Gelman Dioxane Contamination US-EPA Superfund Petition, October 2016


Update Febuary 1, 2017


Special Notice: The US - EPA Region 5 office has notified the petitioners on February 1, 2017 that a request to make the Gelman Plume a Superfund site is accepted, that the EPA will take the next steps and evaluate the site for Superfund designation - a Superfund Preliminary Assessment (PA). See Recent Agenda Items Page for Details.



Update Oct. 26, 2016:


Gelman Dioxane Contamination US-EPA Superfund Petition, October 2016  

    Click here to view and/or sign


Ann Arbor Charter Township, Scio Township, and the Sierra Club – Huron Valley Group have announced plans to jointly file a petition next month requesting the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) conduct a Preliminary Assessment for the Gelman Sciences, Inc. (Gelman) Site to become a federal USEPA Superfund Site. See Details below.

  • Ann Arbor Charter Township, Scio Township and the Sierra Club to File a Petition Requesting the Gelman Site Become Federal USEPA Superfund Site

  • The Ann Arbor Twp. and Scio Twp. recently voted to petition the US EPA for Superfund Status.

  • Congresswoman Debbie Dingell has also asked that the USEPA get involved in this cleanup effort.

  • The County Board voted unanimously in support of drafting a petition to EPA.

  • The CARD Group at its March '16 meeting voted in support of an EPA Superfund Petition, as part of CARD I voted in support.

  • The Allen's Creek Watershed Group also voted in support.

  • Scio Residents for Safe Water supports it.

  • Ann Arbor City Council has yet to take a position on a Federal USEPA Superfund request.




The Ann Arbor Charter Township, Scio Township and the Sierra Club Press Release states:


Press Release - Ann Arbor Charter Township, Scio Township and the Sierra Club to File a Petition Requesting the Gelman Site Become Federal USEPA Superfund Site

For Immediate Release:


October 26, 2016

Ann Arbor Charter Township, Scio Township and the Sierra Club to File a Petition Requesting the Gelman Site Become Federal USEPA Superfund Site

Ann Arbor, Mich. – Ann Arbor Charter Township, Scio Township, and the Sierra Club – Huron Valley Group have announced plans to jointly file a petition next month requesting the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) conduct a Preliminary Assessment for the Gelman Sciences, Inc. (Gelman) Site to become a federal USEPA Superfund Site.  The petition can be found at goo.gl/3yWwzB.

Wastewater disposal practices at the former Gelman plant located in Scio Township, near Ann Arbor, contaminated on-site and off-site groundwater with the known carcinogen 1,4-dioxane.  The dioxane groundwater plume, which currently is about four miles long and one mile wide, has polluted local lakes, creeks, residential drinking water wells, and a City of Ann Arbor municipal water supply well.

The Gelman Site is under a 1992 Consent Judgment between the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and Gelman Sciences, Inc.  However, the Petitioners believe that the court remedy and DEQ actions do not adequately protect public health.

“Local governments and community groups long have worked with the DEQ on remediation options for the Gelman Site and a dioxane cleanup standard that protects human health and is consistent with EPA policy.  Unfortunately, DEQ has not demonstrated the capability or willingness to obtain a protective remedy in court that places the burden for clean-up squarely on the potentially responsible party,”  said Michael Moran, Supervisor, Ann Arbor Charter Township.

The dioxane plume continues to migrate in all directions with no effective off-site hydraulic control.  Numerous Scio Township and Ann Arbor Charter Township private residential drinking water wells are down-gradient of the plume in  east, west and north directions.  The City of Ann Arbor’s main drinking water supply comes from the Huron River at Barton Pond, which potentially could be impacted as the dioxane plume expands.  A large portion of the off-site dioxane plume is greater than 1,000 ug/L, while the USEPA dioxane drinking water criterion is 0.35 ug/L (parts-per-billion) at a 1 in 1,000,000 excess lifetime cancer risk level..

“Many Scio Township drinking water wells have been contaminated with dioxane, yet the DEQ and the Consent Judgment allow the dioxane plume to expand towards many more Township wells.  USEPA can do a better job of clean-up than the DEQ. ” said Spaulding Clark, Supervisor – Scio Township.  The group believes that the USEPA cleanup will be superior to the DEQ approach as USEPA will restore the polluted aquifer to a drinking water criterion, provide a Contingency Plan for Barton Pond, provide alternative potable water supplies now to potentially impact homes, and utilize a scientifically sound drinking water criterion.

The Gelman Site today is owned by PALL Life Sciences, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Danaher Corporation, and there are no active plant operations.  Historically, the plant manufactured filter devices and used dioxane as a solvent.  It is estimated that 800,000 pounds of dioxane was used between 1966 and 1986 with most being discharged to soil, surface water, and groundwater through seepage lagoons, land spray irrigation, and direct discharges at the site.  

“The Sierra Club believes as in Flint, Michigan that due to lax DEQ enforcement, the USEPA is required to assist the local community with this large groundwater contamination which presents an imminent and substantial endangerment to public health and the environment.” said Nancy Shiffler - Sierra Club – Huron Valley Group – Chair.

The group will provide an opportunity for City of Ann Arbor, Ann Arbor Charter Township, and Scio Township residents that may be affected by the dioxane release from the Gelman Site to support their petition by electronically signing a supporting document.  The supporting document can be found at goo.gl/QyhFJz-.

CONTACT:

Michael Moran - Ann Arbor Charter Township – Supervisor – 734-663-3418

M. Jack Knowles - Scio Township – Supervisor – 734-369-9400

Nancy Shiffler -Sierra Club – Huron Valley Group – Chair