen to implement and they have not forced Gelman/Danaher to do it either.
 
Concern that the seeps, groundwater entering lower levels of schools, kids getting wet in the playground from seep flows and taking this into the school after recess could lead to exposures.
 
Like a home's basement, Vapor Intrusion (VI) into school lower levels can be at risk with high enough concentrations of contaminated Near Surface Shallow Groundwater next to the structure.
 
MS4 Violation in Allen's Creek Going on 3 Years:
The CARD Group has passed a resolution asking for the illicit 1,4 Dioxane pollution flowing into the Allen's Creek Drain to be removed by Gelman. Gelman and EGLE have been notified of this for over 3 years with the illicit 1,4 Dioxane pollution levels in the drain continuously going up. The ACWG pushed for and also supports the CARD resolution. No resolution of this Federal MS4 violation reported at the last CARD meeting about this violation.
 
The Water Resources Commissioners Office (WRCO) has notified Gelman that they are in violation of the Federal MS4 Permit in a statutory Freshwater Runoff (Stormwater) Drain. WRCO is the delegated authority by EGLE and the Federal Government to manage MS4 permits in the County. No word on what Gelman/Danaher will do about this over 3-year-old Federal MS4 Violation.
 
 
Recent data from EGLE  Near-Surface Shallow Groundwater test done 10-9-20 sent out on 11-23-20 indicates that Allen's Creek stormwater on the West Side has increased dioxane values from the 2019 sampling. 
  • West Park SW is at 49 ppb up from 22 ppb in 2019, 
  • Chapin St. is at 28 ppb up from 9.1 ppb in 2019,
  • Eight St. next to Slawson Middle School is at 11 ppb up from 1 ppb in 2019. 
Screening levels for 1,4 dioxane was 29 ppb originally set by EGLE, analysis by a CARD member and comments from EGLE indicates 100 ppb would be appropriate with some assumptions.
 
Lack of NSG Monitoring Wells is a real concern for West Ann Arbor.
  • The only "shallow monitoring well" (NSG) in the area was in Maple Village MW-87s is now gone due to development, never replaced, with readings 400-1,500 ppb at 843' elevation as mentioned by Roger. Vet's park has been 1,000 ppb in recent years.
     
  • Elevations are generally: West Park area is at 816', Mack Open School at 845', Slauson School at 821', all at or below MW-87s
Pall Life Science 2007 map of the GW flows Annotated by Dan Bicknell.
Maple Village area to the Left, West Park to the Right. (MW: Monitoring Well)
(Clk for larger)
 
Links:
Professor and Department Chair of the Yale School of Public Health and Toxicology Journal Editor Asks CARD and ACWG to Submit Poster Write-Ups for Special Edition 1,4 Dioxane Journal Publication to be Published Later This Year 
Invited Poster Presentation at U of M School of Public Health M-LEEaD Toxicology Symposium 2-20-2020
Vince Caruso (CARD, ACWG), Beth Collins (CARD Board Member) and 
Dr. Robert Bailey PhD (Inorganic Chemist, CARD Member)
(Collins, Clk for larger)
 
1, 4 Dioxane has become a major contaminant of concern by EPA, NIH and NIEHS in recent years, so much so the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act of 2016  amends the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), the nation’s primary chemicals management law.
 
1,4 Dioxane was one of ten chemicals, of the thousands possible, to be included for evaluation for TSCA inclusion as proposed in the Lautenberg Act.
 
Professor and Department Chair at Yale School of Public Health and Journal Editor asks CARD and ACWG to Submit a Poster from the MLeead Presentation Write-Ups for Special Edition 1,4 Dioxane Journal Publication to be Published later this year. Dr. Rita Loch-Caruso PhD (U of M School of Public Health Emeritus, former Director of M-LEEaD) was asked to work with CARD and ACWG and to present an article to be included in the special 1,4 Dioxane journal publication planned to be published later this year.
 
Links:
 
  MLive: ‘Root ball’ at Nichols Arboretum causes 600-gallon sewage overflow - again
 
Nichols Arboretum, U of M, in Ann Arbor
(Google St View; Clk for Larger)
 
Smart Sewer with Cell Transmitter and Battery
Example of a Smart Wireless Flow Gauge
(Civil + Structural Engineer Magazine; Clk for Larger)
 
 
 
"A similar sewage overflow occurred at the arboretum on April 1 when 500 gallons of sewage was spilled due to a root ball blockage." MLive.
 
The ACWG has been advocating touchless remote sewer system video monitoring. The city did buy remote flow monitors in recent years.
 
The ACWG attended a city meeting in recent years where a U of M professor detailed his funded research on remote video and stormwater flow monitoring. He designed a computer monitor that received data and images and an alarm system to notify personal of selected critical events.
 
This area of the city seems to have regular Sanitary Sewer Overflows (SSO's) which would benefit from flow and/or video monitoring 
 
City staff has recently communicated to ACWG that they now have purchased 12 of our own sewer flow gauges on July 30. 2018.
 
As commented here before the ACWG has been advocating for Smart Sewers for years. We cited 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's sanitary and stormwater upgrade planning and upgrades to the floodplain map.
 
Link: https://www.npr.org/2018/05/08/609493403/these-smart-sewers-are-part-of-a-growing-trend-connecting-infrastructure-to-the-
 
 
NYT: "Climate Change Is Making Big Problems Bigger", May 12, 2021
 

Michigan UP Flooding After 1,000 Year Flood/Rain Event 2018
 
From the NYT Article:
 
'Wildfires are bigger, and starting earlier in the year. Heatwaves are more frequent. Seas are warmer, and flooding is more common.
 
Climate change is already happening around the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency said on Wednesday. And in many cases, that change is speeding up.
 
The freshly compiled data, the federal government’s most comprehensive and up-to-date information yet, shows that a warming world is making life harder for Americans, in ways that threaten their health and safety, homes and communities.
 
Michael S. Regan, the E.P.A. administrator, said -  “Americans are seeing and feeling the impacts up close, with increasing regularity.”
 
At many locations, “floods are now at least five times more common than they were in the 1950s,” according to the E.P.A.' NYT (bold by us)
 
Michigan is seeing major storm flooding, dams destroyed, Great Lakes rising to record levels of flooding and causing massive home, building and infrastructure destruction along the shorelines. 
 
 
 
Scientific American 2021: Rising Costs of U.S. Flood Damage Linked to Climate Change and Intensifying Precipitation Events
 
SEM I94 Highway Flooding in Recent Years
(Detroit Free Press, Clk for Larger)
 

"Increased precipitation resulting partially from climate change has caused an additional $2.5 billion a year in U.S. flood damage, according to a new study that pinpoints the effect of changing weather on the cost of natural disasters.

A study published yesterday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal says that from 1988 through 2017, intensifying precipitation was responsible for a total of $75 billion in U.S. flood damage over the 29-year study period. Total flood damage in those years was nearly $200 billion, meaning that the excess precipitation accounted for more than a third of the damage in that period.
 
“The fact that a third of the total [flood damage] is contributed by increasing precipitation is substantial,” said study co-author Noah Diffenbaugh, a climate scientist at Stanford University." (bold by us)
 
Michigan is now getting 1,000-year rains and 500-year rains on a regular basis. Large rains are causing dams to be breached causing large flood events.
 



UPDATE: April 12, 2021

Governor Whitmer Formally Requests a Federal US EPA Superfund Site for Gelman/Danaher Toxic Waste Plume:

Governor Whitmer has agreed and Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) has send a letter of support (Concurrence Letter) for a US EPA Superfund for the Gelman/Danaher Toxic Waste Plume. Gov. Snyder refused to send this to US EPA when local governments asked him.
 
US EPA in a joint session with EGLE said they are ready to start a Superfund site for the Gelman/Danaher site, and have them pay for the cleanup.
 
Rally in Lansing to show support of , Tuesday, April 13, 11:30 AM was canceled after notice was sent the Governor  agreed to send a Concurrence Letter. 
 
All local governments have sent letters of support, even Mayor Taylor now finally supports an EPA Superfund.
 


April 2021 - No Meeting this month due to COVID-19 Pandemic Cautions


Watershed Issues of Interest and Updates:
 
Governor Whitmer Has Stated She Will Be Sending a Letter To EPA in Support of an EPA SUPERFUND for the Gelman/Danaher Toxic Dump Site and Plume!!
 
Rally for Ann Arbor Area EPA Superfund in Lansing Capital Building Canceled 
 

 
In a notice on Monday, April 12 the Governor sent word she will be sending in a Concurrence Letter supporting the EPA Superfund effort for the Gelman/Danaher site.
 
"The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) announced its request Monday for the Gelman dioxane plume to be added to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Superfund National Priorities List for federal cleanup, according to a release from U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Dearborn."
 
A full evaluation will start. It was said by EPA officials that this site would very likely become a Superfund site with Gelman/Danaher as the Responsible Parties responsible for the cost of the evaluation and cleanup.
 
Here is a link to the ACWG page with EPA Superfund Option Details by Dan Bicknell GEA LLC, including a flow chart of the process to Superfund status and the difference between MDEQ/EGLE and EPA Superfund Elements from 2016.
 
Rally in Lansing Capital Building Canceled:
 
Rally in support of Gelman/Danaher  1,4 Dioxane Toxic Dump Site EPA Superfund was planned to occur in Lansing on Tuesday, April 12  on the Capital Building Front Lawn, organized by CARD's Secretary Beth Collins. It has been canceled with Gov. Whitmer approving a request for Superfund Status for Gelman Site.
 
 
Danaher/Pall/Gelman 1,4-Dioxane Toxic Dump Site Plume - US EPA/EGLE Joint Session Comments, EPA: We Are Ready to Step In as a Superfund Manager if We Are Asked by the State
 
 

 
EPA, EGLE and Local Government Joint Session Potential EPA Superfund Discussions on 3-18-21;
(Clk for larger) 
 
Zoom Hosted by Roger Rayle; screenshot of YouTube view (click image to view)
(Clk for larger)  

At the April Coalition for the Remediation of Dioxane (CARD) meeting, EGLE and local officials agreed to investigate potential 1,4 dioxane exposure because of detection and increasing levels being found near Ann Arbor Open/Mack and Slauson Schools in West Park 1/2 block away. Potential exposure could occur from vapor intrusion into buildings and other exposures from outside contact with contaminated groundwater seeping to the surface. See details below.

At the Gelman Community Information Session on March 18th representatives from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) met to answer questions from the community and local officials about the status of the Plume and discuss potential next steps. The opportunity for public comment was for elected officials, public comment did not occur due to an unexpected shortened meeting. This meeting was organized by Representative Debbie Dingell and Washtenaw County on behalf of the community.
 
Even Mayor Taylor commented at the meeting he is now finally supportive of an EPA Superfund Petition. He had previously threatened to Veto a Superfund vote of a City Council Resolution to support the Petition.

All local governments and most NGOs, including CARD, ACWG, SC HVG, have voted for the Governor to Petition EPA for Superfund Status for Gelman/Danaher Toxic Dump Site Plume. 

EPA Superfund Petitions have been delivered to Governor Whitmer. She is said to be sending a Concurrence Letter from The State of Michigan to Petition Superfund standing for the Gelman Toxic 1,4 Dioxane Dump Site on Wager Rd. and Plume flowing in all directions from the Toxic Dump Site.

When EPA gets such a Superfund request, as Governor Whitmer is likely about to send, EPA accepts it and starts the Superfund process for a full evaluation and full cleanup.

It is the ACWG and CARD's position that the EPA Superfund route is the most effective option the community has, given the fights Gelman/Pall/Donaher, a $140B company, has put up to avoid an effective cleanup for over 40 years.

With over 100 Public Comments in public comment sessions, there have been no supporters of the 4th CJ.

Some comments from City Council members seem to indicate they are proposing not supporting the passed Superfund Petition. We urge your continued support of the Governor sending a concurrence letter to EPA of support of Gelman EPA Superfund status.

Diddling with Gelman:

40 years of diddling with Gelman is way too long, and the community, the state and the environment deserve better. The State and local governments can not deal with this, this is very apparent now as it was 20 years ago.

40 years of mismanagement, deaths, illness, property and wells damaged, valuable pristine groundwater polluted is enough.

Mayor Taylor should recuse from voting on the current Proposed CJ, he is a Partner/Owner of the law firm making $100's thousands on the ill-conceived CJ legal effort, in lieu of a Gelman/Danaher fully funded Superfund plan and full Cleanup.

Contact Governor Whitmer to request she send a Concurrence Letter to EPA in support of Superfund designation. The link below is to a direct contact page to enter a written comment:

    Link to comment to Governor: https://somgovweb.state.mi.us/GovRelations/ContactGovernor.aspx

After extensive prodding by ACWG and CARD, EGLE has agreed to do more near-surface shallow groundwater testing but has still refused to do more aggressive testing of near-surface shallow groundwater (NSG) that may be seeping into home's basements causing potential exposures due to high values in October 2020. ACWG and CARD have stated and Dan Bicknell has proposed a plan for permanent NSG wells back in 2016 that EGLE has not chosen to implement and they have not forced Gelman/Danaher to do it either.

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

April 2021 Regular Coalition for the Remediation of Dioxane (CARD) Group Meeting Video - Taped by Roger Rayle, Chair CARD

EPA, EGLE and Local Government Joint Session on 3-18-21; YouTube link to the Video  

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

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

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

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

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

Washtenaw County CARD Site

See ACWG site pages EPA Superfund Option Details

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

 
After ACWG and CARD Request Tests, EGLE and Local Officials Agree to continue to Investigate Ann Arbor Open/Mack and Slauson Middle School Properties for 1,4 Dioxane, with Detection and Increasing Levels Found Near West Side Schools
 
Locations of EGLE 10-9-2020 NSG Tests and Schools (West Part is in the middle of the image)
(ACWG, Clk for larger)
 
At the March CARD meeting, EGLE and local officials agreed to investigate potential 1,4 dioxane exposure because of detection and increasing levels being found near Ann Arbor Open/Mack and Slauson Schools 1/2 block away at West Park. Potential exposure could occur from vapor intrusion into buildings and other exposures from outside contact with contaminated groundwater seeping to the surface.
 
MLive Image (Red Text Annotated on left by us)
(ACWG, Clk for larger)
 
The CARD Group has lobbied for VI for 1,4 Dioxane and MDEQ/EGLE included it as a special case for VI regulations.
 
Mack School is 1/2 blocks from West Park and has been reported to have seeps (like in many areas on the West Side) on the school grounds. Slauson Middle School has 1,4 dioxane levels in the NSG at the 8th St street drain just south of the school grounds at 11 ppb.
 
More testing of the school grounds needs to be done to determine the potential exposures.
 
ACWG and CARD have been requesting simple tests since 2016, when EGLE and Gelman refused to do a meaningful test program, as reported here in 2016.
 
ACWG and CARD have stated and Dan Bicknell has proposed a plan for permanent NSG wells back in 2016 (as ACWG has sent out and posted on our site) that EGLE has not chosen to implement and they have not forced Gelman/Danaher to do it either.
 
Concern that the seeps, groundwater entering lower levels of schools, kids getting wet in the playground from seep flows and taking this into the school after recess could lead to exposures.
 
Like a home's basement, Vapor Intrusion (VI) into school lower levels can be at risk with high enough concentrations of contaminated Near Surface Shallow Groundwater next to the structure.
 
MS4 Violation in Allen's Creek Going on 3 Years:
The CARD Group has passed a resolution asking for the illicit 1,4 Dioxane pollution flowing into the Allen's Creek Drain to be removed by Gelman. Gelman and EGLE have been notified of this for over 3 years with the illicit 1,4 Dioxane pollution levels in the drain continuously going up. The ACWG pushed for and also supports the CARD resolution. No resolution of this Federal MS4 violation reported at the last CARD meeting about this violation.
 
The Water Resources Commissioners Office (WRCO) has notified Gelman that they are in violation of the Federal MS4 Permit in a statutory Freshwater Runoff (Stormwater) Drain. WRCO is the delegated authority by EGLE and the Federal Government to manage MS4 permits in the County. No word on what Gelman/Danaher will do about this over 3-year-old Federal MS4 Violation.
 
 
Recent data from EGLE  Near-Surface Shallow Groundwater test done 10-9-20 sent out on 11-23-20 indicates that Allen's Creek stormwater on the West Side has increased dioxane values from the 2019 sampling. 
  • West Park SW is at 49 ppb up from 22 ppb in 2019, 
  • Chapin St. is at 28 ppb up from 9.1 ppb in 2019,
  • Eight St. next to Slawson Middle School is at 11 ppb up from 1 ppb in 2019. 
EGLE and EPA have indicated a value of 29 ppb in NSG near homes or buildings as a vapor-intrusion (VI) screening level when first published. Currently, 100 ppb seems to be a better value given most circumstances and recent current analysis by EGAL and others.*
 
Lack of NSG Monitoring Wells is a real concern for West Ann Arbor.
  • The only "shallow monitoring well" (NSG) in the area was in Maple Village MW-87s is now gone due to development, never replaced, with readings 400-1,500 ppb at 843' elevation as mentioned by Roger. Vet's park has been 1,000 ppb in recent years.
     
  • Elevations are generally: West Park area is at 816', Mack Open School at 845', Slauson School at 821', all at or below MW-87s
 
Pall Life Science 2007 map of the GW flows Annotated by Dan Bicknell.
Maple Village area to the Left, West Park to the Right. (MW: Monitoring Well)
(Clk for larger)
 
Links:
 
Latest 1% Chance (100 Year) Flood Map from First Street Foundation 2021 for DTE Toxic Waste, Housing and Hotel Development Site, 841 Broadway St.
 
DTE Development Site FloodFactor(r) Predicted 100-Year (1% Chance) Flooding Including Global Warming Effects
(No Buildings on this Site so above Table shows No Buildings Flooded; Annotations ACWG, Click for Larger)
 
First Street Foundation Flood Factor (R) Models show a site virtually fully flooded in a 100-year (1% chance) flood. The parking area to the SE is AmTrak owned long-term parking property outside the floodplain.
 
The developer and DTE (a $46B company) have no plans for a full cleanup of the site, they plan to build condos and a hotel on top of the highly toxic Coal Tar and other pollution, as shown above, in FloodFactor modeled floodplain. This map shows the proposed building site virtually in 100-year (1% chance) floodplain. The ACWG has attended many meetings about this project over the recent years and does not support the proposal, mainly due to the floodplain and toxic waste issues. Many of those on this site will have no idea they are in this situation in a major rain event flood potential.
 
Unlike First Street Foundation, FEMA does not account for Global Warming in its models, and for other reasons, they are very much  Low Ball values by at least 30%.  Much more dangerous than it may appear to the uneducated or uninterested. The floodway (FW) analysis for this site is likely in error as well.
 
During the 1968 100-year (1% chance) flood this site had 15' of water careening across this site, this without the Argo or Barton Dams having been destroyed by the flooding. Argo was breached in the flood and almost was lost due to over-topping the dam and undermining the base of the dam. 
 
Some have reported that the 1968 flood was more along the lines of a 50-year flood.
 
Structures on this site will be placed on top of a toxic waste site with coal tar and other chemicals from the old MichCon Gasification Plant that was on this site. The groundwater below is contaminated but downstream contamination tests in the Huron River were not done according to the developer.
 
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 dumpsite. See our website for information on Vapor Intrusion as it relates to the Gelman Toxic Dump Site and Plume.

Link: First Street Foundation Flood Factor (R)  Models Lookup.
See Details in previous entries on our website.
 

 
UPDATE: 214 W Kingsley is no longer in the FEMA floodway since several years ago FEMA map revision showed it just outside the floodway. The ACWG has raised concerns about this remapping, and does not support it, with no elevation changes at this part of the floodway and much larger rain events happening in SEM with Global Warming. First Street Foundation shows 3'+ flood water well into the front of the building in 100-Year 1% Chance Flood Event. 

As stated in past entries - unlike First Street Foundation,  FEMA does not account for Global Warming in its models, and for other reasons, they are very much  Low Ball values by at least 30%.   Much more dangerous than it may appear to the uneducated or uninterested. The floodplain and floodway analysis for this site seems it could be in error from this published information.

In the city web map page image of the floodmap, you can see the floodway does a left hook around the building. FEMA representatives indicated to us at the digital FP map presentation, without equivocation, this should not occur unless there is a grade change at the site, which does not seem to occur. The street in front of this site floods routinely to become impassable.



Beal Building at 214 W Kingsley St. Fencing in Floodway Now Locked Down for the Third Time, EGLE Required Swing Up Flood Hazard Prevention Fencing for this Building, It is Blocking the Allen's Creek Floodway and is Dangerous
 
Beal Building 214 W Kingsley St, Locked Down Swing Up Fence in Floodway, 3-23-21
(ACWG, Clk for larger image)
 
Third time for this MDEQ/EGLE and City of Ann Arbor potential Floodway and Occupancy Permit Violation at this site.
 
City staff will be notified again of this potential violation. In the past staff has indicated to ACWG that the locks or other means of holding down the swing-up flood hazard fencing were in violation and have been removed in the past as requested by staff. In this case, there is a wire cable holding the fences down as of 3-23-21.
 
Several years ago, 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. Link to one of the previous locked down Swing-Up Fence violation occurrences.
 
These fences under the elevated building were not to be locked down in the floodway to prevent flood hazards for homes and businesses upstream due to a much higher floodplain as the locked-down fencing would cause blockage of floodwater flow to the river. The Building received an ill-conceived permit that required Floodway waters to flow under it. Locked down fencing violates this.
 
Fencing clogs up quickly in a flood and acts like a cement wall in blocking floodwater flow causing more unnecessary and dangerous flooding upstream. Hydrologically chain link fencing is treated like a concrete wall with no water able to flow through it.
 
This is the THIRD time this has happened in recent years.
 
Clearly, there needs to be protections for upstream residents and businesses from unnecessary and dangerous flood hazard. Not clear if a fine or other action was taken for this potential third egregious infraction.
 
Another Example of Floodplain Misplaced Allowances: 
There are real issues with these kinds of allowances in the floodplain and floodway. Slinker Building 213 W. Liberty St. when renovated for office space had a locking "Submarine Door" installed at its lower level exit into the Allen's Creek floodplain. As this is in the floodplain generally it is expected to be kept locked, when not in use, to prevent damage to the building and hazard to occupants. The ACWG has reported to the city the many occurrences where it is open on weekdays, weekends and holidays creating a flood hazard. In past years the ACWG has never seen it closed and locked.

Slinker Building with Submarine Door Wide Open (circled), Random Google Street View Image 2020
Update: 4-13-21 Morning ACWG Drive by showed Door Open (photo available)
(ACWG, Clk for larger image)
 


March 2021 - No Meeting this month due to COVID-19 Pandemic Cautions

Watershed Issues of Interest and Updates:


Danaher/Pall/Gelman 1,4-Dioxane Toxic Dump Site Plume - EPA/EGLE Joint Session This Thursday, Comments Welcome

Zoom Hosted by Roger Rayle; screenshot of YouTube view (click image to view)
(CARD; Clk for larger)

At the March Coalition for the Remediation of Dioxane (CARD) meeting, Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) and local officials agreed to investigate potential 1,4 dioxane exposure because of detection and increasing levels being found near Ann Arbor Open/Mack 1/2 block away from West Park with 49 ppb finding and Slauson School next to 11 ppb finding. Potential exposure could occur from vapor intrusion into buildings and other exposures from outside contact with contaminated groundwater seeping to the surface. See details below.

Thursday, March 18 will be a joint session of Local Elected in a Zoom Meeting to discuss Gelman/Danaher Toxic Dump Site Plume EPA Superfund Status, see below.

All local governments and most NGOs, including CARD, ACWG, SC HVG, have voted for the Governor to Petition EPA for Superfund Status for Gelman/Danaher Toxic Dump Site Plume. We hope our elected officials will abide by these votes and insist Governor Whitmer send the Concurrence Letter to EPA.

This from Sue Shink Chair, Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners:
 
Gelman Community Information Session on March 18th at  5pm. At this meeting, representatives from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) will answer questions from the community and local officials around the status of the Toxic Dump Site and Plume and, discuss potential next steps. There will be an opportunity for public comment. This meeting is being organized by Representative Debbie Dingell and Washtenaw County on behalf of the community.
 
Was a Zoom Meeting.
The Meeting is saved on YouTube by CARD currently (may be moved at some point): 
 

EPA Superfund Petitions have been delivered to Governor Whitmer. She is working on a Concurrence Letter from The State of Michigan to Petition Superfund standing for the Gelman Toxic 1,4 Dioxane Dump Site on Wager Rd. and Plume flowing in all directions from the Toxic Dump Site.

When EPA gets such a request, as Governor Whitmer is likely about to send, EPA accepts it and starts the Superfund process for a full evaluation and full cleanup.

It is the ACWG and CARD's position that the EPA Superfund route is the most effective option the community has, given the fights Gelman/Pall/Donaher, a $140B company, has put up to avoid an effective cleanup for over 40 years.

With over 100 Public Comments in public comment sessions, there have been no supporters of the 4th CJ.

Some comments from City Council members seem to indicate they are proposing not supporting the passed Superfund Petition. We urge your continued support of the Governor sending a concurrence letter to EPA of support of Gelman EPA Superfund status.

Diddling with Gelman:

40 years of diddling with Gelman is way too long, and the community, the state and the environment deserve better. The State and local governments can not deal with this, this is very apparent now as it was 20 years ago.

40 years of mismanagement, deaths, illness, property and wells damaged, valuable pristine groundwater polluted is enough.

Mayor Taylor should recuse from voting on the current Proposed CJ, he is a Partner/Owner of the law firm making $100's thousands on the ill-conceived CJ legal effort, in lieu of a Gelman/Danaher fully funded Superfund plan and full Cleanup.

Contact Governor Whitmer to request she send a Concurrence Letter to EPA in support of Superfund designation. The link below is to a direct contact page to enter a written comment:

    Link to comment to Governor: https://somgovweb.state.mi.us/GovRelations/ContactGovernor.aspx

After extensive prodding by ACWG and CARD, EGLE has agreed to do more near-surface shallow groundwater testing but has still refused to do more aggressive testing of near-surface shallow groundwater (NSG) that may be seeping into home's basements causing potential exposures due to high values in October 2020. ACWG and CARD have stated and Dan Bicknell has proposed a plan for permanent NSG wells back in 2016 that EGLE has not chosen to implement and they have not forced Gelman/Danaher to do it either.

The CARD Group has moved to virtual meetings like others starting in May for an undermined length of time, see details at the Washtenaw County CARD site.
 
Links:
 
After ACWG and CARD Request Tests, EGLE and Local Officials Agree to Investigate Ann Arbor Open/Mack and Slauson Middle School Properties for 1,4 Dioxane, with Detection and Increasing Levels Found Near West Side Schools
 
Locations of EGLE 10-9-2020 NSG Tests and Schools (West Part is in the middle of the image)
(ACWG, Clk for larger)
 
At the March Coalition for the Remediation of Dioxane (CARD) meeting, EGLE and local officials agreed to investigate potential 1,4 dioxane exposure because of detection and increasing levels being found near Ann Arbor Open/Mack 1/2 block away from West Park with 49 ppb finding and Slauson School next to 11 ppb finding. Potential exposure could occur from vapor intrusion into buildings and other exposures from outside contact with contaminated groundwater seeping to the surface.
 
Mack School is 1/2 blocks from West Park and has seeps on the school grounds and lower levels into the ground. Slauson Middle School has lower levels into the ground with 8th St just south of the school grounds at 11 ppb on the street storm drain.
 
More testing of the school grounds needs to be done to determine the potential exposures.
 
ACWG and CARD have been requesting simple tests since 2016, when EGLE and Gelman refused to do a meaningful test program.
 
ACWG and CARD have stated and Dan Bicknell has proposed a plan for permanent NSG wells back in 2016 (as ACWG has sent out and posted on our site) that EGLE has not chosen to implement and they have not forced Gelman/Danaher to do it either.
 
Concern that the seeps, groundwater entering lower levels of schools, kids getting wet in the playground from seep flows and taking this into the school after recess could lead to exposures.
 
Like a home's basement, Vapor Intrusion (VI) into school lower levels can be at risk with high enough concentrations of contaminated New Surface Shallow Groundwater next to the structure.
 
The CARD Group has passed a resolution asking for the illicit 1,4 Dioxane pollution flowing into the Allen's Creek Drain to be removed by Gelman. Gelman and EGLE have been notified of this for over 3 years with the illicit 1,4 Dioxane pollution levels in the drain continuously going up. The ACWG pushed for and also supports the CARD resolution.
 
The Water Resources Commissioners Office (WRCO) has notified Gelman that they are in violation of the Federal MS4 Permit in a statutory Freshwater Runoff (Stormwater) Drain. WRCO is the delegated authority by EGLE and the Federal Government to manage MS4 permits in the County. No word on what Gelman/Danaher will do about this over 3-year-old Federal MS4 Violation.
 
Recent data from EGLE  Near-Surface Shallow Groundwater test done 10-9-20 sent out on 11-23-20 indicates that Allen's Creek stormwater on the West Side has increased dioxane values from the 2019 sampling. 
  • West Park SW is at 49 ppb up from 22 ppb in 2019, 
  • Chapin St. is at 28 ppb up from 9.1 ppb in 2019,
  • Eight St. next to Slawson Middle School is at 11 ppb up from 1 ppb in 2019. 
EGLE and EPA have indicated a value of 29 ppb in NSG near homes or buildings as a vapor-intrusion (VI) screening level when first published. Currently, 100 ppb seems to be a better value given most circumstances and recent current analysis by EGAL and others.*
 
Links:
 
Communities Have Pushed Low Income Housing Into Floodplains for Generations for a Reason: Racism - Bloomberg CityLab-March 15, 2021 
 
Bloomberg CityLab 'Redlined, Now Flooding'
(Bloomberg, Clk for larger image)
 
Association of State Floodplain Managers 2007 (ASFPM)
 
"BUILDING IN THE FLOODPLAIN IS LIKE PITCHING
YOUR TENT ON A HIGHWAY WHEN THERE ARE NO CARS COMING"! ASFPM: www.floods.org
(ASFPM; Clk for larger image) 
 
 
This from the Article:
Maps of historic housing discrimination show how neighborhoods that suffered redlining in the 1930s face a far higher risk of flooding today.
 
Flooding is a rising threat across the U.S., with homeowners facing as much as $19 billion in damages every year. What puts a neighborhood at high risk for flooding? Geography is key, but new data reveal another factor that can be determinative, too: race.
 
Using flood risk data from the nonprofit First Street Foundation and redlining maps from the University of Richmond’s Mapping Inequality project, Redfin assessed racial disparities in flood risk across dozens of major metro areas.
 
Across 38 major U.S. metros, more than $107 billion worth of homes at high risk for flooding were located in historically redlined (and yellowlined) neighborhoods.
 
Severe storms and hurricanes have a disproportionate effect on minorities in terms of damage done, life lost, and the amount of money that gets reimbursed, ...”  (bold by us)
 
415 W. Washington, City-Owned Lot
Flood risk for 415 W. Washington proposed for potential development;
First Street Foundation (Clk for larger)
 

721 N. Main, City-Owned Lot

Flood risk for 721 N Main St. proposed for potential development
First Street Foundation (Clk for larger)

As ACWG commented on last year, 721 N. Main and 415 W. Washington and, other flood-prone sites have been widely discussed by some on City Council as proposed sites for Affordable Housing (AH), with a flood analysis that includes Global Warming, which, some on council purportedly agree is real, a major threat and, is causing bigger rain events. The City just authorize a $1,000.000.000 plan to deal with Global Warming effects.

The ACWG has commented last year in AH issues meetings that the Profit Motive has failed and we need to move to a more proactive city lead effort. Also have discussed not building in the floodplain (FP) for decades now, especially "AH". Glad to see these changes finally happening, better late than never.

CM Ali Ramlawi proposed an amendment to the AH Millage to ban the use of the Millage funds in the Floodplain as suggested by the ACWG.
 
Amendment passed with  Mayor Taylor and  CM's Smith,  Ackerman,  Grand  voting against.

“In a 7-4 vote, council decided to prohibit spending money from the tax on building, maintaining or acquiring new affordable housing units in floodways or floodplains." 
MLive.
 
The affordable housing tax passed with 73% support last November.
 
Unlike First Street Foundation, FEMA does not account for Global Warming in its models, and for other reasons, they are very much Low Ball values by at least 30%Much more dangerous than it may appear to the uneducated or uninterested. The floodway (FW) analysis is likely in error as well.
 
It’s ok to put disadvantaged in very dangerous FP and likely FW according to Taylor, Smith, Ackerman, Grand and their supporters.
 
The city has a very sordid history of placing minorities and disadvantaged in FP and FW which should be stopped especially with Global Warming effects clearly making this more dangerous by the day.
    First Street Foundation's  https://floodfactor.com/




UPDATE: Gelman Community Information Session on March 18th at  5pm.

This from Sue Shink Chair, Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners:
 
Gelman Community Information Session on March 18th at  5pm. At this meeting, representatives from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) will answer questions from the community and local officials around the status of the Plume and discuss potential next steps. There will be an opportunity for public comment. This meeting is being organized by Representative Debbie Dingell and Washtenaw County on behalf of the community.

Was a Zoom Meeting.
The Meeting is saved on YouTube currently by CARD (may be moved at some point): 




February 2021 - No Meeting this month due to COVID-19 Pandemic Cautions

Watershed Issues of Interest and Updates:

Danaher/Pall/Gelman 1,4-Dioxane Toxic Dump Site Plume - Waiting for Ruling on EPA Superfund
 

Zoom Hosted by Roger Rayle; screenshot of YouTube view (click image to view)
(Clk for larger)

EPA Superfund Petitions have been delivered to Governor Whitmer. She is working on a Concurrence Letter from The State of Michigan to Petition Superfund standing for the Gelman Toxic 1,4 Dioxane Dump Site on Wager Rd. and Plume flowing in all directions from the Toxic Dump Site.

When EPA gets such a request, as Governor Whitmer is likely about to send, EPA accepts it and starts the Superfund process for a full evaluation and full cleanup.

It is the ACWG and Coalition for the Remediation of Dioxane (CARD)'s position that the EPA Superfund route is the most effective option the community has, given the fights Gelman/Pall/Donaher, a $140B company, has put up to avoid an effective cleanup for over 40 years.

With over 100 Public Comments in public comment sessions, there have been no supporters of the 4th CJ.

Some comments from City Council members seem to indicate they are proposing not supporting the passed Superfund Petition. We urge your continued support of the Governor sending a concurrence letter to EPA of support of Gelman EPA Superfund status.

Diddling with Gelman:

40 years of diddling with Gelman is way too long, and the community, the state and the environment deserve better. The State and local governments can not deal with this, this is very apparent now as it was 20 years ago.

40 years of mismanagement, deaths, illness, property and wells damaged, valuable pristine groundwater polluted is enough.

Contact Governor Whitmer to request she send a Concurrence Letter to EPA in support of Superfund designation. The link below is to a direct contact page to enter a written comment.

  Link to Comment: https://somgovweb.state.mi.us/GovRelations/ContactGovernor.aspx

City of Ann Arbor Near-Surface Shallow Groundwater Tests Missing the Mark:

Near-surface shallow groundwater (NSG) tests paid for by the city will not be doing much testing east of West Park where NSG 1,4 Dioxane test show 49 ppb in October 2020. Most of the testing is west of West Park against the recommendations of the ACWG and CARD Group.

EGLE and EPA have indicated a value of 29 ppb in NSG near homes or buildings as a vapor-intrusion (VI) screening level when first published. Currently, 100 ppb seems to be a better value given most circumstances and recent current analysis by EGAL and others.*

We need tests mainly to the East of West Park where we know there is a good chance of VI exposures with 49 ppb found upstream. Additionally, we need to test in basements that are wet for long periods of time, common on our West Side homes.

City not warning residents for VI Wet Basement Testing for 1,4-Dioxane:

The city web site (https://www.a2gov.org/departments/water-treatment/Pages/1,4-Dioxane-Wet-Basement-Testing-.aspx) indicates flooded or standing water contamination are the conditions to be tested. ACWG and CARD have commented extensively that we also need to evaluate wet basements (wet walls, floors not necessarily flooded) as 1,4 dioxane contaminated water on the walls and floor will evaporate with the water and expose the residents or businesses. These types of tests would be of interest to the US EPA with potential exposures.

This information on the city web site is not correct, it does not discuss VI exposures of wet basements:

'​​In April, City Council authorized funding to sample flooded basements for 1,4-dioxane in low-lying areas intersecting the Gelman plume.

Q: What if my basement doesn't flood and I live over the plume? Should I be concerned?
A: No, the 1,4-dioxane in Ann Arbor is present in groundwater. If your home does not flood, you will not be in contact with the groundwater plume.' (bold by us)

After extensive prodding by ACWG and CARD, EGLE has agreed to do more near-surface shallow groundwater testing but has still refused to do more aggressive testing of near-surface shallow groundwater that may be seeping into home's basements causing potential exposures due to high values in October 2020. ACWG and CARD have stated and Dan Bicknell has proposed a plan for permanent NSG wells back in 2016 (as ACWG has sent out and posted on this site) that EGLE has not chosen to implement and they have not forced Gelman/Danaher to do it either.

The CARD Group has moved to virtual meetings like others starting in May for an undermined length of time, see details at the Washtenaw County CARD site.
 
Links:
 
WRCO statement to Gelman did not Include a Statement on Fines and Other Issues;
"RESOLUTION SUPPORTING THE WASHTENAW COUNTY – WATER RESOURCES COMMISSIONER ISSUING A NOTICE OF VIOLATION TO GELMAN SCIENCES, INC. FOR VIOLATION OF MS4 PERMIT COVERING THE ALLEN CREEK DRAIN" - CARD
 
Locations of EGLE 10-9-2020 NSG Tests (West Part is at Upper Right)
(ACWG, Clk for larger)
 
The CARD Group has passed a resolution asking for the illicit 1,4 Dioxane pollution flowing into the Allen Creek Drain to be removed by Gelman. Gelman and EGLE have been notified of this for over 3 years with the illicit 1,4 Dioxane pollution levels in the drain continuously going up. The ACWG pushed for and also supports the CARD resolution.
 
The Water Resources Commissioner's Office (WRCO) has notified Gelman that they are in violation of the Federal MS4 Permit in a statutory Freshwater Runoff (Stormwater) Drain. WRCO is the delegated authority by EGLE and the Federal Government to manage MS4 permits in the County.
 
The Statement to WRCO did not include a Notice of Violation (NOV), did not cite the civil and criminal penalties for violating the MS4 permit for which Gelman is responsible.
 
Additionally, the NOV did not stress that no dioxane is allowed to infiltrate into the stormwater drain under the MS4 permit.
 
This pollution is almost surely from the Gelman Toxic 1,4 Dioxane Plume in near-surface shallow groundwater that is picked up by the Allen's Creek Drain system that flows through West Park.
 
1,4 Dioxane has been found in the Allen's Creek after the ACWG asked EGLE (DEQ) to do simple tests (kinda hard for them to refuse) in West Park and 8th St as this is a known area of high groundwater flows into the Allen's Creek, which enters the drain and flows to the Huron River.
 
Recent tests in the drain in West Park and Chapin St in early October 2020 show a 49 ppb reading in West Park's SE corner and Chapin St at 28 ppb.
 
Near-Surface Shallow Groundwater (NSG) much-delayed tests come back alarmingly high:
 
Recent data from EGLE delayed  Near-Surface Shallow Groundwater test done 10-9-20 sent out on 11-23-20 indicates that Allen's Creek stormwater on the West Side has increased dioxane values from the 2019 sampling. 
      • West Park SW is at 49 ppb up from 22 ppb in 2019, 
      • Chapin St. is at 28 ppb up from 9.1 ppb in 2019,
      • Eight St. next to Slawson Middle School is at 11 ppb up from 1 ppb in 2019. 
EGLE and EPA have indicated a value of 29 ppb in NSG near homes or buildings as a vapor-intrusion (VI) screening level when first published. Currently, 100 ppb seems to be a better value given most circumstances and recent current analysis by EGAL and others.*
 
ACWG and CARD commented that large flows of water were in the Allen's Creek pipe in South West West Park entrance and 8th St. near Slauson Middle School with very dry conditions, seeming to indicate high groundwater flows in the pipe as has been described previously. Seeps are said to be in many areas of the city on the west side including higher elevations.
 
The illicit 1,4 Dioxane pollution flows into the Huron River are just upstream of the very popular Cascades outfall into the Huron River less than 1,500 feet away. Many people tube down the Cascades and out into the Huron River just upstream of the Allen's Creek Outlet into the river.
 
Michigan MS4 Regulation: 
'The MS4 permit is required to halt any illicit discharge into the storm drain. An “illicit discharge” is defined as any discharge to, or seepage into, an MS4 drain that is not composed entirely of stormwater or uncontaminated groundwater except discharges pursuant to an NPDES permit.' (bold by us)
 
Link: Michigan MS4 Regulation
Full Resolution CARD Google Drive File Here.
 
 
City Proposing Unlimited Building Heights in T1 Zoning to "Fight Climate Change" and Suburban Sprawl, Support Developers, Ignore Global Warming?
 
City Residents Overwhelming Voted to Reject 17+ Story "Behemoth Library Lane Proposal"
(ACWG, Clk for larger)
 
T1 Zoning is a new proposed zoning for Transit-Oriented Development in the City of Ann Arbor. The proposal is to have mixed-use unlimited height tall buildings and more people living and shopping on transit corridors.
 
This after Ann Arbor overwhelmingly rejected the Library Lane 17+ story Behemoth in a voter referendum in recent years.
 
Ann Arbor should not be required to handle all comers. We are a Landlocked city. We have lots of communities within minutes of the city. Affordable housing yes, but this proposal is not a workable solution for it. We are using the new passed Affordable Housing millage funds and some city-owned land which is a supportable and valid option.

Vivienne Armentrout, former County Commissioner, has several articles on these issues, a link to a recent one on her Local in Ann Arbor *:
 
The city has adopted a $1B Net Zero (!) proposal for Ann Arbor, yet the unlimited building heights or very tall buildings, will generate huge amounts of unsustainable carbon emissions.
 
Climate Change and Global Warming are not in line with this T1 Zoning.
 
For example, just a 20 story concrete and/or steel building has a Huge Carbon Footprint20,000,000 pounds of carbon:
20 story concrete and/or steel building's enormous Carbon Footprint is about 20,000,000 pounds of carbon into the atmosphere for just the concrete and steel alone not including all the construction carbon emissions which is considerable!
 
Tall buildings are also incredibly inefficient compared to smaller buildings to about 8 stories. Poor insulation, windows, HVAC and siding if any, most are built with extensive inefficient glass siding. NYC is now taxing tall buildings based on excessive energy use in an attempt to force owners to make the building more energy-efficient, most building owners say this is not possible to do.
 
Reasons to support T1 zoning are to have more people living in areas near mass transit. Our busses are noisy, smelly, hard surfaces, generally not ridden by large number of average residents, will not drop off riders close to homes and winter riding is not popular with snow mounds to clime and unplowed sidewalks to traverse. Our family has ridden the busses almost daily in the last 35 years and the busses, bus maintenance, design and ride has gotten terrible. Electric busses are a real option. Park and ride needs to be more effectively used as well.
 
Tall buildings isolate residents, setup exclusive communities and, with no parking proposed for cars, cars will over park in neighborhoods affecting the exiting long-lived reliable tax base. Many residents in current tall buildings in Ann Arbor have two cars per person not no cars. NYC is having Parking Wars Like Hunger Games due to tall buildings with no parking and mass transit aversions.
 
Water Utilities for T1, $300M-$400M:
Our water utilities can not take on a new huge number of residents. The only option is to tap into YUCA's water utilities at a cost of $300M-$400M, this with a current $100M upgrade going on for our existing water utilities.
 
Unlimited building heights is not great for cities, residents or the environment.
 
The proposal is for virtually all neighborhoods will have T1 zoning except Burns Park and other High-End neighborhoods, which will not be by chance.
 
Carbon emissions are a major contributor to Global Warming and the dangerous flooding weather patterns we are now facing. State of Michigan is having 500 year rains almost every year and 1,000 year rains now.
 
Link:
 
 
Existing Reliable Larger Tax Base Ignored, for New Less Valuable Tax Base; 'Shiny New Thing' Syndrome or Crony Capitalism
 
Glendale Neighborhood With High Flood Hazard vs Development
(ACWG, Clk for larger)
 
Glendale Area Flood Hazard vs Development vs Tax Base
 
The current development of the Green Space shown above was barely approved for Hillside Memory Care Center Building in a Residential Neighborhood. Two previous large building proposals votes failed. The neighborhood showed via a survey that 50% of the homes in the 5 block area had flooding problems (see ACWG Survey Map)
 
The neighborhood lobbied for the Green Space to be bought with Green Belt Millage funds but City Council did not support that. This when only 9% of Mileage funds have been used in recent years in the city in violation of the voter-approved Green Belt Mileage which requires 33% be spent in the city (Text of Green Belt Millage City Resolution Passed by voters in the City of Ann Arbor).
 
The City's own $2M stormwater study, which ACWG suggested and participated in, showed this area as a clear Target Area for Reduced Flood Hazard city spending: $2M “Ann City of Ann Arbor Stormwater Model Calibration and Analysis Project”, June 1, 2015 section ‘C, viii.  Glendale/Charlton, page 62’.
 
This green space site with a slight depression could have captured the extensive fresh rainwater (stormwater) runoff from several upstream apartments of the 1960's, Hillside Terrace and Stadium Retail areas, and be a great park space 99.99% of the time (as described in the $2M city stormwater study).
 
This development won over a reduced flood hazard for a neighborhood with a known tax base to a new development with a much lower tax base.
 
Tax Base Math (2020):
  • ~30 homes at real risk of major flooding = ~$4000 property tax ea = $120,000 taxes per year
  • New Hillside Development = about $30K property taxes per year
  • City of Ann Arbor Loses $90,000 per year for decades to come
  •    (Not including the flood hazard risks tax losses, that could be avoided, of an existing residential neighborhood)
  • Flood hazard is increasing quickly in SEM by the year so many more homes may be at risk soon, than the ones shown on the map
Green Belt Mileage Spending on City Greenspace Option:
  • Millage funds were available to buy green space land for park space to reduce flood hazard 
  • This new building creates more runoff, delay release with detention but has significantly increased amounts with more flooding
  • Ignore Global Warming effects on Ann Arbor when convenient
  • Direct attract on residential neighborhood with existing very stable long-lived tax base to help developers make money
  • City loses a large amount of tax money
Green space in urban communities has many other benefits besides flood hazard reduction, including an improved Tax Base for the Bean Counters.
 
Links:



January 2021 - No Meeting this month due to COVID-19 Pandemic Cautions

Watershed Issues of Interest and Updates:

UPDATE*: "In Deep: Ann Arbor’s Water Troubles"  Posted January 1, 2021 by Vivienne Armentrout
In depth online article on the Hahn Suit and "water" fees uses by City of Ann Arbor 

Danaher/Pall/Gelman 1,4-Dioxane Toxic Dump Site Plume - EPA Superfund Petitions Have Been Sent
 
(Zoom Hosted by Roger Rayle; screenshot of YouTube view; clk for larger)

EPA Superfund Petitions have been delivered to Governor Whitmer. She is working on a Concurrence Letter from The State of Michigan to Petition Superfund standing for the Gelman Toxic 1,4 Dioxane Dump Site on Wager Rd. and Plume flowing in all directions from the Toxic Dump Site.

When EPA gets such a request, as Governor Whitmer is likely about to send, EPA accepts it and starts the Superfund process for full evaluation and full cleanup.

It is the ACWG and Coalition for the Remediation of Dioxane's (CARD) position that the EPA Superfund route is the most effective option the community has, given the fights Gelman/Pall/Donaher, a $140B company, has put up to avoid an effective cleanup for over 40 years.

Attempts to Delay City of Ann Arbor Superfund Letter of Support, Withdrawn under withering protests by constituents:

A reliable source at City Hall had indicated that the city attorney's office proposed a delay of the transmission of a City Council Resolution in support of sending a Superfund Letter of Support.

The city attorney's office should not be making policy for the city, they should be responding to city Council requests and Council should be the body that decides policy for the city. If the council wanted to not send a Superfund Support Letter to EPA then they should ask the Attorney's Office to assist in this effort, not the other way around.

New Council members Briggs (Ward 5) and Disch (Ward 1) had proposed a resolution, introduced on Friday Evening 12/4/20, to Delay the US EPA Superfund Petition, previously pasted by the city council, for Monday 12/7/20 meeting. The Resolution was removed before the Council Meeting started.

During the City Council Caucus on the prior Sunday night, extensive comments were made on why not to take this action convinced them to remove the resolution for consideration.

Mayor Taylor objects to an EPA Superfund Petition, most all other local leaders support it unanimously.

The city has now sent the Petition for US EPA Superfund Status after extensive delays and ill-conceived and very costly legal maneuvering. 

With over 100 Public Comments in public comment sessions, there have been no supporters of the 4th CJ.

After extensive prodding by ACWG and CARD, Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) has agreed to do more near-surface shallow groundwater testing but refused to do more aggressive testing of near-surface shallow groundwater that may be seeping into home's basements causing potential exposures due to high values in October 2020. ACWG and CARD have stated and Dan Bicknell has proposed a plan for permanent NSG wells back in 2016 that EGLE has not chosen to implement and they have not forced Gelman/Danaher to do it either.

The CARD Group has moved to virtual meetings like others starting in May for an undermined length of time, see details at the Washtenaw County CARD site.
 
Links:
 
"RESOLUTION SUPPORTING THE WASHTENAW COUNTY – WATER RESOURCES COMMISSIONER ISSUING A NOTICE OF VIOLATION TO GELMAN SCIENCES, INC. FOR VIOLATION OF MS4 PERMIT COVERING THE ALLEN CREEK DRAIN" - CARD
 
Locations of EGLE 10-9-2020 NSG Tests (West Part is at Upper Right)
(ACWG, Clk for larger)
 
The CARD Group has passed a resolution asking for the illicit 1,4 Dioxane pollution flowing into the Allen Creek Drain to be removed by Gelman. Gelman and EGLE have been notified of this for over 3 years with the illicit 1,4 Dioxane pollution levels in the drain continuously going up. The ACWG push for and also supports the CARD resolution.
 
This pollution is almost surely from the Gelman Toxic 1,4 Dioxane Plume in near-surface shallow groundwater that is picked up by the Allen's Creek Drain system that flows through West Park.
 
1,4 Dioxane has been found in the Allen's Creek after the ACWG asked EGLE (DEQ) to do simple tests (kinda hard for them to refuse) in West Park and 8th St as this is a known area of high groundwater flows into the Allen's Creek, which enters the drain and flows to the Huron River.
 
Recent tests in the drain in West Park and Chapin St in early October 2020 show a 49 ppb reading in West Park's SE corner and Chapin St at 28 ppb.
 
Near-Surface Shallow Groundwater (NSG) much-delayed tests come back alarmingly high:
Recent data from EGLE delayed  Near-Surface Shallow Groundwater test done 10-9-20 sent out on 11-23-20 indicates that Allen's Creek stormwater on the West Side has increased dioxane values from the 2019 sampling. 
      • West Park SW is at 49 ppb up from 22 ppb in 2019, 
      • Chapin St. is at 28 ppb up from 9.1 ppb in 2019,
      • Eight St. next to Slawson Middle School is at 11 ppb up from 1 ppb in 2019. 
 
ACWG and CARD commented that large flows of water were in the Allen's Creek pipe in South West West Park entrance and 8th St. near Slauson Middle School with very dry conditions, seeming to indicate high groundwater flows in the pipe as has been described previously. Seeps are said to be in many areas of the city on the west side including higher elevations. The elevations of found seeps will help determine risk to homeowners through potentially contaminated water infiltrating into the basement and evaporating with 1,4 Dioxane into the air of a confined basement space. Many westside homes have wet basements, some from groundwater infiltration. See the previous neighbor survey showing many homes with water issues, of the Glendale Virginia St. areas in past agenda items. Also, Pall/Gelman produced 2006 soil drilling profiles, as shown in past Agenda Items, that indicate seeps with NSG would be likely in the West Side of the city near West Park. 
 
The illicit 1,4 Dioxane pollution flows into the Huron River are just upstream of the very popular Cascades outfall into the Huron River less than 1,500 feet away. Many people tube down the Cascades and out into the Huron River just upstream of the Allen's Creek Outlet into the river.
 
1,4 Dioxane in Huron River, Exposure at the Argo Cascades:
Exposures to people using the Cascades is a concern with full-body contact potential and ingesting of contaminated river water.


Allen's Creek Outlet just upstream of Argo Cascades Potential Exposures
(ACWG, Clk for larger)

Michigan MS4 Regulation: 
'The MS4 permit is required to halt any illicit discharge into the storm drain. An “illicit discharge” is defined as any discharge to, or seepage into, an MS4 drain that is not composed entirely of stormwater or uncontaminated groundwater except discharges pursuant to an NPDES permit.' (bold by us) More details of MS4 Regulations can be found on this site in past entries.
 
The full Resolution can be found on CARD Google Drive File Here.
Ann Arbor City Council passed a similar or identical resolution yesterday, Tuesday.*
 
'Resolves' Portion of the Resolution is below written by Dan Bicknell CARD member:
 
"RESOLVED, That the WRC immediate prepare and issue within 30 days a Notice of Violation (NOV) to Gelman, pursuant to the WRC MS4 Permit authorities, to halt the illicit groundwater discharges into Allen Creek Drain, including immediately beginning the corrective action process to treat the contaminated groundwater to uncontaminated groundwater levels prior to infiltrating into the storm water(sic);
 
RESOLVED, That the NOV require that Gelman: 1) perform an Extent of Contamination (EOC) Study to delineate the extent and magnitude of the shallow dioxane groundwater contamination in the area that it is infiltrating into the Allen Creek Drain; 2) prepare a Remedial Design Investigation (RDI) to design a Corrective Action groundwater extraction and treatment system which will collect and treat the contaminated groundwater to uncontaminated levels prior to infiltrating into the storm water(sic) drain and discharge the dioxane treated groundwater; and 3) implement the Corrective Action groundwater extraction and treatment system until the MS4 Permit compliance is attained by Gelman. As the dioxane groundwater concentrations are increasing and will increase with time, the option of developing a plan to consider a time for the pollutant concentrations to reduce to uncontaminated levels (such as a five year period) is not a viable regulatory compliance option;
 
RESOLVED, That the NOV require that: 1) Gelman immediately begin the design, obtain WRC approval of and complete the EOC Study within four months from the issuance of the NOV; 2) Gelman design, obtain WRC approval of and complete the RDI within five months of the EOC Study completion; and 3) Gelman begin implementation of the Corrective Action within two months of the RDI completion;
 
RESOLVED, That the NOV require that Gelman be responsible for the civil and criminal fines and penalties for violating the MS4 Permit since November 2019, when the documented illicit dioxane plume infiltration was made public in the November 2019 - Allen Creek Drain Sampling Investigation Summary Report (EGLE site);
 
RESOLVED, That the City of Ann Arbor, Washtenaw County, and the State of Michigan support the WRC in requiring Gelman to attain compliance with the MS4 Permit; and RESOLVED, That the CARD Secretary send this resolution to the City of Ann Arbor, Washtenaw County, Washtenaw County delegation to the Michigan Legislature, the Director of the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy, and the Region Administrator - United States Environmental Protection Agency - Region V."
 
Link: Michigan MS4 Regulation
Full Resolution CARD Google Drive File Here.
 
 
City of Ann Arbor to Consider Development at 700 N Main. Near North, Adjacent to the Very Poorly Delineated and Dangerous Allen's Creek Floodway and Floodplain; The Only Auto Exit is Directly into Floodway
 
 
700 N Main; Near North, Plans to Build Homes Right Up to the Floodway and Floodplain
Only Auto Exits from Parking Are Directly Into the Floodway and Floodplain
(Blue Arrows with Flood Indicators ACWG; Clk for larger)
 
700 N Main
(ACWG, Clk for larger)

Ann Arbor Planning Commission voted to support the Near North development of Condos up against the 100-year (1% chance) floodway and floodplain.

As you can see in the First Street Foundation FloodFactor(R) map above,  3 to 4 feet of floodwater just outside the only car access point to the building parking entrance.
 
Having the only exits from the building into floodwater is unacceptable especially when know FEMA is lowballing Floodplain by 30% and we are expecting larger than normal rain events due to Global Warming as reported by many scientist.
 
If credible studies are correct the floodplain and floodway are likely much larger now or in the near future and may be blocked by the new building with unnecessary flooding and danger to life, health and property upstream of this site.
 
OHM 2017 FIRM New Berm Opening at the RR Tracks Analysis generally does not show much change (reduction) in this floodplain at this location, contrary to some county and other official's comments.
 
This is the same site where the 1.2-acre development site was given a special Planned Unit Development zoning designation over a decade ago for an Avalon Housing affordable housing project that had to be scrapped at great cost. The project was scrapped after FEMA federal flood map updates just before groundbreaking showed major changes and made it ineligible for federal assistance. 

We have a new development on W Kingsley with one of two exits into the floodway where cars driving down W Kingsley have been disabled and drivers rescued in floodwater in recent years.

Car Stalling On W Kingsley St in Floodwaters in Allen's Creek Floodway
(AA Chronicle; clk for larger)

 
First Street Foundation Flood Factor(R) Models Lookup.
 
City of Ann Arbor Considers a Development at the 1st and William Site in the Very Dangerous Allen's Creek Floodway, Again; Much Un-Communicated Higher Flood Hazard on the Old West Side
 
(ACWG, Clk for larger)
 
Developing sites in the floodway will cause more flood hazard for those upstream, in the Old West Side, who may not know they are in more danger, may not know they should have very expensive flood insurance and may not be willing to take on this extreme danger for the sake of Developers profits. Flood hazard in Ann Arbor and Michigan has gone up significantly in recent years.
 
The Existing Decades-Long Tax Base (Old West Side) you may destroy is worth much more than the new tax base if done in the Floodway.
 
The ACWG with others helped stop an ill-advised parking garage development on this site some years ago. The ACWG FOIAed a DDA funded watershed study of the site at the time.
 
FTCH Consultants Floodway Floodplain Study of this Site, Still Not Released:
As we asked before and FOIA'ed the DDA - we would like to see the FTCH Study: The  DDA's FTCH $1/4 to $1/2M budgeted consultants study of the watershed of this site should be made available to the public. The ACWG FOIA'ed the study but was just given a copy of the raw data and model run data used to do models but the report was never offered. FTCH said the  DDA had to agree to make it available which they never did. These results were said to ACWG to be  'Very Surprising' by FTCH. SNRE scientist's quick review of the raw data released to ACWG at the time indicated extremely flood water high flows (and likely a very deep floodway) in a 100 year (1% chance) flood event, it also showed higher flows than the Huron River we were told.
 
Follow Adopted goals of the 2007 Flood Hazard Mitigation Plan:
We should follow the Long-Past Adopted goals of the 2007 Flood Hazard Mitigation Plan the ACWG contributed to: "Public acquisition and management of flood-prone properties. Permanent relocation of flood-prone structures to areas outside the floodplain. Establish a clear and consistent government policy for public-owned land in the floodplain aimed at preventing public buildings in the floodplainCreate Allen['s] Creek Greenway in the floodplain area. Regular data collection and modeling to update flood hazard maps Decrease Flood Insurance Rates by meeting FEMA required flood hazard mitigation recommendations." (bold by us)
 
With new data on much worse flood hazards with Global Warming in Michigan, and FEMA Low Balling Flood maps across the US (see CityLab article), we need to protect public life, health and property with this new awareness, not ignore it.
 
Cars and a parking garage in the floodway are not benign. This is a potential site of a park for the Greenway which would not exacerbate flooding like a structure.
 
Link:
FEMA flood maps have been reported to be  'low balled' by FEMA in recent studies, and could be  33% times higher risk of flooding then is in the FEMA maps, CityLab article
First Street Foundation Flood Factor(R) Models Lookup.
 
 
National Flooding Risk Index released by the Federal Emergency Management Agency:
  -  Washtenaw Ranks Highest In MI
 
 U of M Ath. Campus, Mary St. Flooding in Recent Years
(ACWG, Clk for larger)
 
National Risk Index released by the Federal Emergency Management Agency:
In this new project, FEMA calculated a risk score for every county in America, looking at 18 types of natural disasters,...

"Flooding: Estimated total annual loss is about $105 million statewide, with about one death a year.
Top counties in the likelihood of occurrence:
Lenawee, Macomb, Saginaw, Washtenaw and Wayne." MLive. (bold by us)
 
 
University of Wisconsin-Madison: Small Streams Have Big Impacts on Great Lakes, 235 Small Streams Sampled
 
One of the Few Open Sections of the Eberwhite Branch of Allen's Creek - Ann Arbor. Michigan
(ACWG, Clk for larger)
 
In the summer of 2018, Rob Mooney, a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Center for Limnology took a snapshot of a total of 235 tributaries that empty into Lake Michigan to study the effects of small streams on the Great Lakes.
 
"The primary goal was to understand how small tributaries contributed to what scientists call nutrient loading, where elements like the nitrogen and phosphorus found in agricultural fertilizers run off of the land and into downstream waters. These nutrients are also good at fertilizing algal growth and lead, among other things, to potentially toxic algal blooms and oxygen-starved dead zones."
 
“Within the Great Lakes there are hundreds and hundreds of small tributaries that are flowing in but, for the most part, they haven't been considered by previous nutrient-loading studies because they're so small compared to the big ones,”
 
Smaller tributaries often had nutrient loads that were high for their size and, more important to water-quality concerns, contained higher percentages of soluble reactive phosphorus, a compound that is readily available for nutrient-starved algae or aquatic plants to snap up and use to feed their growth."
 
The ACWG has commented that our watershed has large effects big and small locally and regionally. That is why we have spearheaded locally for well over two decades - EPA Superfund 1,4 Dioxane CleanupAnn Arbor Green StreetsRoad Dieting, use of Porous PavementsRain GardensBioSwalesRain BarrelsDaylighting (Not Enclosing) Streams, the Allen's Creek Greenway (Allen Creek - Treeline), Footer Disconnects, Flood Safe DevelopmentsStrengthen Flood Hazard Rules Related to Global Warming ThreatsAllen's Creek Berm Opening Into Huron River, among others.
 
The Allen's Creek flows into the Huron River and to Lake Erie, which has had large and very dangerous, and costly algal blooms in recent years.

Also see our adopted Allen's Creek Watershed Management Plan, show on our ACWG front page, with lots of details on watershed friendly community management.*
 
Link:
https://phys.org/news/2020-10-summer-road-small-streams-big.amp
 


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

Watershed Issues of Interest and Updates:


Danaher/Pall/Gelman 1,4-Dioxane Plume - EPA Superfund Petitions Being Sent; Washtenaw County Board Passes EPA SUPERFUND, Scio Township Board Passes EPA SUPERFUND Petition Resolution
 

Informal EPA Superfund CARD Table Poll at Green Fair 2019,
Support EPA Superfund Status Results were 61-YES, 0-NO as shown,
as posted here previously (Clk for larger, ACWG)
(Clk for larger; ACWG)
 

Officials from all local governments have or will be sending EPA Superfund Petitions for Gelman/Danaher Toxic Waste Dump and Toxic Plume out to Governor Whitmer.

Washtenaw County Board of Commissioner Unanimously Adopts Superfund Resolution for Gelman/Danaher Toxic 1,4 Dioxane Plume.

Scio Township Board of Trustees voted to reject the 4th CJ. They also voted to support US EPA Superfund Petition, in a 6-1 vote, joining the other government and environmental advocacy groups in the Ann Arbor Area. CARD and ACWG made vocal and written comment in support of the winning position. MLive Article.

Attempts to Delay City of Ann Arbor Superfund Letter of Support, Withdrawn under withering protests by constituents: 

New Council members Briggs (Ward 5) and Disch (Ward 1) had proposed a resolution, introduced on Friday Evening 12/4/20, to Delay the US EPA Superfund Petition, previously pasted by the city council, for Monday 12/7/20 meeting.

During the City Council Caucus Sunday night, extensive comments were made on why not to take this action convinced them to remove the resolution for consideration. The main reason I and others made were that both a legal effort and a Superfund effort can occur at the same time. ACWG made written comment in support of the canceling of the resolution.

An experienced trial lawyer commented in the Causas they had no idea legally what they were suggesting in the proposed resolution.

It is the ACWG's position that the EPA Superfund route is the most effective option the community has, given the fights Gelman/Donaher, a $140B company, has put up to avoid an effective cleanup for over 40 yearsMLive Article.

Did Mayor Taylor decide to not Veto the Council Resolution he had voted against and he said he would veto, and allow Newbee Council members to "Carry His Water" even though it is questionable if they can delay a Passed Resolution when they were not involved in the vote and did not vote on the winning side?

Mayor Taylor's law firm has much to gain if the city does not petition the EPA for Superfund with Hundreds of Thousands already paid to his law firm on a totally unsupported 4th CJ they helped to negotiate.

Mayor Taylor objects to an EPA Superfund Petition, all other local leaders support it unanimously.

The city will now be sending a Petition for US EPA Superfund Status after extensive delays and ill-conceived and very costly legal maneuvering. 

With over 100 Public Comments in public comment sessions, there have been no supporters of the 4th CJ.

Near-Surface Shallow Groundwater (NSG) much-delayed tests come back alarmingly high:

Recent data from Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) delayed Near-Surface Shallow Groundwater test done 10-9-20 sent out on 11-23-20 indicates that Allen's Creek stormwater on the West Side has increased dioxane values from the 2019 sampling. 

Locations of EGLE 10-9-2020 NSG Tests (West Part is at Upper Right)
(ACWG, Clk for larger)

      • West Park SW is at 49 ppb up from 22 ppb in 2019, 
      • Chapin St. is at 28 ppb up from 9.1 ppb in 2019,
      • Eight St. next to Slawson Middle School is at 11 ppb up from 1 ppb in 2019. 

EGLE should not be ignoring these major changes in NSG and potential exposures in homes and businesses.

EGLE has written that given some assumptions related to Dr. Bailey's (saved on our ACWG site) Vapor Intrusion (VI) work, like homes with wet basements, 29 ppb would be a potentially dangerous VI value in homes or businesses with wet basements almost all year.

EGLE and EPA have indicated a value of 29 ppb in NSG near homes or buildings as a vapor-intrusion (VI) screening level when first published. Currently, 100 ppb seems to be a better value given most circumstances and recent current analysis by EGAL and others.*

EGLE has refused to do more aggressive testing of near-surface shallow groundwater that may seep into home's basements causing potential exposures due to high values in October 2020. ACWG and CARD have stated and Dan Bicknell has proposed a plan for permanent NSG wells back in 2016 that EGLE has not chosen to implement and they have not forced Gelman/Danaher to do it either.

City-sponsored tests for basement water are looking to test for 28 ppb in standing water as commented on by Patti McCall (Tetra Tech) at December CARD Meeting. Unfortunately, this test is not designed for use with homes having wet basements (not flooded) that can expose residents to vapor from 1,4 Dioxane contaminated NSG seeping into homes and evaporating.

Roger Rayle CARD/SRSW Chair, Artesian areas in Green (Clk for larger)

Roger Rayle has produced a map, above, showing the know areas of Artesian NSG on the west side in Green. This map agrees with recent findings of 1,4 Dioxane in NSG up to 49 ppb. Other areas of the city have NSG that is a potential exposure issue for homeowners and businesses.

Comments at the last CARD meeting from a resident, who lives north of West Park in the Prohibition Zone, stated he and most of his neighbors have wet basements. He vacuums up a gallon or more of water at least 4 times a year in his wet basement and expressed concerns of potential exposure issues in his home. 

Reports about Wuster Park, W Madison and 5th St. have had NSG issues which are at a higher elevation and south of West Park area.

The Allen's Creek Group (ACWG.ORG) supports an EPA Superfund Petition and Cleanup.

We support Dan Bicknell's comments shown below in support of an EPA Superfund Petition and Cleanup.

The CARD and ACWG were instrumental in the state adoption of Vapor Intrusion (VI) Rules recently, according to comments to ACWG from MDEQ/EGLE officials at the VI Introduction Public Meeting. This danger to residents should not be ignored.

The majority in MI State Government are pushing Polluter Pay right now. We will have new fairer Districts in MI in 2022, with much more progressive outcomes. We support that effort and think in the near future MI will have this again, and Gelman will be forced to do a meaningful cleanup if EPA Superfund has not.
 
Danaher should be using the best available technologies for the cleanup. Gelman has and can treat to Non-Detect, below 1 ppb it just cost slightly more.
 
Lower high contamination aquifers will cross-talk with near-surface aquifers and be contaminated which could expose people in residential and business structures.
 
We Support Dan Bicknell's comments below in support of EPA Superfund cleanup (see below).
    • EPA initial evaluation of the Gelman Plume site initially Scored Very High for a Superfund cleanup full evaluation.
    • Senator Stabenow told me in 2016, after Donald Trump took officeEPA will still be doing polluter pay cleanup, it's the orphaned sites that are a real problem. This is not an Orphaned Site.
    • Now with President Biden EPA will be under new more aggressive management.
Danaher is on the hook for this cleanup according to several comments by Mitch Adelman of MDEQ/EGEL (EGLE Jackson Office District Head at the time) in MDEQ public meetings when asked.
 
With all the significant hard work the CARD group, city and county have done the EPA will have a headstart on this effort. The EPA Score of the partial Superfund Evaluation was very high for Superfund Listing with a minimal evaluation. In this case, we have a Responsible Party that EPA will require to do and pay for cleanup as is happening now with other sites all over the country.
 
This revised proposed roundly rejected 4th CJ is basically an exit route for Danaher and Gelman with a partial cleanup and not further action required by law.
 
SuperFund is the most prudent path for Gelman Full Cleanup; this from Dan Bicknell (CARD Member, former SuperFund Manager, President of GEA):
    • "The main USEPA Superfund Site benefits, based upon similar sites, were detailed by USEPA – Region V - Office Of Superfund in a July 25, 2016 meeting/call with the City, County and Townships representatives. They include:
    • Active restoration of the aquifer to a protective drinking water criterion, regardless of whether the dioxane plume is in a Prohibition Zone or not with Gelman paying the clean-up costs;
    • As a first USEPA priority, extend the municipal drinking water supply to any resident who may be potentially adversely impacted by the dioxane contaminated groundwater at a Gelman cost;
    • Halt the expansion of the dioxane groundwater contamination and treat the source and outer margins of the dioxane plume with an active remedial technology like groundwater extraction and treatment;
    • The active remedial action would prevent the dioxane contamination of Barton Pond, so no additional Contingency Plan would be required to protect Barton Pond.
    • The USEPA will require that Gelman pay for residential well sampling and dioxane analysis at homes immediately down-gradient of the dioxane plume;
    • The USEPA will require a monitoring well network which will establish the full extent and magnitude of the dioxane groundwater contamination, including the Old West Side and West Park areas of the City;
    • The USEPA offers Community Grants (e.g., $50K) to support public input into the Superfund Site cleanup process; and
    • The USEPA has the technical, administrative and legal resources to establish a protective federal Administrative Order and provide high-quality oversight of Gelman in the clean-up with the backing of the US Department of Justice and USEPA Regional Counsel."
       
EPA Superfund will be the most effective cleanup and protect the economic status of the area. Economic research has shown when you have uncertainty with a contaminated site this is the least protective option of economic status for a community.
 
The University of Michigan has not supported EPA Superfund but it clearly is in their best interest to see a Superfund cleanup that will be faster and more effective, and maintain the positive status of the community. Most unfortunately they have been minimally involved with the public on this matter.

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

Links:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Washtenaw County CARD Site

See ACWG site pages EPA Superfund Option Details

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

 
 
Water Resources Commissioner Office Changes Mind Suggest an MS4 Violations in Allen's Creek from Gelman 1,4 Dioxane at 49 ppb Flowing to the Huron River
 
EGLE and City Staff assisting tests in West Park Allen's Creek Drain SW Path 2018
(ACWG, Clk for larger)
 
ACWG and CARD felt that Near-Surface Shallow Groundwater (NSG) should be tested but it was very hard to get these tests done. Asking for tests in the Allen's Creek drain grates was simple and hard to refuse for DEQ/EGLE and have shown a clear increasing level of Gelman's Toxic Plume moving to the NSG and posing a risk to residents, businesses and the environment.
 
Water Resources Commissioner Office (WRCO)  has commented at the last CARD meeting that they have changed their minds and are now interested in a potential MS4 violation (details below) by Gelman/Danaher for the continued rise in 1,4 Dioxane in the Allen's Creek flowing through West Park, now at 49 ppb in the October 2020 test. 
 
The tests on 8th St. Allen's Creek flow also should be of concern, now at 11 ppb in the October 2029 tests and rising.
 
As I commented at the  December 12th Joint Session of EGLE and local government bodies, during public comment at this meeting, we have a  Gelman's Illicit Discharge into a Michigan MS4 system for over 3 years now, the Allen's Creek flowing to the Huron River, Dan Bicknell GEA has investigated and communicated in more detail on the issues of MS4.
 
ACWG and CARD commented that large flows of water were in the Allen's Creek pipe in South West West Park entrance with very dry conditions, seeming to indicate high groundwater flows in the pipe as has been described previously. Seeps are said to be in many areas of the city on the west side including higher elevations. The elevations of found seeps will help determine risk to homeowners through potentially contaminated water infiltrating into the basement and evaporating with 1,4 Dioxane into the air of a confined basement space. Many westside homes have wet basements, some from groundwater infiltration. See the previous neighbor survey showing many homes with water issues, of the Glendale Virginia St. areas in past agenda items. Also, Pall/Gelman produced 2006 soil drilling profiles, as shown in past Agenda Items, that indicate seeps with NSG would be likely in the West Side of the city near West Park. 
 
Michigan MS4 Regulation: 
'The MS4 permit is required to halt any illicit discharge into the storm drain. An “illicit discharge” is defined as any discharge to, or seepage into, an MS4 drain that is not composed entirely of stormwater or uncontaminated groundwater except discharges pursuant to an NPDES permit.' (bold by us)

Under the MS4 permit, it would seem no dioxane contamination at any level should be legally allowed to infiltrate/seep into the MS4 storm drain (without an NPDS Permit which they do not seem to have), Allen's Creek at West Park for example, yet it clearly has for 3 years. 
 
Link: Michigan MS4 Regulation



Update 12/8/20*

Scio Township Board of Trustees voted to reject the 4th CJ. They also voted to support US EPA Superfund Petition, in a 6-1 vote, joining the other government and environmental advocacy groups in the Ann Arbor Area. CARD and ACWG made vocal and written comment in support of the winning position. MLive Article.

Update 12/7/20*

Council members Briggs (Ward 5) and Disch (Ward 1) had proposed a resolution, introduced on Friday Evening 12/4/20, to Delay the US EPA Superfund Petition previously pasted by the city for Monday 12/7/20 meeting. During the City Council Caucus Sunday night, extensive comments were made on why not to take this action convinced them to remove the resolution for consideration. The main reason I and others made were that both a legal effort and an Superfund effort can occur at the same time. ACWG made written comment in support of the canceling of the resolution. It is the ACWG's position that the EPA Superfund route is the most effective option the community has, given the fights Gelman/Donaher, a $140B company, has put up to avoid an effective cleanup for over 40 years. MLive Article.

Update 11/23/20*

Recent data from EGLE delayed Near-Surface Shallow Groundwater tests sent out on 11-23-20 indicates that Allen's Creek storm water on the West Side has increased dioxane values from the 2019 sampling. 
  • West Park is at 49 ppb from 22 ppb in 2019, 
  • Eight St. next to Slawson Middle School is at 11 ppb from 1 ppb in 2019, and 
  • Chapin St. is at 28 ppb from 9.1 ppb in 2019.



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

Watershed Issues of Interest and Updates:

Danaher/Pall/Gelman 1,4-Dioxane Plume - 4th Consent Judgement Largely Rejected, 
City Council Passes EPA SUPERFUND Petition Resolution, 
CARD Passes EPA SUPERFUND Petition Resolution

Informal EPA Superfund CARD Table Poll at Green Fair 2019,
Support EPA Superfund Status Results were 61-YES, 0-NO as shown,
as posted here previously (Clk for larger; ACWG)

City of Ann Arbor adopts Superfund Petition Resolution for Gelman/Danaher Toxic 1,4 Dioxane Plume November 5th in a 6 to 5 vote. Those voting against are Major Taylor, CM Grand, CM Ackerman, CM Smith and CM Lumm.*

Washtenaw County Commissioners voted unanimously to reject, Ann Arbor Charter Township unanimous vote to reject, Sierra Club Huron Valley GroupAnn Arbor Environmental CommissionScio Residents for Safe Water all voted to reject this 4th Consent Judgement for Gelman Polluter Cleanup Proposal (4th CJ). (see this ACWG Side Bar Page 10/10/2020 Resolution - CARD Group Reject the Proposed Gelman 4th Consent Judgement or agenda items below for more details on the 4th CJ)

CARD Adopts Superfund Resolution for Gelman/Danaher Toxic 1,4 Dioxane Plume, see details and resolution below, and now posted on our web site.

In all the Public Comment sessions to date there have been no supporters of the CJ.

The Allen's Creek Group (ACWG.ORG) supports an EPA Superfund Petition and Cleanup.

We support Dan Bicknell's comments shown below in support of an EPA Superfund Petition and Cleanup.

The CARD and ACWG were instrumental in the state adoption of Vapor Intrusion (VI) Rules recently, according to comments to ACWG from MDEQ/Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) officials at the VI Introduction Public Meeting. This danger to residents should not be ignored.

The majority in MI State Government are pushing Polluter Pay right now. We will have new fairer Districts in MI in 2022, with much more progressive outcomes. We support that effort and think in the near future MI will have this again, and Gelman will be forced to do a meaningful cleanup if EPA Superfund has not.

Danaher should be using the best available technologies for the cleanup. Gelman has and can treat to Non-Detect, below 1 ppb it just cost slightly more.

EGLE is slow in getting the latest near-surface/shallow groundwater tests back, over a month late. West Park was last tested months ago and was at 22ppb. Action level for NSG, on a house with a wet basement year round, could be 29ppb.

Lower high contamination aquifers will cross-talk with near-surface aquifers and be contaminated which could expose people in residential and business structures.

We Support Dan Bicknell's comments below in support of EPA Superfund cleanup (see below).
    • EPA initial evaluation of the Gelman Plume site initially Scored Very High for a Superfund cleanup full evaluation.
    • Senator Stabenow told me in 2016, after Donald Trump took officeEPA will still be doing polluter pay cleanup, it's the orphaned sites that are a real problem. This is not an Orphaned Site.
Danaher is on the hook for this cleanup according to several comments by Mitch Adelman of MDEQ/EGEL in MDEQ public meetings when asked.

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

This revised proposed CJ is basically an exit route for Danaher and Gelman with a partial cleanup and not further action required by law.

SuperFund is the most prudent path for Gelman Full Cleanup; this from Dan Bicknell (CARD Member, former SuperFund Manager, President of GEA):
    • "The main USEPA Superfund Site benefits, based upon similar sites, were detailed by USEPA – Region V - Office Of Superfund in a July 25, 2016 meeting/call with the City, County and Townships representatives. They include:
    • Active restoration of the aquifer to a protective drinking water criterion, regardless of whether the dioxane plume is in a Prohibition Zone or not with Gelman paying the clean-up costs;
    • As a first USEPA priority, extend the municipal drinking water supply to any resident who may be potentially adversely impacted by the dioxane contaminated groundwater at a Gelman cost;
    • Halt the expansion of the dioxane groundwater contamination and treat the source and outer margins of the dioxane plume with an active remedial technology like groundwater extraction and treatment;
    • The active remedial action would prevent the dioxane contamination of Barton Pond, so no additional Contingency Plan would be required to protect Barton Pond.
    • The USEPA will require that Gelman pay for residential well sampling and dioxane analysis at homes immediately down-gradient of the dioxane plume;
    • The USEPA will require a monitoring well network which will establish the full extent and magnitude of the dioxane groundwater contamination, including the Old West Side and West Park areas of the City;
    • The USEPA offers Community Grants (e.g., $50K) to support public input into the Superfund Site cleanup process; and
    • The USEPA has the technical, administrative and legal resources to establish a protective federal Administrative Order and provide high-quality oversight of Gelman in the clean-up with the backing of the US Department of Justice and USEPA Regional Counsel."

EPA Superfund will be the most effective cleanup and protect the economic status of the area. Economic research has shown when you have uncertainty with a contaminated site this is the least protective option of economic status for a community.

The University of Michigan has not supported EPA Superfund but it clearly is in their best interest to see a Superfund cleanup that will be faster and more effective and maintain the positive status of the community. Most unfortunately they have been minimally involved with the public on this matter.

In the EGLE Public Comment Zoom meeting on September 14 all the public comments were negative, not in support of the Proposed CJ, no positive public comments were made.

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

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

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

Links:

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

10/10/2020 Resolution - CARD Group Reject the Proposed Gelman 4th Consent Judgement

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

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

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

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

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

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

Washtenaw County CARD Site

See ACWG site pages EPA Superfund Option Details

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



CARD Adopts Superfund Resolution for Gelman/Danaher Toxic 1,4 Dioxane Plume
 

 
USEPA

Full Voting Members of CARD unanimously adopts Resolution to Support US EPA Superfund Petition yesterday on November 16, '20.

This is a  resolution CARD adopted at the last meeting on Tuesday, 11-10-20.

Full CARD Resolution Petition for US EPA Superfund is shown on ACWG Page Here.

CARD Petition Resolved Clauses:

"NOW, THEREFORE, IT IS RESOLVED, That CARD supports that the Gelman Site be designated as a USEPA Superfund Site under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act and that the USEPA be the lead agency;

RESOLVED , That CARD supports the Governor sending a Concurrence Letter to USEPA for the continuation of the National Priorities List designation process to have the Gelman Site designated as a USEPA Superfund Site;

RESOLVED , That CARD authorizes its Secretary to support the designation of the Gelman Site as a USEPA Superfund Site; and

RESOLVED , That a copy of this resolution be sent to the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners and its delegation to the Michigan Legislature, the Governor of the State of Michigan, the Director of EGLE, Congresswoman Debbie Dingell, Michigan’s U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters, the City of Ann Arbor City Council, Scio Township Board of Trustees and Ann Arbor Charter Township Board of Trustees."

NPR: "Undisclosed: Most Homebuyers And Renters Aren't Warned About Flood Or Wildfire Risk"


From the NPR Report:
None of the landlords, real estate agents, sellers, appraisers, bankers or home inspectors the families interacted with explained the risk of flooding or wildfires, because no one had to do so.

Every American pays the price for the lack of information, whether or not they have been directly affected by a flood or wildfire. The annual number of floods and wildfires that exceed $1 billion in damage has exploded in recent years. Between 2015 and this September, there were 28 such disasters. Taxpayers foot the bill directly when the federal government pays out billions of dollars in disaster relief." (bold by us)

Unfortunately, Ann Arbor has a  long and sordid history of placing less fortunate 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 recently build First Martin Building on Depot St., in the floodplain and floodplain was so flood-prone we have had YouTube videos posted of the flooding as workers tried to escape in their cars from the flooding.  Link and  Link to videos on Youtube. "What the F#$% Ann Arbor': YouTube comments from traped First Martin Building occupants trying to avoid very common flooding at the site.

Affordable Housing Mileage funds are now not allowed to be used in Ann Arbor floodplains, as Council Member Ali Ramlawi recently proposed and got passed in an amendment to the resolution that would have allowed funds from the Affordable Housing Millage to be used in the floodplains. ACWG strongly lobbied for this change.

Current Mayor Taylor and CM Grand voted against the amendment.

Link:  NPR, https://www.npr.org/2020/10/18/918725965/undisclosed-most-homebuyers-and-renters-arent-warned-about-flood-or-wildfire-ris


NPR: Most Tenants Get No Information About Flooding. It Can Cost Them Dearly.
 
W. Kingsley St Flooding 4" Rain, Flooding Affecting New Homes 
in Ann Arbor, July 2020. Cars would be flooded/disabled/destroyed leaving this
new building onto W. Kingsley especially in the dark. 
(clk for larger; ACWG)

First Street Foundation Flood Factor(R) 410 N 1st St. Ann Arbor

First Street Foundation Flood Factor(R) Models for Recent Developments 
at/near 410 N1st St. in the Floodplain, Which Includes Global Warming 
Effects for More Accurate Flood Mapping  (clk for larger)

First Street Foundation Flood Factor(R) Models for 721 N Main in the Floodplain
100 year (1% chance), Which Includes Global Warming Effects for More Accurate Flood Mapping
(clk for larger)

October 22, 2020

“... many homeowners in the most flood-prone areas are required to purchase flood insurance, which means mortgage lenders inform them of their flood risk. That's in stark contrast with tenants: The vast majority of renters such as Daniels are not entitled to any information about flood dangers.”

“An NPR review of the laws in 29 states that require disclosure of flood risk during real estate transactions found that only one mentions tenants.”

“Renters who lost their belongings in a flood are ineligible for some types of federal assistance available to homeowners. “ (bold by us)

Ann Arbor is proposing more and more homes and rental properties be built in flood-prone areas of the city. Yet renters are generally lower-income and not aware they are moving into a dangerous home. This when FEMA is lowballing floodplain maps across America at up to 30% less than the actual flood risk and not using Global Warming effects in its flood models.

City of Ann Arbor does not use Global Warming effects, which are significant, in its floodplain maps unlike First Street Foundation and others, and relies on FEMA mapping which has been shown to be lowballing floodplain maps we use by up to 30% below the current flood elevations in the US.

Link: https://www.npr.org/2020/10/22/922270655/most-tenants-get-no-information-about-flooding-it-can-cost-them-dearly




Update 11-17-20*
CARD Full Voting Membership Unanimously Adopts Superfund Resolution for Gelman/Danaher Toxic 1,4 Dioxane Plume;

Update 10-19-20*
CARD has voted Oct. 18th, by a unanimous vote of voting members, 
to NOT SUPPORT the Gelman 4th Consent Judgement and strongly urges our local government officials to immediately jointly pursue a Petition to US EPA for Superfund Status. 
Link to CARD Resolution Page on ACWG.ORG (also on Site Page Navigation List)

Ann Arbor City Council also voted to 
NOT SUPPORT the Gelman 4th Consent Judgement at the Oct. 19, 2020 Regular City Council Meeting


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

Watershed Issues of Interest and Updates:

Danaher/Pall/Gelman 1,4-Dioxane Plume - Proposed 4th Consent Judgement Negotiations Have Concluded, Public Input Requested Prior to Government Bodies Vote to Accept or Reject, Many Have Already Rejected

Vince Caruso Discusses Gelman Contaminated Groundwater Issues in
CARD Presentation at City Council Gelman Work Session 2019
(Clk for larger; ACWG)

Informal EPA Superfund CARD Table Poll at Green Fair 2019
Support EPA Superfund Status Results were 61-YES, 0-NO as shown, 
as posted here previously (Clk for larger, ACWG)*

Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) and City Council members have indicated a proposed 4th Consent Judgement (CJ) Agreement with Danaher/Pall/Gelman on the "cleanup" of the 1,4-Dioxane plume is done with negotiations and released for viewing and comment. City, County and Townships will have Public Comment options. EGLE had Public Comment recently, details below. 

City Council in a public meeting will be discussing the proposed CJ later in October, and likely to vote on acceptance or rejection.

In all the Public Comment session there have been no supporters of the CJ.

Mayor Taylor's comments WEMU news story 'Virtual Q&A Meeting Will Be Held Tonight To Discuss 1,4 Dioxane Plume':

Mayor Christopher Taylor: "I don’t believe that EPA engagement is likely to result in anything better.  And it will certainly take years, if not decades, before a plan is even devised."

This comment seems to have no basis in fact.

  • Some benefits in the Proposed CJ but,

  • Ann Arbor Charter Township unanimous vote to reject, Sierra Club Huron Valley GroupAnn Arbor Environmental CommissionScio Residents for Safe Water all voted to reject this 4th CJ.
  • The Allen's Creek Group (ACWG.ORG) does not support this Proposed CJ, we support an EPA Superfund Petition and Cleanup.
  • We support Dan Bicknell's comments shown below in support of an EPA Superfund Petition and Cleanup.
  • The ACWG and CARD were instrumental in the state adoption of Vapor Intrusion Rules recently, according to comments to ACWG from MDEQ/EGLE officials at the VI Introduction Public Meeting. This danger to residents should not be ignored.

    EGLE/DEQ: Not Capable: Some Past Comments and Actions -
    • Natural Blocking agent at Barton Pond, Ann Arbor Drinking Water Source (95%), this is not true
    • No preferred flow to Barton past M14 described by MDEQ, this is not true
    • No effort to test to bedrock at the core where suspected high concentrations exist
    • 2M ppb contaminated soils ignored till GW cleaned up is done, ill-advised
    • Vapor Intrusion (VI) exposures not seriously considered
    • ACWG and CARD forced VI analysis and tests
    • Still no clear evaluation by EGLE of CARD Member Dr. Robert Bailey's VI Analysis showing a 100 ppb Action Level not EGLE's 2,800 ppb
    • EGLE has written that given some assumptions related to Dr. Bailey's work like homes with wet basements, 29 ppb would be a potentially dangerous VI value
    • We now have 22ppb at West Park in NSG, a real threat to residents and businesses.
    • Years of MS4 Violations Allen's Creek West Park not being addressed.
    • Went to court with Gelman that lasted for decades with very poor results, no real cleanup of the soils or groundwater, with many residential wells and our city well contaminated.

  • Larry Lemke Consultant working on CJ seems Conflicted:
    • Stated to CARD in a recorded meeting in recent years - there is no blocking at Barton as presented by MDEQ
    • and he said, in fact, there is preferred flow to Barton
    • He has since reversed positions on these and other points
    • No comment on VI ppb, or soils very high ppb - 2M ppb;
    • No obvious explanation as to his change in his opinions
  • Leadership at city hall is lacking, inattentive.
    • Surprisingly and alarmingly Mayor Taylor was uninformed about the high near-surface groundwater (also called shallow groundwater) 1,4 D contamination about 6 months after it was discovered on the west side. I approached him and asked him about this danger at the Ann Arbor Green Fair with City Adm. Lazarus walking with him, and he said he had not known of this, as Lazarus seemed to pull him away from our conversation.
    • Mayor Taylor should recuse from voting on this Proposed CJ, he is a Partner in the law firm making $100's thousands on this ill-conceived CJ; also as a Partner in the firm it is generally not acceptable to challenge another partner
    • Taylor Minority City Council Group were forced by CC Majority to have a Working Session with CARD in 2019 with presentations that discussed clear and compelling reasons to support EPA Superfund
    • $40K current city effort basement west side evaluation is ill-advised. It is not appropriate from the data; to far west; CARD was not really involved! CJ proposal also has shallow groundwater sentinel wells in poor locations, generally too high in elevation
    • MS4 Violation in Allen's Creek not being addressed after years of known violations
    • Mayor Taylor and City Council supporters very rarely or never attend CARD meetings to ask questions, suggest solutions or make comment.
    • Mayor Taylor and his most of his City Council supporters never read the ACWG.ORG monthly Agenda or Updates which would have informed them, like where the west side VI exposures evaluation would have been actually useful.

  • The majority in MI State Government are pushing Polluter Pay right now. We will have new fairer Districts in MI in 2022, with much more progressive outcomes. We support that effort and think in the near future MI will have this again, and Gelman will be forced to do a meaningful cleanup if EPA Superfund has not.
  • Enlarging the Prohibition Zone, for the 3rd Time, is not appropriate should not be allowed.

  • Sisters Lake should not get proposed Gelman 1,4 Dioxane and Bromate discharge into a clean lake at 200gm and affect the adjacent wetland and flood hazard.

  • Danaher should be using the best available technologies for the cleanup. Gelman has and can treat to Non-Detect, below 1 ppb it just cost slightly more.

  • Lower high contamination aquifers will cross-talk with near-surface aquifers and be contaminated which could expose people in residential and business structures.
    • EGLE has commented that 29ppb could be an Action Level in near-surface groundwater.
    • We have 1,4D under our house at monitoring well showing high 1,4 Dioxane in lower aquifers now, and do not want it to percolate up into our or neighbor's basements.
    • We have had 2 homes built in our neighborhood recently both basements filled with groundwater soon after they were dug.
    • Most homes on the west side have damp or wet basements and will not be protected from VI of 1,4D.

  • Basically, a 500 ppb cleanup standard is a non-starter;
    • Who suggested this as a meaningful target? Gelman?
    • 7.2ppb in MI, 1 ppb other states limits in drinking water, Environmental Working Group states 0.35 ppb
    • 500 ppb could very well migrate to homeowner drinking water wells
    • Homeowner wells to the North West of the plume in Ann Arbor Twp. clearly have no protection
    • 100 ppb Action Level for basement exposure Dr. Robert Bailey's VI analysis not addressed
    • aquifers are connected and will crosstalk and equilibrate potentially causing shallow groundwater exposures into structures
    • no discussion on VI levels, 500 ppb dangerous to the community
    • 2,800 ppb, and 280 proposed, GSI where it seems clearly an issue with 29 or 100 ppb potentially a reasonable VI Action Level

  • We Support Dan Bicknell's comments below in support of EPA Superfund cleanup (see below).
    • EPA initial evaluation of the Gelman Plume site initially Scored Very High for a Superfund cleanup full evaluation.
    • Senator Stabenow told me in 2016, after Donald Trump took officeEPA will still be doing polluter pay cleanup, it's the orphaned sites that are a real problem. This is not an Orphaned Site.
  • Danaher is on the hook for this cleanup according to several comments by Mitch Adelman of MDEQ/EGEL in MDEQ public meetings when asked.

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

  • This revised proposed CJ is basically an exit route for Danaher and Gelman with a partial cleanup and not further action required by law.

  • SuperFund is the most prudent path for Gelman Full Cleanup; this from Dan Bicknell (CARD Member, former SuperFund Manager, President of GEA):
    • "The main USEPA Superfund Site benefits, based upon similar sites, were detailed by USEPA – Region V - Office Of Superfund in a July 25, 2016 meeting/call with the City, County and Townships representatives. They include:
    • Active restoration of the aquifer to a protective drinking water criterion, regardless of whether the dioxane plume is in a Prohibition Zone or not with Gelman paying the clean-up costs;
    • As a first USEPA priority, extend the municipal drinking water supply to any resident who may be potentially adversely impacted by the dioxane contaminated groundwater at a Gelman cost;
    • Halt the expansion of the dioxane groundwater contamination and treat the source and outer margins of the dioxane plume with an active remedial technology like groundwater extraction and treatment;
    • The active remedial action would prevent the dioxane contamination of Barton Pond, so no additional Contingency Plan would be required to protect Barton Pond.
    • The USEPA will require that Gelman pay for residential well sampling and dioxane analysis at homes immediately down-gradient of the dioxane plume;
    • The USEPA will require a monitoring well network which will establish the full extent and magnitude of the dioxane groundwater contamination, including the Old West Side and West Park areas of the City;
    • The USEPA offers Community Grants (e.g., $50K) to support public input into the Superfund Site cleanup process; and
    • The USEPA has the technical, administrative and legal resources to establish a protective federal Administrative Order and provide high-quality oversight of Gelman in the clean-up with the backing of the US Department of Justice and USEPA Regional Counsel."

  • EPA Superfund will be the most effective cleanup and protect the economic status of the area. Economic research has shown when you have uncertainty with a contaminated site this is the least protective option of economic status for a community.

  • The University of Michigan has not supported EPA Superfund but it clearly is in their best interest to see a Superfund cleanup that will be faster and more effective and maintain the positive status of the community. Most unfortunately they have been minimally involved with the public on this matter.

  • In the EGLE Public Comment Zoom meeting on September 14 all the public comments were negative, not in support of the Proposed CJ, no positive public comments were made.

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

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

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

Links:

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

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

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

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

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

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

WEMU Article- 'Virtual Q&A Meeting Will Be Held Tonight To Discuss 1,4 Dioxane Plume'

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

Washtenaw County CARD Site

See ACWG site pages EPA Superfund Option Details

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



Berm Opening For Flood Mitigation and B2B Ped and Bike Access at Depot St Near Completion, Extensive Use of Concrete for Circuitous Access to Go Around Martin Buildings is Questionable

View of very long approach to Berm Opening
Goes East Well Passed the White Martin Building
(Clk for larger; ACWG)

Preferred 2013 Option (not used) with Much Easer/Very Much Less Expensive Pedestrian and Bike Access Paths (circled in red)*
(City of Ann Arbor; Clk for larger; red circled annotations ACWG) 

This project was greatly helped by residents and the ACWG pushing for the pedestrian and bicycle access. When approached MDOT (the owner of the RR track) initially was not supportive of the Berm Opening until they were told it would connect the B2B trail. MDOT did a '180 degree' and strongly supported it. 

The ACWG was extensively involved in this proposal. The pedestrian and bicycle access was in question initially. We strongly supported pedestrian and bicycle and, the MDOT interest in this help get the funding for the project which had to include pedestrian and bicycle access.

The very expensive and extensive use of concrete for the Depot St. access path around the Martin building in the RR Right of Way and its huge carbon footprint are unfortunate and unnecessary. The city is boasting A2Zero when these kinds of projects are the antithesis of low carbon emissions. An easement between two Martin buildings on Depot St. would have proved a much easier, less costly and much fewer carbon emissions access to the B2B trail as shown in original plans. The Martin buildings in the old floodway and floodplain will greatly benefit from this project with a stormwater tunnel to the river. 



841 Broadway St., DTE Energy Huge Toxic Coal Tar Dump Site, in the Old Huron River Channel, Just Below Argo Dam in a Major Flood Zone, Roxbury Group's Proposal Approved for Housing and Hotel

 841 Broadway St., DTE Site, Major Flood Risk with Global Warming

"Extreme Flood Factor for This Site, 9 Out of Ten!"

Outrageous Flood risk for 841 Broadway St., DTE Site,
proposed for development; First Street Foundation (Clk for larger)

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

Taxpayers are subsidizing DTE Energy, rated top 10 worst Water Polluter in the USA.

First Street rates this site as Extreme Flood Factor, 9 out of 10, which unlike the city, county, state and federal ratings, include Global Warming effects.

FEMA has also been shown to Low Ball Floodplains by at least 30% due to poor data and do not take into account the Global Warming effects that we are seeing now in SEM.

In the 1968 flood (likely a 50-year flood or less, by today's standards) had 15' of water careening across this DTE site.

The City of Ann Arbor does due diligence and removes toxic Coal Tar deposits in new path to B2B trail and flood relief channel to Huron River,
     not so much DTE.

DTE is a $1.7B Company yet Ann Arborites and the State will be paying $25M to do a very minimal partial cleanup of the site. Most of the highly toxic coal tar and other pollution, which goes upto 30 feet down into the groundwater table, will be left for future generations to deal with. Downriver was never tested for groundwater contamination into the river as commented by the developer at a public meeting.

Council Member Jeff Hyner commented, basically stated ' why are we capping toxic dump site with homes and a hotel in the flood prone river' and voted NO to the PUD approval.

Roxbury Group proposed this development that will sit on top of a toxic dump site of Coal Tar and other pollutents.

Not only is there vapor intrusion (VI) issues due to very toxic and very volatile coal tar, you are capping this site with structures so a cleanup in a few years from now will not be possible. You are condemning our river to be contaminated for decades or centuries.

Petoskey had to evacuate 11 new condos recently due to VI into the condo development built on top of a pollution site with toxic volatile organics.

Several permits are sill to be obtained, yet it received approval by council.

These permits should not be given to this development. ACWG has contacted government officials regarding these permits.



$40 Million Dollar Unlawful Enrichment Law Suit Against Ann Arbor, Due To Stormwater Utility Fees and Other Sanitary Sewer and Water Utility Fees Misuse

Seal of the City of Ann Arbor

After a casual comment at a very recent CARD meeting, the ACWG asked a council member to receive details on the commented on 'Law Suit against the city for water issues'. Sorry, interested residents were not made aware of this suit until over a month since it was filed and had to make a specific request. 

PDF Image of the text of the Washtenaw Circuit Court pleading:

The class-action suit alleges generally the city is overcharging in fees for Stormwater Utility Fees and other fees like Sanitary Sewer and Drinking Water Fees. They have filed suit to obtain refunds for users for some city utility.

It finds the city has tens of millions of dollars in utility fees saved up when generally fees for utilities are to pay the cost of the utilities in a 'Pay as You Go'. 

Additionally, they have found the city is using utility fees for things they say are not related to the utility. For example stormwater fees used for street work, fully funding the Forestry Department. In the past, we have been told that the city has used these fees to pay for police protection of sewer lids that were said to be regularly stolen. Fees were used to build water-related artwork at city hall.

Stantec who consulted on Utility Fees recommended that the city " draw down" excessive reserves. "Stantec recognized that the City's cash and investments in is Stormwater Fund were far in excess of appropriate reserve amounts, "

It seems to us the city has commented in the past that it is collecting fees in some cases for expected costs like treatment plant upgrades and replacement. It has also commented that some of the fees go to tree planting because it reduces stormwater runoff and pollution. similar to actions by other communities. City Recycling efforts were also partially paid for off Utility fees collected, called 'source water protection'. The city has paid $475,000 from Water Supply Fees for Gelman legal work.

According to their website, this law firm has gotten millions of dollars in similar suits.

The ACWG has commented many times in the recent past on the potential abuse of these fees could cause the loss of this much needed and progressive Stormwater Utility as has happened in Lansing and Jackson, and others, due to court actions.
 
Links:

UPDATE*: "In Deep: Ann Arbor’s Water Troubles" Posted January 1, 2021 by Vivienne Armentrout
In depth online article on the Hahn Suit and "water" fees uses by City of Ann Arbor 

MLive Ryan Stanton recent article on this suit.




Update 10-8-20*:

Scio Residents for Safe Water (SRSW) has voted to reject the Proposed 4th Consent Judgement (CJ) Agreement with Danaher/Pall/Gelman and immediately petition the US EPA for intervention and appeal to Circuit Judge Timothy Connors to impose a plan that addresses the many shortcomings of the proposed Consent Judgement. SRSW is Chaired by Roger Rayle, who is also Chair of CARD.

Update 9-21-20*:

The Ann Arbor Township Board of Trustees unanimously approved a resolution this past week voicing strong opposition to the proposed settlement, while expressing concerns about EGLE’s oversight of the plume.
Ann Arbor, Scio Township and Washtenaw County elected officials are planning to hold a joint Zoom meeting at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 24 to hear public input and provide answers to questions about the proposed deal.
Members of the public will be able to watch the Sept. 24 meeting using this link. To participate via Zoom, use this link and passcode 966628.
https://www.mlive.com/news/ann-arbor/2020/09/washtenaw-county-officials-seeking-more-input-on-pollution-cleanup-plan.html


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

Watershed Issues of Interest and Updates:


Danaher/Pall/Gelman 1,4-Dioxane Plume - Consent Judgement Negotiations Have Concluded, Public Input Requested Prior to Government Bodies Vote to Accept or Reject

  
Vince Caruso Discusses Gelman Contaminated Groundwater Issues in
CARD Presentation at City Council Gelman Work Session 2019
(ACWG)

Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) and City Council members have indicated a Consent Judgement (CJ) Agreement with Danaher/Pall/Gelman on the "cleanup" of the 1,4-Dioxane plume is done with negotiations and released for viewing and comment. City, County and Townships will have Public Comment options. EGLE had Public Comment recently, details below. 

  • Some benefits in the Proposed CJ but,

  • The Allen's Creek Group (ACWG.ORG) does not support this Proposed CJ, we support an EPA Superfund Petition and Cleanup.
  • We support Dan Bicknell's comments shown below in support of an EPA Superfund Petition and Cleanup.

    EGLE/DEQ: Not Capable: Some Past Comments and Actions -
    • Natural Blocking agent at Barton Pond, Ann Arbor Drinking Water Source (95%), this is not true
    • No preferred flow to Barton past M14 described by MDEQ, this is not true
    • No effort to test to bedrock at the core where suspected high concentrations exist
    • 2M ppb contaminated soils ignored till GW cleaned up is done, ill-advised
    • Vapor Intrusion (VI) exposures not seriously considered
    • ACWG and CARD forced VI analysis and tests
    • Still no clear evaluation by EGLE of Dr. Robert Bailey's VI Analysis showing a 100 ppb Action Level not EGLE's 2,800 ppb
    • Years of MS4 Violations Allen's Creek West Park
    • Went to court with Gelman that lasted for decades with very poor results, no real cleanup of the soils or groundwater, with many residential wells and our city well contaminated
  • Larry Lemke Consultant working on CJ seems Conflicted:
    • Stated to CARD in a recorded meeting in recent years - no blocking at Barton as presented by MDEQ
    • and he said, in fact, there is preferred flow to Barton
    • He has since reversed positions on these and other points
    • No comment on VI ppb, or soils very high ppb - 2M ppb;
    • No obvious explanation as to his change in his opinions
  • Leadership at city hall is lacking, inattentive.
Surprisingly and alarmingly Mayor Taylor was uninformed about the high near-surface groundwater (also called shallow groundwater) 1,4 D contamination about 6 months after it was discovered on the west side. I approached him and asked him about this danger at the Ann Arbor Green Fair with City Adm. Lazarus walking with him, and he said he had not known of this, as Lazarus seemed to pull him away from our conversation.
    • Mayor Taylor should recuse from voting on this Proposed CJ, he is a Partner in the law firm making $100's thousands on this ill-conceived CJ
    • Taylor Minority City Council Group were forced by CC Majority to have a Working Session with CARD in 2019 with presentations that discussed clear and compelling reasons to support EPA Superfund
    • $40K current city effort basement west side evaluation is ill-advised. It is not appropriate from the data; to far west; CARD was not really involved! CJ proposal also has shallow groundwater sentinal wells in poor locations, generally too high in elevation
    • MS4 Violation in Allen's Creek not being addressed after years of known violations
    • Mayor Taylor and City Council supporters rarely or never attend CARD meetings to ask questions, suggest solutions or make comment.
    • Mayor Taylor and his most of his City Council supporters never read the ACWG.ORG monthly Agenda or Updates which would have informed them, like where the west side VI exposures evaluation would have been actually useful.
  • The majority in MI State Government are pushing Polluter Pay right now. We support that effort and think in the near future MI will have this again, and Gelman will be forced to do a meaningful cleanup if EPA Superfund has not.
  • Enlarging the Prohibition Zone, for the 3rd Time, is not appropriate should not be allowed.

  • Sisters Lake should not get proposed Gelman 1,4 Dioxane and Bromate discharge into a clean lake at 200gm and affect the adjacent wetland and flood hazard.

  • Danaher should be using the best available technologies for the cleanup. Gelman has and can treat to Non-Detect, below 1 ppb it just cost slightly more.

  • Lower high contamination aquifers will cross-talk with near-surface aquifers and be contaminated which could expose people in residential and business structures.
    • We have 1,4D under our house at monitoring well showing high 1,4 Dioxane in lower aquifers now, and do not want it to percolate up into our or neighbor's basements.
    • We have had 2 homes built in our neighborhood recently both basements filled with groundwater soon after they were dug.
    • Most homes on the west side have damp or wet basements and will not be protected from VI of 1,4D.

  • Basically a 500 ppb cleanup standard is a non-starter;
    • Who suggested this as a meaningful target? Gelman?
    • 7.2ppb in MI, 1 ppb other states limits in drinking water, Environmental Working Group states 0.35 ppb
    • 500 ppb could very well migrate to homeowner drinking water wells
    • Homeowner wells to the North West of the plume in Ann Arbor Twp. clearly have no protection
    • 100 ppb Action Level for basement exposure Dr. Robert Bailey's VI analysis not addressed
    • aquifers are connected and will crosstalk and equilibrate potentially causing shallow groundwater exposures into structures
    • no discussion on VI levels, 500 ppb dangerous to the community
    • 2,800 ppb, and 280 proposed, GSI where it seems clearly an issue with 100 ppb potentially a reasonable VI Action Level

  • We Support Dan Bicknell's comments below in support of EPA Superfund cleanup (see below).
    • EPA initial evaluation of the Gelman Plume site initially Scored Very High for a Superfund cleanup full evaluation.
    • Senator Stabenow told me in 2016, after Donald Trump took office, EPA will still be doing polluter pay cleanup, it's the orphaned sites that are a real problem. This is not an Orphaned Site.
  • Danaher is on the hook for this cleanup according to several comments by Mitch Adelman of MDEQ/EGEL in MDEQ public meetings when asked.

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

  • This revised proposed CJ is basically an exit route for Danaher and Gelman with a partial cleanup and not further action required by law.

  • SuperFund is the most prudent path for Gelman Full Cleanup; this from Dan Bicknell (CARD Member, former SuperFund Manager, President of GEA):
    • "The main USEPA Superfund Site benefits, based upon similar sites, were detailed by USEPA – Region V - Office Of Superfund in a July 25, 2016 meeting/call with the City, County and Townships representatives. They include:
    • Active restoration of the aquifer to a protective drinking water criterion, regardless of whether the dioxane plume is in a Prohibition Zone or not with Gelman paying the clean-up costs;
    • As a first USEPA priority, extend the municipal drinking water supply to any resident who may be potentially adversely impacted by the dioxane contaminated groundwater at a Gelman cost;
    • Halt the expansion of the dioxane groundwater contamination and treat the source and outer margins of the dioxane plume with an active remedial technology like groundwater extraction and treatment;
    • The active remedial action would prevent the dioxane contamination of Barton Pond, so no additional Contingency Plan would be required to protect Barton Pond.
    • The USEPA will require that Gelman pay for residential well sampling and dioxane analysis at homes immediately down-gradient of the dioxane plume;
    • The USEPA will require a monitoring well network which will establish the full extent and magnitude of the dioxane groundwater contamination, including the Old West Side and West Park areas of the City;
    • The USEPA offers Community Grants (e.g., $50K) to support public input into the Superfund Site cleanup process; and
    • The USEPA has the technical, administrative and legal resources to establish a protective federal Administrative Order and provide high-quality oversight of Gelman in the clean-up with the backing of the US Department of Justice and USEPA Regional Counsel."

  • EPA Superfund will be the most effective cleanup and protect the economic status of the area. Economic research has shown when you have uncertainty with a contaminated site this is the least protective option of economic status for a community.

  • The University of Michigan has not supported EPA Superfund but it clearly is in their best interest to see a Superfund cleanup that will be faster and more effective and maintain the positive status of the community. Most unfortunately they have been minimally involved with the public on this matter.

  • In the EGLE Public Comment Zoom meeting on September 14 all the public comments were negative, not in support of the Proposed CJ, no positive public comments were made.

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

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

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

Links:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Washtenaw County CARD Site

See ACWG site pages EPA Superfund Option Details

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



W. Kingsley and N. First Street Flooding in 4" Rain Blocks One of Two Entrances to a New Condos on July 15th

W. Kingsley Flooding Entrance to New Beal Condos
(Clk for larger; ACWG)

Flooding during a 4-inch rain on W. Kingsley St. completely blocks one of the two entrances to a new occupied Beal condo building development between W. Kingsley and N First Streets. 

Homeowners unaware, especially after dark, may leave the condo’s and drive into this standing water where many cars have been disabled and trapped in floodwaters in the past. This is a common occurrence as it is the Allen's Creek floodway. Some flooded car occupants have had to be rescued by First Responders in recent years.

Across the street are new condos on Ashley with water lapping up to the building also built in the floodplain next to the floodway.

The ACWG has opposed these developments in the floodplain and likely floodway for many years but our city government has chosen to ignore the real dangers to life, health and property.

This building is in the floodplain and likely floodway with more meaningful floodplain maps. FEMA has been shown to Low Ball the FEMA floodplain maps by at least 30% due to poor data and do not take into account the Global Warming effects that we are seeing now in SEM.

This new building in the floodplain is required to pay flood insurance which is expected to rise dramatically in the years to come, an unnecessary burden on the homeowners and the community.


Extreme rains fueled the Michigan flood, and Midwest precipitation is increasing and intensifying with climate change: Weather Underground
Annual precipitation since 1895 in the Central Lower Michigan climate division. (NOAA/NCEI; Clk for larger)

From Weather Underground:

'One of the recurring messages in decades of projections of human-produced climate change is that precipitation will tend to decrease in the subtropics and increase at northern midlatitudesThat’s exactly what is happening in central Michigan. What’s more, the intensity of multi-day downpours is rising in many parts of the world, including the United States, and the most-affected U.S. regions are the Midwest and Northeast, as noted by Climate Central.

“Stormwater management systems and other critical infrastructure in the Midwest are already experiencing impacts from changing precipitation patterns and elevated flood risks,” said the 2018 U.S. National Climate Assessment. In a message that rings out, the assessment added: “Infrastructure currently designed for historical climate conditions is more vulnerable to future weather extremes and climate change.” ' (bold by us)

2019 was the wettest year for Central Lower Michigan in recorded history.




West Michigan residents face ‘catastrophic’ flooding after record-breaking rainfall; May 19, 2020: MLive

Flooding West Michigan (MLive; Click for larger)

MLive: 
"Across West Michigan, the heavy rainfall has resulted in major flooding that has shut down roadways, filled basements and led to declarations of countywide State of Emergency alerts.

Muskegon received 3.35 inches of rainfall Sunday alone, making it the second heaviest 24-hour rainfall total in May since 1904, according to the weather service.

Meanwhile in Ottawa County, one Grand Haven resident saw so much flooding in his neighborhood that he was able to go kayaking in his neighbor’s yard." (bold by us)

Link: https://www.mlive.com/news/muskegon/2020/05/west-michigan-residents-face-catastrophic-flooding-after-record-breaking-rainfall.html



UPDATE 8-31-20*:

Consent Judgement Proposed Changes:
This is a repository of proposed settlement documents prepared by Washtenaw County and its Health Department, the City of Ann Arbor, Scio Township, and the Huron River Watershed Council​."


August 2020 - No Meeting this month due Vacation and Travel Schedules, and COVID-19 Pandemic Cautions

Watershed Issues of Interest and Updates:

Danaher/Pall/Gelman 1,4-Dioxane Plume - Consent Judgement Negotiations Seem To Have Concluded, (More Details Later!? Still no Word!)

  

Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) and City Council members have indicated a Consent Judgement (CJ) Agreement with Danaher/Pall/Gelman on the "cleanup" of the 1,4-Dioxane plume is done with negotiations but no word on a report to the community date.

There seems to be some confusion as if the public will be given the text of the agreement before a Council Vote or after the vote. It has been commented by a council member that it cannot be divulged if it is not voted to accept, so until the vote, it will stay secrete contrary to city council promises made to the public. One council member has said she will not support a vote till it is made public. Clear as Mud.

Allowing the 1,4 Dioxane to move through the city with migration to the near-surface or surface would seem to be a violation of the very weak MI Part 201 standards of Isolation of the Contaminate. We just so happen to have a Ph.D. scientist, Dr. Robert Bailey, with past experience doing professional Environmental Fate and Transport Analysis of Volatile Chemicals including 1,4D in our CARD group he has shown that 100 ppb near a home or business's basements could be a dangerous exposure to occupants. EGLE's toxicologist is still evaluating this finding many months after receiving it.

We have shown, due to CARD and ACWG's persistence to have basic simple near-surface groundwater (NSG also called shallow groundwater) tests, that West Park has 22 ppb in NSG. Just upstream, 6 to 8 blocks, we have had 1,000 ppb at Vets Park and 800 ppb at Mary Field Park neighborhood.

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

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

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

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

Why SuperFund is the most prudent path for Gelman Full Cleanup; this from Dan Bicknell (CARD Member, former SuperFund Manager, President of GEA):

"The main USEPA Superfund Site benefits, based upon similar sites, were detailed by USEPA  – Region V  - Office Of Superfund in a July 25, 2016 meeting/call with the City, County and Townships representatives. 
They include:
  • Active restoration of the aquifer to a protective drinking water criterion, regardless of whether the dioxane plume is in a Prohibition Zone or not with Gelman paying the clean-up costs;
  • As a first USEPA priority, extend the municipal drinking water supply to any resident who may be potentially adversely impacted by the dioxane contaminated groundwater at a Gelman cost;
  • Halt the expansion of the dioxane groundwater contamination and treat the source and outer margins of the dioxane plume with an active remedial technology like groundwater extraction and treatment;
  • The active remedial action would prevent the dioxane contamination of Barton Pond, so no additional Contingency Plan would be required to protect Barton Pond.
  • The USEPA will require that Gelman pay for residential well sampling and dioxane analysis at  homes immediately down-gradient of the dioxane plume;
  • The USEPA will require a monitoring well network which will establish the full extent and magnitude of the dioxane groundwater contamination, including the Old West Side and West Park areas of the City;
  •  The USEPA offers Community Grants (e.g., $50K) to support public input into the Superfund Site cleanup process; and
  •  The USEPA has the technical, administrative and legal resources to establish a protective federal Administrative Order and provide high-quality oversight of Gelman in the clean-up with the backing of the US Department of Justice and USEPA Regional Counsel." (bold by us)

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

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

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

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

Links:

CARD August Meeting was canceled due to vacation schedules

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Washtenaw County CARD Site

See ACWG site pages EPA Superfund Option Details

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


Ann Arbor Affordable Housing Tax Proposal, With a Ban On Fund's Use In Floodplains, Heads to November Ballot


415 W. Washington,  Ann Arbor MI:

Flood risk for 415 W. Washington proposed for potential developmentFirst Street Foundation (Clk for larger)*

721 N. Main City Owned Lot
Flood risk for 721 N Main St. proposed for potential developmentFirst Street Foundation (Clk for larger)

721 N. Main has been widely discussed by some on City Council as a proposed site for Affordable Housing, with a flood analysis that includes Global Warming, which some on council purportedly agree is real, a major threat and is causing bigger rain events. The City just authorize a $1B plan to deal with it.


841 Broadway St., DTE Site, Major Flood Risk with Global Warming

Outrageous Flood risk for 841 Broadway St., DTE Site, proposed for developmentFirst Street Foundation (Clk for larger)

Affordable Housing (AH) Millage proposal with restrictions passed City Council on July 27.

The ACWG has commented recently in AH issues meetings that the Profit Motive has failed and we need to move to a more proactive city lead effort. Also have discussed not building in the floodplain (FP) for decades now, especially "AH". Glad to see these changes finally happening, better late than never.

CM Ali Ramlawi proposed an amendment to the Millage to ban use of the Millage funds in the Floodplain.
Amendment passed with   Taylor,  Smith,  Ackerman,  Grand  voting against.

“In a 7-4 vote, council decided to prohibit spending money from the tax on building, maintaining or acquiring new affordable housing units in floodways or floodplains.

...20-year millage that, if approved, could raise over $6.5 million in the first year it’s levied in 2021, and potentially around $160 million over the next two decades, according to city officials. $125 per year for a home with a $250,000 market value and $125,000 taxable value”: MLive.

Unlike First Street Foundation, FEMA does not account for Global Warming in its models, and for other reasons, they are very much Low Ball valuesMuch more dangerous than it may appear to the uneducated or uninterested. The floodway (FW) analysis is likely in error as well.

It’s ok to put disadvantaged in very dangerous FP and likely FW according to Taylor, Smith, Ackerman, Grand and their supporters.

The city has a very sordid history of placing minorities and disadvantaged in FP and FW which should be stopped especially with Global Warming effects clearly making this more dangerous by the day.

Above you can see flood predictions, including Global Warming effects, for a site considered developable by the city: DTE Site.

Link:
First Street Foundation's  https://floodfactor.com/


City of Ann Arbor Floodplain Management Overlay Zoning District Passed
 


An Apt. building in Versailles, Northern OH where
two people died in recent years trying to get cars out of a
floodplain parking area below the building,
an ill-advised but allowed common building practice in Ann Arbor
(photo: T. Bletcher ACWG; Click for larger).


This is a good step but banning building in the floodplain would be much safer, environmentally recommended, and improve the economic viability of the community.

Relying on Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) floodplain maps is ill-advised at it does not take into account Global Warming effects that we are already seeing in Michigan. First Street Foundation's maps do include predicted Global Warming effects and show much larger flood hazards.

ACWG did make comments in the webinar. We asked for more restrictions on development in the floodplains.

City has said that the presentation and comments are available online.

Top city staff comments do not support development in the Floodplain:
Dr. Missy Stults, Manager City of Ann Arbor Sustainability Office at A2Zero KickOff Meeting to ACWG question: 'I do not support city building in the floodplain (period).'

Jerry Handcock has commented at public meetings, as a Floodplain Manager, he would not like to see building in the floodplain.


All the predictions of Global Warming and much heavier rain events, this is the most prudent way forward.

'Floodplain Management Overlay Zoning District:
The City is proposing to adopt a Floodplain Management Overlay Zoning District to add to Chapter 55 (PDF), the Unified Development Code. The regulations are proposed for a variety of reasons:
  • Improved protection of public safety and welfare
  • Reduced loss of life and property, especially for vulnerable populations and neighborhoods
  • More consistency with State floodplain regulations
  • Clarifying the permit approval process
  • Better Community Rating System score
  • Saving money and resources by lowering flood insurance rates and less flood damages to repair
  • Furthering the City's sustainability and climate action goals'
Jerry Hancock Stormwater and Floodplain Programs Coordinator​ had led this effort for many years. 

The ACWG has been promoting this option for many years.

Unfortunately, Ann Arbor still does not receive all the benefits of FEMA Flood Community Rating System (CRS) or lower flood insurance and other benefits.
Brett Lenart, Planning Manager commented at the Webinar that:

"No, the City is not at full CRS discounts. We believe that this ordinance has the potential to improve our rating, however."

A charter member of the ACWG and a charter member of the Environmental Commission, and the ACWG pushed for this plan and got it supported by the EC many years ago.

This proposal is long overdue and will protect the residents and businesses, and the environment from major storms coming with Global Warming.

Past Mistakes Cause More Threats:
Unfortunately, the past city council and current mayor defeated in 2015 a previous effort and, they went on to support over 110 new homes in a very dubious Floodplains in the city of Ann Arbor. One of these council members, who was not reelected, did not even know they were supporting so many new homes in the floodplain when the ACWG asked him a year later how he could justify his vote.

Many communities forbid building in floodplains,  President Obama virtually forbid using federal Tax Dollars for building in the floodplain.

Links:



Flooding of Homes Caused by Construction at 312 Glendale Memory Care (MC) - Has Just Recently Started Construction Almost 2 1/2 Years After Approval and a Failed ACWG Attempted Reconsideration Request

Results of residents neighborhood survey of Water Issues in 2013; (ACWG)
MC Site is to left in dark olive tone with Legend, stormwater flow to the right (Click for Larger Image)


Two homes were flooded from excessive runoff from this construction site on July 10, 2020 as reported by one of the flooded home's owner. This was a concern residents brought up during the Planning and City Council discussions.

Neighbors commented that flooding from the Hillside Terrace next to the MC site occurred when first built in the 1970's. Downstream homeowners settled out of court for money damages.

Lazarus: Never Happen Again:
Former City Administrator Lazarus said in very sternly construction induced flooding, like on the North Side recently, would never happen again yet it has and may again! The city ignores flood hazard in favor of developers routinely.

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

The ACWG, neighbors and a 5th ward council member strongly opposed this development.

We had unsuccessfully asked for reconsideration of this vote because when this went before Council issues were falsely or misleadingly presented to City Council and/or Planning Commission including the Water Resources Commissioner’s Office (WRCO). This may have lead to votes without full knowledge of the issues facing the neighborhood. The WRCO Staff, presenting at the meetings, did mention he was at the last minute standing in for someone in the office.

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

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



Midwest and Northeast Getting Record Rain Events, Chicago Set a May Record 3rd Year in a Row

Chicago Highway damage due to recent flooding effects (MPR News; Click for Larger)

Holland Sentinel  July 19, 2020:
"The Midwest and the Northeast are getting more precipitation than in the past, and more of that coming in larger events, particularly in the winter and spring. Since 1951, total annual precipitation has increased by 13.6% in the Great Lakes region, with the amount falling in heavy storms increasing 35% in that time period, according to Great Lakes Integrated Sciences Assessments, or GLISA, an Ann Arbor-based partnership between the University of Michigan and Michigan State University serving as a climate change-related regional center for the National
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Chicago set its record for May rainfall for the third year in a row this year." (bold by us)

Much larger rain events are to be expected with Global Warming effects in the midwest and SE Michigan. Plan now.



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

Watershed Issues of Interest and Updates:


Danaher/Pall/Gelman 1,4-Dioxane Plume - Consent Judgement Negotiations Seem To Have Concluded, (More Details Later!?)

  

Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE)  and City Council members have indicated a Consent Judgement (CJ) Agreement with Danaher/Pall/Gelman on the "cleanup" of the 1,4-Dioxane plume is done with negotiations but no word on a report to the community date.

There seems to be some confusion as if the public will be given the text of the agreement before a Council Vote or after the vote. It has been commented by a council member that it cannot be divulged if it is not voted to accept, so until the vote, it will stay secrete contrary to city council promises made to the public. One council member has said she will not support a vote till it is made public. Clear as Mud.

At the last Coalition for the Remediation of Dioxane (CARD) meeting I asked, and we discussed, the option to do shallow groundwater tests in an  8th Street street drain.

EGLE is considering tests of shallow groundwater in an 8th Street street drain with very high flows in dry conditions, much like West Park drain. This is a very simple test, in lieu of permanent shallow groundwater wells that should be installed, that could be very instructive like the West Park tests. 

The city and EGLE have indicated that they would be willing to work with U of M faculty on Vapor Intrusion (VI) issues related to near-surface groundwater (NSG, also called shallow groundwater) contamination on the westside of the city. 

EGLE is still delaying the NSG tests after commenting months ago they would have done additional testing and have results by now. CARD and ACWG members commented that these tests should have been done by now with no real comment for a reason for delays by EGLE.

Why SuperFund is the most prudent path for Gelman Full Cleanup; this from Dan Bicknell (CARD Member, former SuperFund Manager, President of GEA):

"The main USEPA Superfund Site benefits, based upon similar sites, were detailed by USEPA  – Region V  - Office Of Superfund in a July 25, 2016 meeting/call with the City, County and Townships representatives. 
They include:
  • Active restoration of the aquifer to a protective drinking water criterion, regardless of whether the dioxane plume is in a Prohibition Zone or not with Gelman paying the clean-up costs;
  • As a first USEPA priority, extend the municipal drinking water supply to any resident who may be potentially adversely impacted by the dioxane contaminated groundwater at a Gelman cost;
  • Halt the expansion of the dioxane groundwater contamination and treat the source and outer margins of the dioxane plume with an active remedial technology like groundwater extraction and treatment;
  • The active remedial action would prevent the dioxane contamination of Barton Pond, so no additional Contingency Plan would be required to protect Barton Pond.
  • The USEPA will require that Gelman pay for residential well sampling and dioxane analysis at  homes immediately down-gradient of the dioxane plume;
  • The USEPA will require a monitoring well network which will establish the full extent and magnitude of the dioxane groundwater contamination, including the Old West Side and West Park areas of the City;
  •  The USEPA offers Community Grants (e.g., $50K) to support public input into the Superfund Site cleanup process; and
  •  The USEPA has the technical, administrative and legal resources to establish a protective federal Administrative Order and provide high quality oversight of Gelman in the clean-up with the backing of the US Department of Justice and USEPA Regional Counsel." (bold by us)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Links:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Washtenaw County CARD Site

See ACWG site pages EPA Superfund Option Details

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


City of Ann Arbor Floodplain Webinar​: Proposed Floodplain Management Overlay Zoning District 
 


UPDATE: this Webinar is now available on the City YouTube channel.



'The webinar will provide an overview of proposed regulation changes establishing higher building standards within the floodplain with the intent of minimizing public and private losses due to flooding.'

​​Thursday, July 16 5:30 p.m.
Link to join (ZOOM) from a PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone or Android device. (https://a2gov.zoom.us/j/99897934373?pwd=Zjlodk1jNlVlU05QVE5GVFBEeDJIdz09#success)
Password: 128174
To join by phone:
(for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location):
US: 213.338.8477​
888.788.0099 (Toll Free)
877.853.5247 (Toll Free)
Webinar ID: 998-9793-​4373

Comments and questions may be submitted before the webinar, for potential discussion, to Jerry Handcock at JHancock@A2Gov.org​​

'Floodplain Management Overlay Zoning District:
The City is proposing to adopt a Floodplain Management Overlay Zoning District to add to Chapter 55 (PDF), the Unified Development Code. The regulations are proposed for a variety of reasons:
  • Improved protection of public safety and welfare
  • Reduced loss of life and property, especially for vulnerable populations and neighborhoods
  • More consistency with State floodplain regulations
  • Clarifying the permit approval process
  • Better Community Rating System score
  • Saving money and resources by lowering flood insurance rates and less flood damages to repair
  • Furthering the City's sustainability and climate action goals'
Jerry Hancock Stormwater and Floodplain Programs Coordinator​ had led this effort for many years and will lead the Webinar. 

The ACWG has been promoting this option for many years.

A member of the ACWG was a charter member of, and on the Environmental Commission, who pushed for this plan and got it supported by the EC many years ago. This proposal is long overdue and will protect the residents and businesses, and the environment from major storms coming with Global Warming.

Unfortunately, the past city council and current mayor defeated in 2015 a previous effort and, they went on to support over 110 new homes in a very dubious Floodplains in the city of Ann Arbor. One of these council members, who was not reelected, did not even know they were supporting so many new homes in the floodplain when the ACWG asked him a year later how he could justify his vote.

Many communities forbid building in floodplains,  President Obama virtually forbid using federal Tax Dollars for building in the floodplain.

Ann Arbor should forbid building in the floodplains and work to remove homes currently in the floodplain, not support more homes and affordable housing in the floodplains. All the predictions of Global Warming and much heavier rain events, this is the most prudent way forward.

UPDATE From Jerry Hancock, Stormwater and Floodplain Programs Coordinator on flooding at the Y and 415 site:*
The obstructions at the YMCA site were included on the MDEQ permit and were in place when the study was done for the 2012 FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM). The YMCA floodway obstruction's impact on 415 W. Washington St. is already taken into account on the current FIRM.

Just to note the FIRM raw data used for maps is basically 1968 flood data, from the 100 year (1% chance) flood of that year and as such is not up to date.  Consultant/Planners hired for the YMCA site plans thought the FIRM maps were based on 1992 data because the maps had a 1992 printing date. ACWG corrected that statement, even though the planner would not agree during a meeting on this issue. He said he would get back to us but never did.

As was noted earlier in the most recent Agenda entry, the Smith Group Planner currently working on the 415 W. Washington site stated the the YMCA building would never get approved today by the EGLE, former MDEQ. 

Bloomberg News Warns Unsuspecting Americans, That Flooding Is Much Worse Than FEMA Reports, Check For Yourself
 
 Bloomberg News(rt click for larger)

Millions of Americans just woke up in a flood zone that had never before been listed on U.S. government maps."

Look up the real flood risk for your address here!

"The first-ever public evaluation of flood risk for every property in the 48 contiguous states has found that federal maps underestimate the number of homes and businesses in significant danger by 67%. The  new flood-risk data, released Monday by the research and technology nonprofit First Street Foundation, is a virtually unprecedented disclosure of how much damage climate change can be expected to inflict at the level of individual homes.


First Street’s model gives homeowners access to risk-analysis techniques that had previously been available to insurers and financiers. (Look up your address here.) Until now public information on flood vulnerability in the U.S. relied heavily on maps produced by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which are often  out of date, incomplete, and difficult to understand." (bold by us)

Use the links to search your street and see the current First Street Foundation flood risk, normally not available to the public but that has now changed.

Links:
  Look up your address here.
  First Street Foundation's  https://floodfactor.com/

 
First Street Foundation's Flood Factor Extreme Rain Events Flood Rating for Ann Arbor Area, Much Heavier Rains and Flood Risks Projected
First Street Foundation's Flood Factor Flood Rating (First Street, rt click for larger)

"The First Street Foundation Flood Model is a nationwide, probabilistic flood model that shows any location’s risk of flooding from rain, rivers, tides, and storm surge. It builds off of decades of peer-reviewed research and forecasts how flood risks will change over time due to changes in the environment." (bold by us)

Ann Arbor and SEM, with all their flood enhancing impervious surfaces, especially need to adjust to Global Warming's effects on rainfall amounts and flood hazard, not hope "it will all go away" like our President continually pontificates.

Our city leaders have an obligation to ask the tough questions and make decisions that protect life, health and property to the best ability available.

Below is an example of First Street's model for dramatic increasing FLOOD RISK for, proposed "Affordable Housing" at:

415 W. Washington,  Ann Arbor MI:

Michigan has had the greatest perception levels ever recorded last year in 2019.

Link: First Street Foundation's  https://floodfactor.com/


NYT 6-29-20: New Data Reveals Hidden Flood Risk Across America


New York Times, Example Section of the Flood Risk Chart 6-20-20

New York Times (NYT) Article: New Data Reveals Hidden Flood Risk Across America:

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/06/29/climate/hidden-flood-risk-maps.html?action=click&module=News&pgtype=Homepage

Nearly twice as many properties may be susceptible to flood damage than previously thought, according to a new effort to map the danger.

Across much of the United States, the flood risk is far greater than government estimates show, new calculations suggest, exposing millions of people to a hidden threat — and one that will only grow as climate change worsens.

That new calculation, which takes into account sea-level rise, rainfall and flooding along smaller creeks not mapped federally, estimates that 14.6 million properties are at risk from what experts call a 100-year flood, far more than the 8.7 million properties shown on federal government flood maps. 

    Detroit, Mich. +20,455 more structures than FEMA show]

Federal flood maps, managed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, have long drawn concerns that they underestimate flood risk.

… FEMA’s maps aren’t designed to account for flooding caused by intense rainfall, a growing problem as the atmosphere warms.

Ms. Forbes [Ms. Forbes, a member of the Broward County Climate Change Task Force and a policy expert at the Natural Resources Defense Council] pointed out that black families tend to be more exposed to flooding because their homes are often built on cheaper land in historically segregated areas." (bold by us)

Ann Arbor needs to seriously heed these risks, especially for minority and lower-income residential housing.

Ann Arbor, especially, should not be putting minority and lower-income residents in and around floodplains.




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

Watershed Issues of Interest and Updates:

Correction of WRCO Request for Correction - Floodplain at 721 N. Main In Not Greatly Affected by Rail Road Tunnel Through the Berm as Stated by WRCO

Fig 5 - OHM Models for Berm Opening Floodplain Effects
(annotated in red by ACWG, click for larger)

Contrary to past posts with respect to a request for Corrections by the Water Resouces Commissioners Office (WRCO) the Floodplain at 721 N. Main is Not Greatly Affected by Rail Road Tunnel through the Berm according to a city report of recent flood modeling, by Consultants OHM, with proposed changes due to the Berm opening and comments to ACWG by city staff.

The report indicates a very slight decrease in the new proposed floodplain and no real change in the new proposed floodway both of which largely cover the entire 721 N Main city-owned site.

Development on this site is greatly ill-advised due to the inherent dangers and recent past and current policies adopted by the City of Ann Arbor to not develop the floodplain including the Flood Hazard Mitigation Plan and Allen's Creek Watershed Management Plan.

Greenway/Tree Line green open space with flood reductions and park space are clearly indicated and most environmentally and economically advised. Many communities in Michigan are adopting a Green Space Planning Agenda to reduce flood hazard and increase economically viable communities with open space incorporating paths and bikeways.

This site is directly on the proposed Greenway/Tree Line and as such is a natural location to create a part of the Greenway and trail system.

Report available from the city or ACWG upon request. 
Report: "Berm Floodplan effects ACRRB CLOMR Narrative FEMA (revised_reduced size no Appendix.PDF(sic)"*


Danaher/Pall/Gelman 1,4-Dioxane Plume - Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE)  Continues to Delay and Make Errors in Very Important Tests on the West Side Near West Park, For Some Reason

  

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


Again Coalition for the Remediation of Dioxane (CARD) commented at the last meeting that clearly delays in dealing with the Gelman Plume is a clear win for Gelman and a loss for the community, the environment and our economy.


West Park NSG Tests EGLE & City of Ann Arbor, MDEQ 9-19-18
(ACWG, click for larger) 

The city and EGLE have indicated that they would be willing to work with U of M faculty on Vapor Intrusion (VI) issues related to near-surface groundwater (NSG, also called shallow groundwater) contamination on the westside of the city. 

EGLE is delaying the NSG tests after commenting months ago they would have done additional testing and have results by now. CARD and ACWG members commented that these tests should have been done by now with no real comment for a reason for delays by EGLE.
 
A lab at U of M School of Public Health did tests near homes west of West Park and found no 1,4D near the surface. They are interested in validating their models of 1,4D VI into homes with 1,4D near the surface and are hoping to do additional tests here in Ann Arbor or elsewhere.

It was indicted to us by one of the original Gelman Plume activists that in the recent past there was 800 ppb in the lower aquafer at Wildwood Neighborhood, just 7 blocks away from West Park where 22 ppb was found in the last tested many months ago.
 
This from Dan Bicknell (Globel Environmental Alliance (GEA) and CARD member) to local officials recently in regards to NSG tests on the west side:
"As you may know from past GEA work, the most sensitive and likely areas for dioxane contaminated shallow groundwater to be in contact with basements is in the lower elevations of the West Park area (e.g., near Chapin Street). This is based upon: the general depth to dioxane contaminated shallow groundwater; the results of the 2019 DEQ-WRC Allen Creek Drain storm water sampling; the general topography; and the local shallow dioxane contaminated geologic unit indentified(sic) in the 2016 DEQ/Gelman Shallow Groundwater Report (Report). Attached are GEA Reports which discuss the 2019 Allen Creek Drain storm water sampling and the 2016 DEQ Shallow Groundwater Work Plan & Report."

"The City proposes to sample basements along Maple Ridge Street. Dioxane was not detected in the 2019 Allen Creek Drain storm water at the Maple Ridge sampling location (see first below figure), therefore, it is unlikely that the shallow dioxane plume is near the surface or basements in this area. Whereas, dioxane was detected in the 2019 Allen Creek Drain West Park and Chapin Street storm water sampling locations (17.3 ug/L and 9.1 ug/L respectively) indicating that dioxane contaminated shallow groundwater has infiltrated the storm water drain in this area. The 2019 storm water results demonstrate that there is a shallow dioxane plume near the surface and basements in the lower elevations of West Park and Chapin Street." (bold by us)

The city has still not involved stakeholders the Coalition for the Remediation of Dioxane (CARD) and ACWG on plans to test in the West Park area. The testing proposed will be of little value. Stakeholder involvement should be Job One at City Hall.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Links:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Washtenaw County CARD Site

See ACWG site pages EPA Superfund Option Details

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

 

With Discussions of Affordable Housing or ANY HOUSING at 415 W. Washington New Flood Modeling Must be Done
 
415 W. Washington Proposed Affordable Housing
in Floodway (click for larger)

 YMCA site with floodway obstructions shown in Red
(annotations in red and black ACWG, click for larger)
 
The floodplain and floodway delineations for this site are arguably outdated and inaccurate and unsafe to unsuspecting individuals.

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

This fencing and other obstructions were installed after the building was finished.

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

The Y lost the required FEMA Freeboard (open space 1' above the floodplain safety zone) in just  1.5 years after it was built, in a FEMA Letter of Map Revision (LoMR), and is out of state floodplain floodway compliance.

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

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

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


High Flows On Eight Street Drain Inlet Next to Slauson Middle School Needs to Be Tested for 1, 4 Dioxane
 
Location of High Flow in Storm Drain, Circled in Red
(ACWG, click for larger)
 
A street storm drain on 8th St. just east of Slauson Middle School has very high flows during very dry spells and, as is in West Park, should be tested for 1,4 Dioxane. These flows, like in West Park just a block to the southeast, are likely groundwater flows that are migrating into the drain and may be contaminated and therefore be tested. These flows could be coming from the same contaminated groundwater source as is in West Park.*

EGLE should include these tests with tests in West Park by easily sampling the flows in the drain through the street stormwater inlet grate.

This test, like the ones done in West Park, are simple, quick and important, and as such would be hard to deny the request. It would be much better to have permanent Near Surface Groundwater wells for testing but EGLE has denied the CARD and ACWG requests to install them at Gelman's expanse.*

Over the years this area has issues with high water table and, damp and wet basements.

ACWG will request that CARD join in a request that these tests be done by EGEL ASAP, during a dry period as is being done in West Park Allen's Creek.*

Link:
Washtenaw County CARD Site
 
 
EGLE, MEC - Now Common 500 Year Rains are Putting Stress on our Natural Systems and Our Ability to Deal With Them
 
An aerial view of the Sanford dam failure
(MI Advance; click for larger)
 
Sanford and Edenville Dams were destroyed in a 500-year flood event after an 8-inch rain event in 2 days hit the Midland MI area. This event estimated to have caused $200 Million in damage.

'Tom Zimnicki, program director of groundwater, surface water and agriculture at Michigan Environmental Council (MEC), added that “stress to critical infrastructure will only intensify as the effects of climate change are realized.”

"In just the last six years, EGLE has recorded several 500-year storm events on different river systems throughout Michigan. These extreme events largely exceed the state’s regulatory criteria for dams and could foreshadow future disasters." '
 
Links:




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

Watershed Issues of Interest and Updates:

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

  
  
      

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Links:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Washtenaw County CARD Site

See ACWG site pages EPA Superfund Option Details

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




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

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

      Public Meeting on Housing in the Floodplain at this site.

City notice of meeting (click for larger)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

               

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



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




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

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

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

Watershed Issues of Interest and Updates:

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Links:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Washtenaw County CARD Site

See ACWG site pages EPA Superfund Option Details

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

 

The City of Ann Arbor Does Full Cleanup of DTE Site At RR Berm Opening, DTE and Developer Not So Much Proposed For the Rest of Polluted DTE Site at Depot St and 841 Broadway St In the FW FP

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

The Working Session agenda includes presentations and discussion about:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


Ethel (Eppie) Potts  (The Ann Arbor Chronicle)

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

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

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



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


Watershed Issues of Interest and Updates:

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



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

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

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

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

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

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


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




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

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

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

Ann Arbor officials may have misled the public:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Links:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See ACWG site pages EPA Superfund Option Details

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


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

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




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

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

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

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

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

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

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


 Discussions of Development of Polluted DTE Site at Depot St and 841 Broadway St In the FW FP, Unlike the City Effort, No Real Cleanup Proposed, Like "Zombies Rising Up"


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




 

Proposed Agenda and Updates:

February 20, 2020


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

CARD Poster (CARD)

See details below in this date's Agenda entry.


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


The Public, local elected officials, Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) and EPA Officials had a discussion and a Question-Answer Session on January 16 on the options for designating the Danaher/Pall/Gelman 1,4-Dioxane plume a potential EPA Superfund site.

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Links:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See ACWG site pages EPA Superfund Option Details

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Local Public Hearing on MI Proposed PFAS in Drinking Water Rules

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

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

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

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

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

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

Links:

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

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


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

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

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

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

City of Ann Arbor Project Page  




January 2020 

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

Watershed Issues of Interest and Updates:


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


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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Links:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See ACWG site pages EPA Superfund Option Details

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 
NRDC, Aug. 2019 (Click for Larger)

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

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

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

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


Proposed Agenda and Updates:

December 19, 2019


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


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

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


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

  • January 16
  • Time/Location TBD

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

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

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

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

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

MI EGLE MS4 Regulation

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Links:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See ACWG site pages EPA Superfund Option Details

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


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

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

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


 William St. Protected Bike Lane Opens, Major Potential Connection to Tree Line/Greenway, and Benefits
 
William St. Protect Bike Lane Opening, wide-angle (ACWG, Click for Larger)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




Proposed Agenda and Updates:

November 21, 2019


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


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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Links:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See ACWG site pages EPA Superfund Option Details

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Meeting Times and Place:

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


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

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

 

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

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

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

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




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