Older Agenda and Updates Page





Proposed Agenda: 

April 21, 2016

State Representative Jeff Irwin Town Hall with MDEQ Director Keith Creagh Regarding the Pall/Gelman 1,4-Dioxane Contamination was on April 18



Gelman Sciences

Image result for flint mi


Michigan Water Crisis


  • MDEQ has reiterated the proposed changes in the 1,4 Dioxane groundwater cleanup standard and drinking water standard down to 7.2 ppb from the current 85 ppb to be more in line with the standard EPA is proposing at 3.5 ppb, as described in a recent MLive article. This MDEQ change will need to work its way through the State process for formal adoption which could take up to a year or more, including the State Office of Regulatory Reinvention considered one of the agencies involved in the Flint Water Crisis.

  • MDEQ may use the 7.2 ppb for wells in the area of the plume, before the new standard is formally adopted. Homeowners and businesses have recently had clean water brought to their locations with wells well below 85 ppb.

  • US EPA is currently proposing* a drinking water standard of 3.5 ppb for 1 in 100k cancer risk and .35 ppb for 1 in 1M risk. Ann Arbor uses the 1 in 1M risk standard as did MI till early 90's when John Engler change it to 1 in 100k, EPA's standard is yet to be finalized. If adopted it will become a national standard which MI will be required to use.

  • About 300 or more attendees at the Town Hall Meeting, standing room only and some out the door in the halls, 20 or so questions asked before time ran out.

  • MDEQ has agreed to do ongoing tests of groundwater that is at the surface or in basements and test the Allen's Creek upstream of the outlet into the Huron River. They would like to obtain the locations of Seeps in the near west side for testing as well as close in west side homes with groundwater problems. Contact Jennifer Lawson - Water Resources Manager at City of Ann Arbor jlawson@a2gov.org

  • The ACWG has asked for years that the DEQ communicate the level of hazard related to basement exposures due to confined space and direct contact from contaminated water. This could be up to 2,800 ppb currently allowed by state standards. Still have not received that information although again they said they will present findings at a later date.

  • Dr. Larry Lemke - an Ann Arbor west side resident, geologist Associate Professor at WSU and longtime follower of this plume himself and with WSU students - asked why we are lowering the drinking water standard to 7.2 ppb but not the 2,800 ppb allowed to flow through the city to the river. He did not feel this had valid reasoning and needs to be addressed. We also feel this standard must be brought in line with the lower 7.2 standard.

  • One point I made the Town Hall Meeting on this Contamination, is what happens when and if the groundwater that is in many wet basements on the west side, especially as you get closer to the river, gets contaminated? One mile away from the river in West Park I witnessed regularly this winter, while biking the area, what seems to be groundwater flowing out of the hillsides on the west side of the park, what are referred to as "Seeps". MDEQ drilled a well at the Park a some years ago for 1,4 Dioxane groundwater testing and it had to be plugged due to the ‘artesianing’ with very high water pressure shooting out of the new well.

  • After almost 10 years of asking about wet basement exposures MDEQ at the last CARD meeting ask for the city to put together a map or maps of wet basements in the west side of the city as they now are concerned about exposure and management of this water. If above 7.2 ppb or the new standard who will be responsible for cleaning it up before it is dumped into the Allen's Creek. Anything over the standard could be considered illegal dumping. This compound, if accompanies groundwater into the basement, will evaporate with the water in confined space of basements so it may be a skin contact issue as well as an inhalation issue to worry about, if the plume is still allowed to flow to the Huron River under the city.

  • When the Ann Arbor City Apartments, at 1st and Washington on the west side, were about to have groundbreaking around 2012 the ACWG and CARD group asked who will deal with the lower level parking area below the water table, with potential leaks, if it gets contaminated. A Stop Work was issued by the planner and new plans drawn with the building pushed up a full story to avoid this issue, as the city owns the parking area below the building. Homeowners don't have an easy option to elevate their homes in the same manner.

  • Neighbors did a wet basement map for the Glendale about 5 block area and found over half the homes had water issues, see past Agenda Items for details. It was a door to door survey. The map was to show the city how bad the flooding problems are in the area. A new shallow basement was dug last year in the area and promptly completely filled to about 4 feet with groundwater. Not sure we have any similar maps for the rest of the west side.

  • Over the past few months there has been discussion by Coalition for Action on Remediation of Dioxane (CARD) of the option to propose the Pall/Gelman 1,4-Dioxane contamination be turned into a EPA Superfund Site. This discussion includes public officials and government staff. CARD group has indicated a general support for this option at the March meeting. See the information regarding Pall/Gelman Superfund Site Option in the past month's Agenda Items. This information was created by Dan Bicknell with the help of Roger Rayle, both CARD members, and in general the CARD group.

  • With the problems of the MDEQ causing and handling of the Flint drinking water crisis it seems more important than ever to be proactive in protecting the drinking water of Ann Arbor and our environment.

  • The ACWG as part of CARD supports the Superfund option discussion and what will be a request.

  • Ann Arbor unanimously approved petitioning for Superfund with the other government bodies earlier this month.

  • A new judge will be assigned the Gelman Plume case, former judge in charge Judge Shelton has retired, but it may not remain there with an EPA Superfund Option or a push to have MDEQ retake full control of the 'pollution management'.



City of Ann Arbor is Allowing the Development of the Allen's Creek Floodway and Floodplain, Changes Needed With Regard to Flood Hazard and the Threat to Life, Health and Property


And the Loss of Potential Greenway Space Planned in the Floodway and Floodplain Subject of a Master Plan Effort of Ann Arbor that is About to Start  


ACGC


Several developments have recently been approved and many more in the pipeline that are developing the floodway and floodplain with businesses and homes, with real issues related to the flood hazard that will be faced by the owners and the community.


Developing the floodplain and floodway not only affect the new owners but also put those up stream at greater risk of flooding, life, health and property loss. Loss in our City Tax Base of existing now newly flood prone homes and businesses who are our known, long term, reliable and valued city tax payers, some properties who have payed city taxes for well over 100 years.


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


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



From sections of the Report (click above link to see the full document):


"Add a 15 to 20 % safety factor to stormwater management requirements – In addition to adopting the 2012 NOAA Atlas 14 precipitation frequency estimates, counties and communities could add a 15 to 20 percent safety factor to rain event sizes.


Regulate to the 0.2% (500 year flood not just 100 year) annual chance event. Based on the current NOAA precipitation estimates the 0.2% event is approximately 30% larger than the 1% event. As climate change continues the 1% event will increase and at some point equal the current 0.2% event.


NOAA’s Hydrometeorological Design Studies Center has updated precipitation frequency estimates (with 90% confidence intervals) for Michigan in Volume 8 of NOAA Atlas 141. This analysis, released in 2013, incorporates precipitation data through 2011 and utilizes more data from more weather stations than previous efforts. Event storms have changed in magnitude with implications for stormwater management. The Atlas is now the official U.S. Government source of precipitation frequency estimates.


Total Precipitation Increased by 44% in Ann Arbor since the 1950’s [with very large increases in urban development and associated imperviousness].


Heavy storms have become stronger and more frequent throughout the region. Larger storms have grown faster than total precipitation, meaning more precipitation is concentrated in heavier events.


Heavy and extreme precipitation events have become dramatically more frequent in the Great Lakes region. The amount of precipitation falling in the most intense 1% of precipitation events increased by 37% in the Midwest and 71% in the Northeast from 1958 through 2012"

(bold and underline by us)


  • The federal government now virtually forbids any federal funds use in the 500 year floodplain in the US for critical structures and any structures in the 100 year floodplain. How can Ann Arbor use much lower standards then the Federal Government, is a major question yet to be answered.

  • The ACWG has been a leader for over 23 years pushing for Green solutions not Gray to reduce runoff and pollution loading to receiving waters. For example we were the first to champion rain barrel and rain garden use and fee reductions for, use of bio swales next to roadways, porous pavement for allies and roads, The Green Streets Policy adopted by the city and lauded by MDEQ, footer disconnects for reductions of clean water flows to the treatment plant causing sewer overflows into the Huron River and basement backups of sewage mixed with clean rain water, permanent rain and flow gauges to help model flood hazard and promote easier and less costly infrastructure maintenance, Allen’s Creek Greenway Planning for reduce flood hazard and improved park and alternative transportation. We pushed for 1 1/2 years a few years ago to get the Beal Building in the floodway to restore its swing up fences in the floodway which only was fixed when the DEQ came to town and sited the cityfor lax flood hazard enforcement (we found the violation during a AC Greenway Tour!).

  • Flow Reductions can help with flood mitigation but by only so much with rain fall changes due to Global Warming in Ann Arbor.

  • When we develop our floodplains and floodways we are having very large impacts on our community’s life, health, safety and welfare and degrading our environmental status as well.  

  • Developing the floodplain takes away from the Greenway Master Plan options of setting aside these lands to reduce long term flood hazard and create near downtown park space, alternative transportation and festival site options. Why spend time and energy on a Master Plan if there will be little options left for a meaningful Greenway. Many Michigan communities and others have set aside their floodplains for park space to great effect, reducing flood hazard and reducing the floodplain in upstream portions of the community. The ACWG is part of the Greenway Master Plan CAC.

  • The consultants hired to lead the FEMA digital remap of the FEMA Floodplain Maps nationally at StanTec, told us at a public meeting for the new maps a few years ago, Ann Arbor should do what we did in Lexington KY: we did our own modeling, redrew the 1% chance (100 year) floodplain maps (which were much larger than the official maps) submitted them and accepted by FEMA, and disallow all development in the floodplain and we are clearly saving money, life, health and property in the long run with tremendous flood hazard reductions and flood insurance rates for our businesses and residents.

  • Kalamazoo recently took their dilapidated flood prone section of town and made the Arcadia Creek Greenway Park: no flooding now, $12M a year in festival receipts and fees, tax base rise by 400% in first few years, with new bank headquarters and museum built just next to the greenway... and no more flooding in their downtown well beyond a 500 year rain event and was spearheaded by their DDA

  • As MIT Professor Anne Whiston Spirn, Professor of Landscape Architecture and designer of several Greenways in floodplains in major cities, states in her landmark book Language of Landscape and spoke about this at U of M a few years ago: buildings in floodplains don't become slums because of the folks that live or work there, they become slums because flooding is incompatible with good urban planning, and human health and safety.

  • And yes again this report is from the HRWC not considered a fringe planning group by any means. And we thank them for putting this very useful report together and posting it. We have copies of studies from UM Pellston Labs, US-EPA and UCS that support these findings for MI and SEM.

  • The ACWG supports recommendations presented in this report.

  • Link to HRWC Report





Proposed Agenda: 

March 17, 2016


State Representative Jeff Irwan to have Town Hall with MDEQ Director Keith Creagh Regarding the Pall/Gelman 1,4-Dioxane Contamination - April 18, Eberwhite School;

MDEQ Sets New Proposed Standard for Compound at 7.2 ppb from the Current 85 ppb




  • MDEQ has proposed changes in the 1,4 Dioxane groundwater cleanup standard and drinking water standard down to 7.2 ppb from the current 85 ppb to be more in line with the standard EPA is proposing at 3.5 ppb, as described in a recent MLive article. This MDEQ change will need to work its way through the State process for formal adoption which could take up to a year or more, including the State Office of Regulatory Reinvention considered one of the agencies involved in the Flint Water Crisis.
  • MDEQ may use the 7.2 ppb for wells in the area of the plume, before the new standard is formally adopted. Homeowners and businesses have recently had clean water brought to their locations with wells well below 85 ppb.
  • MDEQ Director Keith Creagh will take part in a Town Hall meeting April 18th that is hosted by state Representative Jeff Irwin, D-Ann Arbor:
    • 6 p.m., April 18
    • Eberwhite Elementary School, 800 Soule Blvd.
  • Glad to see some movement on the way out of wack standard MI has had since John Engler. Still not the proposed EPA standard but it is over an order of magnitude below the wholly unjustified current standard.
  • No more homes using contaminated water should be the rule not the exception. Real Pure Drinking Water in Michigan should be as important as the Pure Michigan slogan.
  • One point I made at the recent City Council Working Session on this Contamination, with the MDEQ in attendance, is what happens when and if the groundwater that is in many wet basements on the west side, especially as you get closer to the river, gets contaminated? One mile away from the river in West Park I witnessed regularly this winter, while biking the area, what seems to be groundwater flowing out of the hillsides on the west side of the park. MDEQ drilled a well at the Park a some years ago for 1,4 Dioxane groundwater testing and it had to be plugged due to the artesianing with very high water pressure shooting out of the new well.
  • After almost 10 years of asking about wet basement exposures MDEQ at the last CARD meeting ask for the city to put together a map or maps of wet basements in the west side of the city as they now are concerned about exposure and management of this water. If above 7.2 ppb or the new standard who will be responsible for cleaning it up before it is dumped into the Allen's Creek. Anything over the standard could be considered illegal dumping. This compound, if accompanies groundwater into the basement, will evaporate with the water in confined space of basements so it may be a skin contact issue as well as an inhalation issue to worry about, if the plume is still allowed to flow to the Huron River under the city.
  • When the Ann Arbor City Apartments, at 1st and Washington on the west side, were about to have groundbreaking the ACWG and CARD group asked who will deal with the lower level parking area below the water table, with potential leaks, if it gets contaminated. A Stop Work was issued by planners and new plans drawn with the building pushed up a full story to avoid this issue, for the city as it owns the parking area below the building. Homeowners don't have an easy option to elevate their homes in the same manner.
  • Neighbors did a wet basement map for the Glendale about 5 block area and found over half the homes had water issues, see past Agenda Items for details. It was a door to door survey. The map was to show the city how bad the flooding problems are in the area. A new shallow basement was dug last year in the area and promptly completely filled to about 4 feet with groundwater. Not sure we have any similar maps for the rest of the west side.
  • The last CARD meeting March 10th, with 3 DEQ officials in attendance, did included discussion on MDEQ not acting on high readings in the southern section of the Prohibition Zone (PZ) that should trigger the redefinition of the PZ southward. This change in the PZ would likely include the North West Supply Well at Montgomery Ave and Bemidji Dr. something that will cause the city more problems as this would then not be a back up drinking water well in the event of a major spill on the Huron River up stream of Barton Pond. They have readings at or above 85 ppb at the edge of the southern PZ. Now MDEQ has said they will wait till they get two consecutive months at or above 85 ppb but the MDEQ is not doing split samples with Pall every month now but every quarter. So this trigger may be much harder to attain, without any court involvement in this change.
  • DEQ commented at the CARD meeting that the well readings are not directly on the PZ line and not having a well on the PZ line is something they considered but were not sure at what point on the line would satisfy public officials. They are now taking our comments into consideration. Lowering of the standard for the State will in all likelihood make this point moot.
  • Over the past few months there has been discussion by Coalition for Action on Remediation of Dioxane (CARD) of the option to propose the Pall/Gelman 1,4-Dioxane contamination be turned into a EPA Superfund Site. This discussion includes public officials and government staff. CARD group has indicated a general support for this option. See the information regarding Pall/Gelman Superfund Site Option in the past months Agenda Items. This information was created by Dan Bicknell with the help of Roger Rayle, both CARD members, and in general the CARD group.
  • With the problems of the MDEQ causing and handling of the Flint drinking water crisis it seems more important then ever to be proactive in protecting the drinking water of Ann Arbor and our environment.
  • The ACWG as part of CARD supports the Superfund option discussion and what will be a request.


Update: South Pond Village (correction) Development MDEQ Wetland Use Permit Hearing - Drain Easement Encroachment not Disclosed
 
NOAA
  • Update: An ACWG member has indicated that the Wetland Permit did not indicate that the proposed road to the north would encroach on a Stream (Drain) easement in their application or presentation as would normally be done. It is not clear if they will receive a variance as it was not made apparent there was a conflict at the public meeting.
  • Generally a new MDEQ Wetland Permit hearing for South Pond Village proposed development would be required and expected if not by the DEQ then by the City of Ann Arbor
  • The city is considering wetland mitigation in portions of the South Pond Village development proposals.
  • The ACWG spoke at the MDEQ Wetland Permit hearing South Pond Village proposed development, on 1-13-16 at Logan School, to build a road across a wetland. We should not be building roads over wetlands we should be preserving those few that we still have.
  • Seems that these sites are being overdeveloped given the comments heard at the public hearings including the MDEQ's, and the conflicts in land use.
  • Wetlands provide many valuable functions in a watershed: clean the water, slow and cool water flows to receiving bodies, reduce flooding, soak up rainfall, provide habitat and quiet diverse landscapes to enjoy. Communities that preserve and enhance wetlands receive great benefit from them, economic and environmental.




February 2016 No Meeting due to conflict with County Board Working Session on Gelman Groundwater Pollution on Feb. 18th.

 
 
Watershed Issues of Interest:  
 

County Board Working Session Meeting February 18 on Gelman 1, 4-Doxaine Pollution
 
 
  • The County Board will be having a Working Session on the Gelman 1,4-Dioxane Plume with Coalition for Action on Remediation of Dioxane (CARD).
  • As member of CARD the ACWG will be attending and making comment, answering any questions
  • Board Notice: "Thursday, February 18th Board of Commissioners Working Session discussion on the 1,4-Dioxane plume.  The session starts at 6:30p and is held in the Washtenaw County Administration Building at 220 N. Main Street in Ann Arbor.  Bob Wagner, the DEQ’s Remediation and Redevelopment Division (RRD) Chief, will be attending the session as well."
  • The CARD Group and the ACWG has been asking questions of the Pall/Gelman and the MDEQ for years without much satisfaction in the response.
    • No planning has occurred to deal with 1,4-Dioxane flows into the city and potentially into homes and businesses with the very high water table in the west side of town. With the EPA and DEQ expecting the new standard to be set at 8 to 3 ppb from the current 85 ppb for Michigan how will this effect homes if the ground water is contaminated and flows into confined spaces, ground water flows is common for westside basements. The Prohibition Zone (PZ) is to protect the public from exposure which this would violate even this weak Part 201 Rule.
    • By law Pall/Gelman were to model flows to the river and show the location of the venting into the river, this has not been presented. It is feared the plume will flow under the river and into the township with well water as their own source of drinking water.
    • The MDEQ has not acted on 85 ppb high readings in the southern section of the Prohibition Zone (PZ) that should trigger the redefinition of the PZ southward. This change in the PZ would likely include the North West Supply Well at Montgomery Ave and Bemidji Dr.
    • Modeling has not been done to shown the chance of the plume venting into Honey Creek which directly flows into Barton Pond up stream of Ann Arbor drinking water source.
    • This compound is now classified by EPA as a top 10 Pollution of Concern in the US due to the fact it is not only toxic but is very hard to control or clean up, and it is being found in many locations after all other compounds it is normally associated with, are cleaned up (it is a common stabilizer in solvents), it is the last and one of the hardest to deal with.
    • The Attorney Generals Office has done a horrible job in and out of court representing the community. One of its lawyers was so poorly prepared and/or didn't care that Judge Shelton asked her to step aside in a court hearing and asked the non-lawyer DEQ representative to make the case for the community. They interact very little with the CARD group to gain information pertaining to the contamination.
    • The DEQ and the community asked to have Pall install a number of new detection wells just outside the northern PZ area, just expanded due to unexpected plume movements, which Judge Shelton would not support.
    • New cleanup plans will need to be made with the expected dramatically lower EPA standard, even with the very weak Part 201 Rules, which have not been communicated to the public.

City Council will also have a Working Session on the Pall/Gelman 1,4-Dioxane Contamination Next Monday Night Feb. 29th





Video of Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha Talk at U-M SPH, February 3, 2016



Flint Water Crisis  Image result for flint mi


  • Hurley Pediatrics Program Director Mona Hanna-Attisha MD MPH a pediatrician in Flint, Michigan
  • U of M graduate with BS from LSA and MPH from the School of Public Health, and MD from MSU Medical School
  • See link below.
  • From SPH site: "In a 35-minute presentation, Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha describes the background to the Flint water crisis, its health effects, and proposed next steps. A Q&A follows the talk. The event was attended by 500 people in the main SPH auditorium and four overflow rooms.
  • View the link below to see Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha's accompanying slideshow presentation from the event
  • Special thanks to Dr. Rita Loch-Caruso, Dr. Sung Kyun Park, and the Lifestage Environmental Exposures and Disease Center for hosting the event." 
  • This may have been the largest speaker’s event in the history of SPH.
  • The discussion and questions taken from students, facility, staff and the public goes in depth as to why she and her team at Hurley Health Systems Hospital in Flint went over the heads of the Governor's Office, Department of Health and MDEQ to sound the alarm of the Lead Poising of the drinking water in the city of Flint for over a year without regard to the health hazards to the public and, especially the children.
  • When they ignored her pleas for action she quickly scheduled a press conference and announced their shocking findings of children's lead positioning, from the city tap water, to the press which lead to a Fire Storm of Questions and Concerns that lead all the way to Washington DC - EPA, CDC, Surgeon General, Capital Hill and the White House.
  • She has since appeared at Hearings on the Flint Water Crisis before the US Congress.
  • Additionally it has been found that a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak that killed 10 people so far may be due to contaminated tap water, as is now suspected.
  • Link to U of M SPH  Video  of Dr Mona Hanna-Attisha's talk
Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha speaks at U-M SPH, February 3, 2016  "Flint Drinking Water Crisis: Background and Next Steps"



Pollution Woes Scaring Off Prospective Businesses and Job Seekers, CNN Money Reports



From CNN Money, February 14, 2016  :

  • 'Is the water contaminated? Is the air toxic? If the answer is yes, corporate executives are saying "no thanks."
  • Edward Monser, the president of Emerson, said that top recruits are increasingly unlikely to accept postings in polluted cities.
  • "When we talk to new executives, and they go home and talk to their family, the first thing they want to understand is: Is the air and water going to be clean or not," Monser told CNN's Richard Quest on Sunday at the CNN Asia Business Forum in Mumbai.'
  • Link


Madison Green Street's Rain Gardens to be Installed This Spring

 

Miller Ave Rain Garden just after Installation - EWashtenaw.Org

 

  • The city will be installing the long awaited Rain Gardens on Madison Green Street Policy with some city funds and hopefully help from residents. The ACWG plans to be of assistance.
  • Madison did have installed large infiltration beds under the street in the upper quarter stretch of the street. It has been shown these streets are longer lived and less costly than conventional streets.
  • Most of the funds set aside for the original plan were no longer available as the plans did not fit the available locations. The original plans were from the Miller install and were not as adaptable as thought during planning. The design has been changed and new funds will be use. Residents will be asked if they could help install the gardens. 
  • The Rain Garden sites are not optimal by some standards but do allow some installation of plants to help in the infiltration and cleansing of runoff rain water making very usable rain gardens.
  • Announcement of the planting date in early May will be forthcoming from the city's Fresh Rain Water (Stormwater) management staff.
  • Glad to see this development for the watershed and the significant improvement of the aesthetics of the neighborhood. As in other communities the result will be well worth the effort for many years to come.
  • The city has found Rain Gardens require more attention than previously thought, and will need to determine how best to manage this upkeep on a long term basis. Additional specialist in Rain Garden planning and management is/are being considered for addition to the city staff.
  • Many communities have found the use of Soft Solutions like Rain Gardens are much less costly and more effective in the long run in the management of Fresh Rain Water (stormwater) and flood hazard mitigation.
  • Contact:  Jennifer Lawson - Water Resources Manager at City of Ann Arbor jlawson@a2gov.org




Proposed Agenda: 

January 21, 2016


South Pond Village (correction) Development MDEQ Wetland Use Permit Hearing

NOAA

  • The city is considering wetland mitigation in portions of the South Pond Village development proposals.
  • The ACWG spoke at the MDEQ Wetland Permit hearing South Pond Village proposed development, on 1-13-16 at Logan School, to build a road across a wetland; comments and background:
  • Seems that these sites are being overdeveloped given the comments heard at the public hearings including the MDEQ's, and the conflicts in land use.

    Lawton had homes built in and near old wetlands and creek-beds, when checking overlaid 1940 Arial photo over existing home locations, and we are paying a huge price in tax base undermining, pain and suffering, quality of life for this community and cost to community to try to fix this very costly mistake.

    The Lawton neighborhood is facing major flood hazards and the city is currently being sued basically for this poor planning. Lawton received a historic Ann Arbor record 5-6” rain event on March 15, 2012 causing major flooding of homes and property. Ann Arbor had a record snow fall total in the winter of 2013-14. The South Pond Village developments will face some of the same issues in years to come due to Global Warming. We need to learn from past mistakes.


    In 2014 400K people in the Toledo area without water for 3 days due to dangerous water quality from record setting algae blooms. Cleveland also was forced to close its water intake pipes due to the algae blooms.

    35M people depend on Lake Erie water in the US and Canada.

    Federal government has in 2016 appropriated over $300M for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Act. A large portion of these funds will be used to restore and create wetlands and create vegetation buffers. $17.5 M Federal funds are being awarded to cleanup farms along the Lake Erie basin, $15M to clean up runoff form the Black River Area flowing into Lake Erie. In 2015 the EPA issued over $17M in grants to study runoff effects on Lake Erie causing the record algae blooms.


    We in SEM are receiving some of these state and federal funds and yet we are removing wetlands from the Lake Erie watershed, to its detriment and counter to local, state and federal initiatives and, large amount of tax dollars being spend.


    Federal Government forbids use of federal funds on any critical developments in the 500 year floodplain now, up from the previous 100 year floodplain and, practically forbids funds use for any structure in 100 year floodplain. Critical developments are ones that cannot tolerate any flooding even minor flooding. This restriction is due to changes caused by Global Warming with regards to more intense record breaking storm events with higher rainfall amounts and sea level rise. More historic flooding is predicted SEM.


    Ann Arbor has a Natural Features Ordnance that protects wetlands and steep slopes among other things.


    The ACWG was very involved in the original City wide FDD discussion and selection process, and was on the FDD Revisit CAC and see the problems poor planning leaves behind for the city to deal with months and years later.


    Wetlands provide many valuable functions in a watershed: clean the water, slow and cool water flows to receiving bodies, reduce flooding, soak up rainfall, provide habitat and quiet diverse landscapes to enjoy. Communities that preserve and enhance wetlands receive great benefit from them, economic and environmental.



Update: An ACWG member has indicated that the Wetland Permit did not indicate that the proposed road would encroach on a Stream (Drain) easement in their application or presentation as would normally be done. It is not clear if they will receive a variance as it was not made apparent there was a conflict at the public meeting.




CARD Discussion of the Option to have the Pall/Gelman 1,4-Dioxane Contamination Become a US EPA Superfund Site





Over the past few months there has been discussion by Coalition for Action on Remediation of Dioxane (CARD) of the option to propose the Pall/Gelman 1,4-Dioxane contamination be turned into a EPA Superfund Site. This discussion includes public officials and government staff. CARD group has indicated a general support for this option. See the information regarding Pall/Gelman Superfund Site Option below. This information was created by Dan Bicknell with the help of Roger Rayle, both CARD members, and in general the CARD group. Dan Bicknell was the student who discovered the 1,4-Dioxane in Sisters Lake as a Masters student at UM SPH and lived near by. He has gone on be EPA Region 5 health effects staffer among other things and now his own SE Michigan consulting firm Global Environment Alliance, LLC.


Also, MDEQ has not acted on high readings in the southern section of the Prohibition Zone (PZ) that should trigger the redefinition of the PZ southward. This change in the PZ would likely include the North West Supply Well at Montgomery Ave and Bemidji Dr. something that will cause the city more problems as this may cause the well to be a unavailable as back up drinking water well in the event of a major spill on the Huron River up stream of Barton Pond. They have readings at or above 85 ppb at the edge of the southern PZ. Now MDEQ has said they will wait till they get two consecutive months at or above 85 ppb but the MDEQ is not doing split samples with Pall every month now but every quarter. So this trigger may be much harder or impossible to attain without any court involvement in this change.


The Northern PZ has already been enlarged by the Court to the north in 2011.


The MDEQ is also not using the best available technology (BAT) in monitoring the site, because the state’s '85 ppb standard does not require it'. 


Yet the US EPA is using 3.5 and .3 ppb in other parts of the US as a drinking water cleanup standard. The US EPA it would seem will be moving toward setting a national drinking water standard based on new studies and modeling to 3.5 ppb for 1 in 100,000 cancer risk and .35 ppb for 1 in M in the next few years. In years past Michigan had used the 1 in M standard but is now using the 1 in 100,000 cancer risk standard.


With the problems of the MDEQ causing and handling of the Flint drinking water crisis it seems more important then ever to be proactive in protecting the drinking water of Ann Arbor and our environment.

 

The ACWG as part of CARD supports the Superfund option discussion and what will be a request.


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



Pall/Gelman Superfund Site Option:


Daniel J. Bicknell, MPH

G l o b a l

E n v i r o n m e n t

A l l i a n c e , L L C


Gelman Sciences, Inc – USEPA Superfund Site


How Sites are Placed on the National Priorities List


Sites are first proposed to the National Priorities List (NPL) in the Federal Register. NPL Sites are commonly called Superfund Sites. EPA then accepts public comments on the sites, responds to the comments, and places on the NPL those sites that continue to meet the requirements for listing.


Section 300.425(c) of the NCP, the Federal regulation by which CERCLA is implemented (55 FR 8845, March 8, 1990), provides three mechanisms for placing sites on the NPL:

    • The first mechanism is EPA's Hazard Ranking System (HRS).
    • The second mechanism for placing sites on the NPL allows States or Territories to designate one top-priority site regardless of score.
    • The third mechanism allows listing a site if it meets all three of these requirements:
    • The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) of the U.S. Public Health Service has issued a health advisory that recommends removing people from the site;
    • EPA determines the site poses a significant threat to public health; and
    • EPA anticipates it will be more cost-effective to use its remedial authority (available only at NPL sites) than to use its emergency removal authority to respond to the site.







Proposed Agenda: 

December 17, 2015

Allen('s) Creek Greenway Master Planning Proposed to Start Next Month

ACGC

  • The start of the Greenway Master Plan will start next month

  • We are glad the ACWG was included in this effort as a stakeholder, I volunteered to be in the Citizen Advisory Committee (CAC) which will take just under two years to complete.

  • The ACG has great potential for the city and the environment. New developments have been approved and proposed in the floodplain (and potentially the floodway with a meaningful map of the floodplain and floodway) and the utmost caution must be used when planning in and around this natural feature.

  • The ACWG plans to work hard with the city residents, the Allen Creek Greenway Conservancy (ACGC) and the city to create the best and most cost effective Greenway possible.

  • A Greenway in the Allen's Creek floodplain will greatly reduce flood hazard to hundreds of homes and businesses in the west side, will create a open gathering green space in the near downtown, connect to the Huron River and Border to Border Trail, provide alternative transportation to and from the downtown and river, provide festival sites for events, arts display locations and many other amenities that will be enjoyed for generations to come.

  • The tunnel under the railroad berm is being discussed as a connector for the ACGW to the Huron River park space and, connect the Border to Border Trail which the Michigan Dept. of Transportation (owner of the track) has indicated is a high priority and is listed as #1 in the current Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) under review.



615 S. Main Six Story 229 Apartment and Mixed Use Proposal



615 S. Main Development Area in Red (ACWG, City of Ann Arbor Floodplain map)

Allen's Creek Floodplain in Green, Floodway in Blue; Rightclick for larger Image


  • The ACWG attended the Public Meeting on 12-09-15

  • We presented the city map with the Floodplain and Floodway next to the proposed site and were interested in how the proposal would deal with the floodplain in or very close to the building and parking.

  • The developer's representative commented that we not only did not have the 1% chance (100 year) floodplain map, he said it was the 500 year map, and that we needed to be using the County map for reference.

  • We discussed this with city staff and were told we were right and that they were not correct. It was the 1% chance map and the county and city maps were the same that is presented on a joint web site.

  • Unfortunately this lead to misunderstanding in the meeting that should not have occurred.

  • Residents will be asking for another Public Meeting to clear up these and other issues.

  • The developer did have a Letter of Map Amendment for the Floodplain to the east of the site that showed the floodplain is just off the site.

  • Flooding is said by businesses to occur in the current businesses on site.

  • The floodplain is just below this very flat area near the floodplain.

  • Parking is proposed below the building, only one level is proposed as the water table is just 12' below the surface.

  • Parking of up to 500 cars will need to find parking outside the development, mainly in the Old West Side residential area.

  • This proposal seems out of scale for the site, dangerously close to the floodplain with potentially flood prone below ground parking.

  • With SEM Global Warming effects we should not be building in and around our floodplains as we are expecting much larger rainfall events in the near term years to come and more flooding than historically experienced.



City Following Porous Pavement Trial Projects in the City, Handles up to 1,300 Inches an Hour



Porous pavement on Beach Road, Lake George, N.Y.

Lake George NY Porous Asphalt Road Install  (National Geographic Voices)


  • Examples of some of the current data gathered by city staff show amount of rain the installed pavement can absorb:

    • UofM's Fuller Rd Parking Lot: up to 1,300"/hr

    • Sylvan St. (accidentally sanded in winter and vacuumed): 15"/hr

  • Ann Arbor needs to use more porous pavement as a cost effective alternative to conventional pavement to reduce flood hazard and pollution loading to the Huron River and Lake Erie. Some communities install porous just for the quiet it provides with 70-80% reduction in road noise. Ann Arbor City Hall has used porous pavers in its parking lot and walkways to great effect.

  • A recent Michigan State Extension publication has recommendations for its use in Michigan as a low-impact design.

    • 'Porous pavement: A not-so-new low-impact design technique'

    • 'That childhood saying “when it rains, it pours” may be getting an update to “when it rains, its porous.” Using low-impact design techniques can reduce stormwater runoff and protect local water resources.

    • According to Michigan State University Extension,some benefits of using porous pavement in developed areas are reduced run off into local waterways, increased base flows of waterways, less pollution of local water resources, increased groundwater recharge, reduced flooding and less land needed for detention ponds.

    • The initial cost of porous pavement is usually higher than traditional asphalt but when the cost of land for detention ponds needed in traditional pavement is factored in, porous pavement can be significantly less. Longevity of porous pavement when properly constructed and maintained can be twenty years or more.'

    • (Bold by us)

    • Link to article



Nixon Road Development Wetland Mitigation: MDEQ - Wetland Mitigation Does not Work


NOAA


  • The city is considering wetland mitigation in portions of the Nixon Road development proposals.

  • We have found that building in wetlands is a dangerous proposal with the effects we are seeing in the Lawton area. This area of homes has experienced high water table, stormwater flooding and, combined sewage and stormwater flooding. Many of these homes were built in old creek beds and wetlands.

  • These homeowners are currently suing the city for issues related to this poor planning decision.

  • From a recent MLUI article 'Guess What! Fake Wetlands Don't Work':

    • 'According to a remarkably candid internal audit, however, the Department of Environmental Quality says artificial wetlands don’t work and the state program for overseeing them is a mess.

    • The internal audit, by DEQ water quality specialist Robert Zibciak, revealed how far Michigan’s wetland protection program has strayed from its mission of keeping Michigan’s wetlands — nature’s kidneys — functioning.'

  • Link to the MLUI article: Guess What! Fake Wetlands Don't Work : Michigan Land ...

  • Wetlands provide many valuable functions in a watershed: clean the water, slow and cool water flows to receiving bodies, reduce flooding, soak up rainfall, provide habitat and quiet diverse landscapes to enjoy. Communities that preserve and enhance wetlands receive great benefit from them, economic and environmental.




November 2015 No Meeting due to conflict with Greenway Planning meeting


Watershed Issues of Interest


Allen('s) Creek Greenway Master Planning to Start This Thursday


ACGC 

  • A initial meeting of the Greenway Master Plan will occur this Thursday at the Ann Arbor Library staring at 6:30pm on the 19th.
  • We are glad the ACWG was included in this effort as a stake holder.
  • The ACG has great potential for the city and the environment. New developments have been approved and proposed in the floodplain (and potentially the floodway with a meaningful map of the floodplain and floodway) and the utmost caution must be used when planning in and around this natural feature.
  • Stormwater Model Calibration and Analysis Project (SWMCA) and Stormwater Advisory Group (SWAG) outcomes need to be implemented as part of this planning effort.
  • The city paid well over $2M for a city wide stormwater study SWMCA and SWAG, that was recently finished, and we need to use the models and data collected (large amount of the data was collected by residents) to do better planning. City staff were trained to use the new models and data to get a better understanding of the Flood Hazard facing residents and businesses especially in the Allen's Creek Watershed and we need to start using the outcomes of these projects.
  • Before we build more in the floodplain we need to act on this $2M study to the fullest.
  • The ACWG plans to work hard with the city residents, the Allen Creek Greenway Conservancy (ACGC) and the city to create the best and most cost effective Greenway possible.
  • A Greenway in the Allen's Creek floodplain will greatly reduce flood hazard to hundreds of homes and businesses in the west side, will create a open gathering green space in the near downtown, connect to the Huron River and Border to Border Trail, provide alternative transportation to and from the downtown and river, provide festival sites for events, arts display locations and many other amenities that will be enjoyed for generations to come.
  • The tunnel under the rail road berm is being discussed as a connector for the ACGW to the Huron River park space and, connect the Border to Border Trail which the Michigan Dept. of Transportation (owner of the track) has indicated is a high priority.
  • Link to Allen Creek Greenway Conservancy ACGC
  • The ACGC accepts contributions (501(c)(3) non profit) and maintains a web site and an email list of residents interested in the Greenway developments.


Floodplain Resolution Voted Down by Majority on City Council 



June 14, 2015 - Major Flooding on Mary St. - UofM Athletic Campus Area -

in Central Ann Arbor After Just Under 2" Rain


  • Council Members Jack Eaton and Jane Lumm had brought a resolution for Floodplain Management Overlay Ordinance at the first Council meeting in July.
  • This Resolution has been postponed twice by majority vote of our City Council.
  • CM Chuck Warpehoski commented at the October 19th council meeting that CM Jack Eaton misled the council on several counts relating to the proposed resolution.
  • CM Warpehoski seems to have been the one who misled the council, and residents of the city, when he insisted in voting against the resolution that the city already had an adopted ‘Floodplain Management Plan’, but one that he said he had admitted he had not read. The ACWG is not aware of an adopted ‘Floodplain Management Plan’. If there is such an adopted plan I/we would like CM Warpehoski to produce it for us to read.
  • Even with one of the major issues addressed, increasing the timeline to complete the work, the majority on council still voted down the resolution.
  • This was a resolution worked on by city staff with graduate students and faculty from UM who did considerable research and work to its end, and whose help had been requested by city staff.
  • Council rejecting this resolution has ignored requests to move on this effort for several reasons including:
    • Adopting this resolution could, in a short time, result in much lower flood insurance rates for Ann Arbor residents and businesses. Rates that have gone up considerably in Ann Arbor and area expected to go much higher in the near term according to published reports in the New York Times and other sources.
    • Adopting this resolution would allow Ann Arbor to have a greater chance of obtain both State and Federal Funding to improve the Allen’s Creek Watershed and other watersheds in the city and adjacent areas.
    • Global Warming has increased the threat of flooding for the city and enhanced flood mitigation planning is needed before another major storm event hits the area. Much larger rain events are and are predicted to occur in SEM.
    • We have currently and are expecting many development proposals, including homes, in and around the Allen’s Creek Floodplain and Floodway without a real understanding of the dangers associated with these areas.
  • Currently we have a lawsuit pending that could be said to be due to development in the Lawton neighborhood with homes in and around old creek beds and in wetlands that left that neighborhood in an unacceptable risk of flooding and high water table exposure that the city will now be dealing with for years to come and may face a very large court settlement if the case is lost by the city. Some knowledgeable sources have said this case could cost the city upwards of $100M,
  • Adopting this ordinance would have been part of the effort to meet the Federal Community Rating System (CRS). The CRS ranks cities according to their compliance with federal flood management requirements. Currently Ann Arbor does not participate in the CRS. With each improvement in our local flood management plan, City residents become eligible for larger discounts on flood insurance. Some council members voting against this resolution stated we are now working toward a the CRS, but this has been said for many years without result.
  • The ACWG strongly supported the adoption of this resolution by City Council. We would have preferred and have discussed a moratorium on building in the current poorly defined floodplain until a meaningful study of the flood hazard is complete.


 

Brownfield Public Meeting on 221 Felch St. Condo Development in Floodplain

A2 Recent (11-2015) Online City Map; 211 Felch St. area; Floodway in blue Floodplain in green
Condos just east of tracks, just west of floodway and south of Felch
  • The ACWG attended the Wed. Oct 21 public meeting
  • This project proposes building 51 Condos units at 5-stories
  • This project is in the Allen's Creek Floodplain
  • The map shown at the meeting did not have the Allen's Creek Floodplain or Floodway shown. We questioned this over-site as the proposed housing is in the floodplain and very near the floodway a major natural feature that will effect the planning and the brown field application.
  • The majority of the contamination on site according to the developer's consultant is said to have been the result of filling the Allen's Creek ravine and around the very large drain pipe on this site.
  • Proposed parking for the development will be directly above a very large drain pipe, normally not allowed for access and easement to access the pipe for any needed repairs. Cars parked over the pipe may impede emergency repairs and cause extreme upstream flooding and/or be forced to be moved quickly and damaged.
  • A Tax Increment Finance (TIF) Plan proposed just for this site could be a major concern, taking taxes from the city to benefit a few in this development.
  • The ACWG has questioned the proposed developments in these areas of the floodway and floodplain for lack of sufficient information on the flood hazard dangers posed in these areas.
  • This development is proposed to be next to the Allen's Creek pipe flowing under the parking area, in a creek shed that floods on average every 1 1/2 years.
  • As noted previously this is a obvious location where Green Belt funds should be used to buy this land for the AC Greenway, for green space inside our city as was voted on by the city with the Green Belt Millage.
 



Proposed Agenda: 

October 15, 2015


City Council Issues RFP for Allen('s) Creek Greenway Planning


ACGC 

  • The city has issued a Request For Proposal (RFP) for the Allen('s) Creek planning after city council agreed to fund this effort.
  • The RFP includes many of the stake holders as a requirement for the contract which is something the ACWG has had issue with with the other reports recently accepted by the city.
  • The ACG has great potential for the city and the environment and should not be delayed as has been the case for the past years. New developments have been approved and proposed in the floodplain (and potentially the floodway with a meaningful map of the floodplain and floodway) and the utmost caution must be used when planning in and around this natural feature.
  • The city has had a plethora of errors in recent and past years in planning in and around the floodplain and we need to do better.
  • Stormwater Model Calibration and Analysis Project (SWMCA) and Stormwater Advisory Group (SWAG) outcomes need to be implemented.
  • The city paid well over $2M for a city wide stormwater study SWMCA and SWAG that was recently finished and we need to use the models and data collected (large amount of the data was collected by residents) to do better planning. City staff were trained to use the new models and data to get a better understanding of the Flood Hazard facing residents and businesses especially in the Allen's Creek Watershed and we need to start using the outcomes of these projects.
  • Before we build more in the floodplain we need to act on this $2M study to the fullest.
  • The ACWG plans to work hard with the city residents, the Allen Creek Greenway Conservancy (ACGC) and the city to create the best and most cost effective Greenway possible.
  • A Greenway in the Allen's Creek floodplain will greatly reduce flood hazard to hundreds of homes and businesses in the west side, will create a open gathering green space in the near downtown, connect to the Huron River and Border to Border Trail, provide alternative transportation to and from the downtown and river, provide festival sites for events, arts display locations and many other amenities that will be enjoyed for generations to come.

 

Porous Pavement Featured in Recent Atlantic Monthly, Pavement that 'Soaks up Rainwater Like Sponges'


Atlantic Monthly

  • September 2015 article highlights porous pavement as an obvious option in handling greater rain events and more pollution facing urban areas.
  • 'Topmix Permeable concrete soaks up 4,000 liters in 60 seconds.', and has a 'mesmerizing' video to show it in action.
  • 'In the U.S., stormwater routinely overwhelms antiquated wastewater systems, causing untreated sewage to be dumped into local waterways and befouling public beaches. Storm runoff is also a significant source of pollution for rivers, streams, and reservoirs around the globe. Topmix pavement filters pollutants such as motor oil residue, even as it allows water to drain into the ground below.'
  • Porous pavement detoxifies near 100% pollution with naturally occurring bacteria, greatly reduced heat island effect, less costly than installing new larger pipes and fixing the old, lasts longer than conventional pavements, no pot holes, no slip and fall or black ice, 80% less road noise for quieter and less stressful urban environment. Air conditioning use goes up dramatically in noisy urban areas using more energy, increasing pollution and creating more noise.
  • Climate change with larger rain events require new and better technologies to handle the clear and present danger, and protect our communities and our environment.

Notice of Brownfield Public Meeting on 221 Felch St. Condo Development in Floodplain

A2 Current Online City Map; 211 Felch St. area; Floodway in blue Floodplain in green
Condos just east of tracks, just west of floodway and south of Felch
  • Notice of meeting Wed. Oct 21 6:30pm, AA Lib 3rd Floor Rm 343
  • Proposed Condos 5-story, 51 units
  • This project is in the Allen's Creek Floodplain
  • The ACWG has questioned the proposed developments in these areas of the floodway and floodplain for lack of sufficient information on the flood hazard dangers posed in these areas.
  • This development was proposed to be next to the Allen's Creek pipe flowing under the parking area, in a creek shed that floods on average every 1 1/2 years.
  • This is a obvious location where Green Belt funds should be used to buy this land for the AC Greenway, for green space inside our city as was voted on by the city with the Green Belt Millage.
 


Proposed Agenda: 

September 17, 2015

Floodplain Resolution Vote Delayed Again by City Council 


June 14, 2015 - Major Flooding on Mary St. - UofM Athletic Campus Area -

in Central Ann Arbor After Just Under 2" Rain

  • Council Member Jack Eaton has brought a resolution Floodplain Management Overlay Ordinance at the first Council meeting in July.
  • This Resolution has been postponed twice by majority vote of our City Council.
  • Adopting this ordinance is part of the Federal Community Rating System. The CRS ranks cities according to their compliance with federal flood management requirements. Currently, Ann Arbor does not participate in the CRS, but should apply after adopting the ordinance. With each improvement in our local flood management plan, City residents become eligible for larger discounts on flood insurance.
  • The ACWG supports the adoption of this resolution by City Council. We would have preferred and have discussed a moratorium on building in the current poorly defined floodplain until a meaningful study of the flood hazard is complete.
  • This Floodplain Management Overlay Ordinance is long overdue. Our seemingly developer centric city hall has for years ignored the real and present danger to many residents, 1,000 to 1,500 or more alone in the Allen's Creek watershed (but we really don't know because of a lack of effort to collect data on the flood hazard we face), and made very costly mistakes because of this.


    A few examples: the Homeless Shelter's $1M first plan was scrapped because it was shown by the ACWG and other residents, working with a consultant, that the plan was illegally in the Allen's Creek floodway. The new revised plan violated many city building regulations that we were assured at the outset would all be met or surpassed. The building is just up against the newly drawn floodway and in the floodplain. The North Main Affordable Housing development was also scrapped due to ignoring the proximity to the poorly defined floodplain and floodway, which a new map showed would have been an illegal building. This would have created more affordable housing in and around the floodway and floodplain as has been the history in Ann Arbor over the decades. The First and William parking structure plan proposed in the floodway scrapped due to pressure from residents with the very expensive structure proposed in the floodway being a major issue of contention.


    With development in the very poorly defined floodplain and floodway allowed by the city and routinely done by the U of M, more new and existing homes and businesses are at risk of flooding that would not normally be at risk endangering life and property. Existing homes and businesses would be at more risk because when you block the floodway and/or fill portions of the floodplain with structures you increase the flood hazard up stream of that location. This is a real concern due to the fact we have a poor understanding of the locations of these natural features in the city.


    Placing more people in potential flood risk is poor planning and poor judgement.


    Some in city hall say we need to expand our tax base with development. But ignore the existing reliable and long lived tax base that is at risk with poorly planned development in and around the floodways and floodplains.


    With ever increasing campaign 'Warchests' some in city hall may see an easy way to raise funds by ignoring the risk and using expedient judgment.


    The current floodplain map is based on old out dated 100 year (1% chance) rain fall amount, now much higher by federal standards that Ann Arbor must use. Higher Flood Insurance costs and Global Warming changes, causing more intense rain events, all call for this effort to be adopted to reduce risk to the city.


    We have new models and additional data we paid for, data residents help collect, in recent years and have not been used to gauge flood hazard. We have an opportunity to greatly reduce flood insurance costs to residents and choose not to.


    The Dexter Tornado brought a historic rain to Southwest Ann Arbor at 5-6” in about an hour, which is predicted to happen more often in Michigan with Global Warming, we need to plan for more flood risk not ignore the clear signs of the danger.


    Some of the most valuable areas of the city are at risk without real knowledge of the extent of the risk and yet we delay yet again in protecting not only the residents but the very tax base many in city hall often discuss. We have the city and the city DDA giving away $Ms to developers to help with developments (sometimes in the poorly defined floodplain) but very little to study and plan to reduce very the real and present flood risk we face.


    Several projects are currently being officially proposed to the city, and more to come shortly, in and around the floodplain and floodway without real knowledge of the extent of the flood hazard facing those who may move into or work in these structures. Our city government alone has the ability to provide flood hazard protection to its residents and, reduce the ever rising and exorbitant flood insurance rates, which is clearly something individuals cannot do.


    We agree with invited planning Professor Larsen from U of M, at the recent Climate Discussions held by the city, when she said:

    First - Don't build in the floodplains.




August 2015 No Meeting due to Vacation and Travel Schedules


Watershed Issues of Interest


Notes from the MDEQ Public Meeting at Wash. Comm. Collage on the new State of Michigan Water Strategy Plan on Sept 29th




  • Online comments allowed at the above web site. Comments are due by Friday, August 28, 2015.
  • Comments from ACWG at the meeting;
  • Poorly noticed and not well attended (20-25 or so). No local officials except Evan Pratt (WRC) I recognized. Evan Pratt did make some good comments at the meeting on the need for the state to provide more help in stormwater pollution mitigation.
  • I did comment on the Open Meetings violation issue with the DEQ we have raised in the recent past 'on the theory that 1,4-Doixane is Threshold Carcinogen' meeting we were not given date and time to attend as requested by the ACWG and Coalition for Action on Remediation of Dioxane (CARD). We gave ample notice to attend and were not noticed. This meeting may effect policy and as such state law requires an Open Meeting be conducted.
    • MDEQ did not ultimately accept the theory that 1,4-Doixane is Threshold Carcinogen as discussed, something EPA does not have in its regulatory laws. This could/would have allowed higher exposures than Suspected Carcinogen in humans which it is currently classified by EPA.
  • I also commented on basement exposures of 1,4-Doixane Gelman/Pall plume not in the current plan but should be as this plume moves through the city where high water table has many homes with wet or flooded basements routinely. This would violate even the very weak Part 201 standards requiring the isolation of the contaminant from the public. The compound will evaporate into the confined space (basement) exposing the public through inhalation. Almost all of the toxicology studies of the compound are from inhalation exposures.
  • Also commented on the very real potential for EPA to force a drop in our very high MI 85ppb standard into single digits.
  • I also commented on the Barton Pond risk should not be taken lightly as higher reading of wells near the northern Prohibition Zone (PZ) keep rising with few wells to help judge its movement. Water quality is very closely linked to the economy of a community.
  • We (and I hope the Governor Snyder who now lives here) want this cleaned up to protect our drinking water source and the community.
  • The meeting had a DEQ staffer taking comments for the record.
  • I also commented on the states need to better fund stormwater studies and mitigation with Global Warming causing larger rain events with greater flood hazard and pollution loading.
  • Did talk to Mitch Adelman, MDEQ staffer involved in the 1,4-Doixane cleanup, after the meeting; His comments to me:
  • 'Child Receptor' will be in new Part 201 Environmental Cleanup regulations, per Rita Loch Caruso (ACWG, CARD) and Trish Koman (CARD) (both at UM SPH) and others, comments sent and at the Part 201 meetings. Big thanks for their work on this. MDEQ staffers comments at the meeting where that the public comments had a big impact on this major change in MI regulations. Trish Koman went to many Part 201 Revision meetings as a Taskforce Member pushing hard for this change. She is a former US EPA staffer and now with the UM SPH.
    • Children were not in the previous MI reg's which was a major omission. This change in state regulations could be very significant as children, infants and fetuses are generally at much greater risk of health effects from environmental exposures.
  • He was not so sure the new EPA 1,4-Doixane standards would be a Federal standard, the state will have one but no comment on what the state value may be.
  • He said he felt a draft of Part 201 will be done by Dec. this year, contrary to predictions by staffers of years away. Our state government has had a deadline to rewrite the standards they they routinely missed in the last several years, now has totally eliminated the deadline for Part 201 revisions. 
  • With regards to Dan Brickneil (Global Environment Alliance, LCC) CARD Member's recent notice to MDEQ, he is looking at the southern Prohibition Zone and is aware of the issues it raises, the Pall numbers are lower than the DEQ's but he said still within industry standards, but he is still looking over it closely and is concerned but not acting on Dan's letter currently; I also mentioned the northern plume numbers are not great either and of major concern to city residents.
 
Foot Dragging on Allen('s) Creek Greenway Planning? 
  • City Council approve the city budget on May 19th which included funding for city Allen('s) Creek Greenway Master Planning.
  • Why is it taking so long to get this started. 
  • They could be not upholding their fiduciary responsibility if these funds are sat on and not used in a judicious manner. We need the Greenway Master Plan and the Greenway not more high rises in the Allen's Creek floodplain and floodway.
  • The UM Masters students did a fine job on a Greenway Master Plan effort but did not include all the stakeholders in their planning which should not be part of a city Greenway Master Plan effort. They also were not aware of many examples and lessons learned in Michigan and elsewhere of Greenway success including in Kalamazoo, Detroit, Traverse City, Flint and Grand Rapids to name just a few.
 
Very Strong Sewer Smells at Linda Vista and Miller on the near West Side?
  • Residents of the area near Linda Vista at Miller have commented to city council members, staff and ACWG that they have an on going issue with very bad smells (sewage?) in their neighborhood. City has been notified but does not seem to be getting a handle on it.
  • I have gone down several times in the last 2 weeks without smelling much. A neighbor who is temporarily living there, while his house is being worked on, said it smells really bad and often. Other residents encountered on the recent trips to the area have made the same comments.
  • One issue could be a Cross Talk of Sewage and Stromwater drains as they run through the neighborhood. TV'ing the drains would show this issue that would need attention ASAP.
  • This is were part of Scio Tws. sewage runs through the city to the treatment plant.
 
Please Take a Moment and Fill in the Ann Arbor Park Survey Currently Available Online

City of Ann Arbor SealAnn Arbor Parks
  • This is the Ann Arbor Parks and Recreation Open Space Plan 2016-2020 Survey
  • An important point to include are comments about the need for the Allen('s) Creek Greenway as an addition to our Parks System.
  • Survey is available now through Sept. 30, 2015. If this is not feasible, please call 734.794.6230 ext. 42590 to receive a paper copy.



July 2015 No Meeting due to Vacation and Travel Schedules


Watershed Issues of Interest


Coalition for Action on Remediation of Dioxane (CARD) Update




  • Dan Brickneil (Global Environment Alliance, LCC) CARD Member on behalf of CARD has sent an email to Pall Life Science (PLS) and MDEQ regarding higher 1,4-Dioxane levels in the southern portion of the Well Prohibition Zone established by the Court

  • Levels outside the PZ seem to be over the 85 ppb limit set by the court, although some issues with PLS reporting, when compared to the split sample tested by MDEQ, may mean higher then reported.

  • "Based upon the April and May 2015 MDEQ's own results PLS should be required to provide the MDEQ with a contingency Plan to conduct additional hydrogeologic investigations about this section of the (PZ)".

  • At the CARD meeting this month the ACWG again raise issue of the potential for the compound to enter basements of homes on the west side and evaporate into the confined spaces of the basements. The state is allowing up to 2,800 ppb of the compound to flow through the city to the river.

  • Most of the toxicology done on this compound is based on inhalation exposure which would be the biggest  issue with basement exposure as the contaminated water with the compound evaporates. It would seem the closer to the river the higher chance of basement exposure as the contamination flow is expected to vent into the river in the higher groundwater table. No flow modeling has been done on this though as far as we can tell.

  • We have many homes with water entering basements on the west side but the MDEQ has not evaluated this exposure which the current PZ 'protection plan' clearly does not address. This would even violate the extremely week Part 201 Environmental Cleanup Rules of the State of Michigan's Governor John Engler(R) pushed for adoption.

  • Also of concern are signs of the plume continued moving to the north toward Barton Pond. Monitoring wells to the north of the contamination site keep rising near and above the 85 ppb very close to the northern PZ. Very few wells are located to the north which makes it harder to follow the contamination there.

  • PLS is merging with Danaher Corp. later this year which should not effect the cleanup effort, according to MDEQ comments. PLS bought Gelman Science and assumed ownership of the cleanup program.

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




Lake Erie on Track for A Historic Algae Bloom 2015

Lake Erie Algae;  NYT.COM  -  March 15, 2013

  • The algae bloom for Lake Erie is predicted to be very large later this summer.

  • Because of these unacceptable trends State and National official are pushing for a 40% reduction in phosphorus flowing into Lake Erie by 2025

  • The most severe algae problem by far is in the western portion of the lake, it may cover over 1/4 of the lake this year.

  • Over 15M people obtain drinking water from Lake Erie, in both US and Canada. Toledo turned off its water intake in the lake for several days late last summer creating a emergency water shortage condition for over 400,000 people.

  • The Allen's Creek flows into Lake Erie via the Huron River.

  • The ultra impervious urban watersheds like the Allen's Creek are said to pollute more than any factory in the State of Michigan.

  • Reductions in sediment runoff from watersheds would make a significant reductions in phosphorus loading into receiving waters.

  • The ACWG with ACWG members on the Environmental Commission pushed to reduce phosphorus use in Ann Arbor which resulted in a Phosphorus Fertilizer Ordinance several years ago that bans lawn fertilizers with phosphorus.

  • Freep: "Leaders from Michigan, Ohio and Ontario have agreed to reduce phosphorus in the western Lake Erie basin by 40% by 2025. The nutrient is a key ingredient of widespread algae blooms in that portion of the lake — including a toxic strain that disrupted water supplies to 400,000 people in southeast Michigan and the Toledo area last August."

  • Funding by Federal and State Agencies for Great Lakes cleanup in early 2015 - $17M awarded. EPA has taken new and aggressive stance on water quality issues in the Great Lakes.

  • Recent Freep Article


El Nino Expected To Be The Strongest In A Half Century - Super El Nino


  • Some are calling this a Super El Nino event for 2015, predicting the breaking of past records.

  • Much cooler and wetter summer, and warmer fall and winter for the Midwest.

  • Stronger storms with more tornadoes are also predicted for the Midwest regions.



Upcoming Ann Arbor City Council Primaries August 4th


Vote Aug 4th

  • A On August 4th Ann Arbor will have Primary Election Voting. Please vote.

  • We have two west side long time Allen's Creek, and city wide, watershed supporting candidates which we hope you will support:





Proposed Agenda: 

June 18, 2015

Floodplain Resolution to be Submitted for Council Consideration

 

June 14, 2015 - Flooding on Mary St. - UofM Athletic Campus Area -

in Central Ann Arbor After Just Under 2" Rain

  • Council Member Jack Eaton has indicated to City Council that he will be bringing a resolution to adopt a Floodplain Management Overlay Ordinance at the first Council meeting in July.
  • 'Adopting this ordinance is part of the Federal Community Rating System. The CRS ranks cities according to their compliance with federal flood management requirements. Currently, Ann Arbor does not participate in the CRS, but should apply after adopting the ordinance. With each improvement in our local flood management plan, City residents become eligible for larger discounts on flood insurance.'
  • The ACWG supports the adoption of this resolution by City Council. 
  • CM Eaton writes: 'I expect that after the first reading of the ordinance, it will be referred to the Planning Commission for review and comment. Hopefully, we can have a second reading of the ordinance, a public hearing  and a vote whether to adopt it in September. The ordinance was developed by graduate students at the UM.' Additionally: 'In early 2014, the University of Michigan - Graham Sustainability Institute approached a team of Dow Sustainability Fellows about the City of Ann Arbor's request for legal and policy assistance in developing a floodplain management overlay ordinance.'
 
Madison Green Streets Rain Gardens to be Installed 

 

Miller Ave Rain Garden just after Installation - EWashtenaw.Org

 

  • Council Member Mike Anglin, the ACWG and other citizens have met on site with City staff to discuss outcomes from this project. It was agreed that Rain Gardens could be installed on Madison with some city funds and help from residents. 
  • Most of the funds set aside for the original plan are no longer available. 
  • The Rain Garden sites are not optimal by some standards but do allow some installation of plants to help in the infiltration and cleansing of runoff rain water making very usable rain gardens.
  • The Rain Garden sites currently have infiltration beds in depressions.
  • Planning has started on the installation and, soil amending and planting will likely start in late summer, early fall, after the hottest weather is over. Some plants will come from other City's Rain Gardens as culled plants overgrowing their current location.
  • Rain Gardens are one of the only rain fresh water runoff (stormwater) management tools used that gets better over time with increased infiltration and cleaning as the plants get established and get larger root systems.
  • Staff did raise the issue of city staff maintaining all the rain gardens being installed in the city. They have posted a new open staff position to be filled to help maintain rain gardens. It is widely reported that installing and maintaining Soft Solutions for managing fresh water runoff is much less expensive then the conventional Hard Solutions.
  • CM Anglin had asked staff to discuss in a public meeting:
    • The final plan for the water retention areas are not what was built. There seems to be confusion on the part of those who were involved in the planning of the project with staff as part of public input as to the final outcome. It is believed that the project was not completed as originally planned. There are not plantings in some of the rain gardens as was anticipated.
    • Those involved with the project would like to have detailed information as to the breakdown of expenditures for the project.
  • Jennifer Lawson with the city and Harry Sheehan with the County Water Resources Commissioner's Office had contacted the ACWG regarding the proposed Madison Rain Gardens but not build due to planning issues with the sites. They said the initial plan did not take into account that the space in the easements was not enough to install effective rain gardens. It was decided by staff after construction started to install infiltration depressions instead. 
  • Citizens have indicated they have seen the rain gardens on other streets in the city, for example Miller Ave., and would like to install rain gardens on Madison to gain the same rain water runoff management and amenity value on their street.
  • Many have said that the infiltration depressions are not aesthetically pleasing, will be filled in by home owners who will have trouble mowing the grass in them, misunderstanding their use and over time will not function as well as the planned rain gardens.
  • We are glad the city has adopted the Green Streets Policy, with strong support from staff, but feel a follow up discussion would have helped the community understand the issues and reasons on the ‘Change Order’ and how funds were allocated. Many residents expressed how Miller, for example, was a great success and would like to see it in other Green Streets efforts.
  • The upper two blocks of Madison, from 7th St., did receive the planned rock bed reservoir under the street to capture, detoxify and infiltrate rain water runoff as part of the City's Green Streets Policy. The lower portion of the roadway was said to have to much clay to allow for similar treatment.

 
Maple Rd. Apartment Proposal with 10' or Deeper Detention Basins

 

10' Deep Detention Basin Fronting Maple Rd.

From Public Development Files Recently on Display at City Hall (ACWG)

(Right Click for Larger View)

  • Proposed Maple Rd apartments next to Grace Bible Church have very large and deep basins, an indication of unworkable plan that is 'over designed' for the site.
  • Detention basins, fenced at the steepest portion the slope, in the proposed plan, on display at City Hall recently, are in some cases 10’ deep or more, one just off Maple Rd. in the front of the development. Fenced in area in above basin is at 8' deep.
  • Flooding in adjacent Lawton and Dicken Neighborhoods has to be a major concern for any development in this area, not to make the significant flood hazard any worse than it is already.
  • This site as proposed would be split off the adjacent Grace Bible Church site.
  • The City has and is planning on spending millions to reduce the flood hazard in this immediate area, we should not be adding to the flood hazard and danger, and costs with additional poorly designed developments.
  • The Lawton area has been signaled out, rightly, as one of a handful of sites in the city needing immediate flood hazard attention as presented in the SWAG public meeting that ended recently.
  • A Glendale St. condominium proposal was recently rejected by Planning Commission mainly due to the very large 7' deep detention basin proposed in a residential area, fronting the street, with the potential danger and eye sore it would present, with many residents in attendance and commenting in agreement.
 
School Girls' Glen in Nichols Arboretum Inundated with Rain Water Runoff, U of M Needs to Step Up in Sustainability Planning and Action On Its Main Campus

Nichols Arboretum - School Girls Glen

michigantoday.umich.edu

  • Rain water runoff (stormwater) from UofM sites and roads is cutting a deep gully in School Girls' Glen with no real plan to reduce the ongoing destruction of this section of the Nichols Arboretum.
  • UofM tells the city they propose a regional plan, something long dismissed by planners and watershed managers. Avoiding runoff or dealing with water at the source is the Best Management Practice (BMP) for over a decade.
  • Sediment and pollution are being dumped into the Huron River in large quantities.
  • The June 2015 Ann Arbor Observer has an article with comments from the ACWG, the Director of Nichols and SRNE Professor Bob Grese, the Water Resources Commissioner Evan Pratt and Jerry Hancock on City Staff asking the UofM to get involved in the very large amount of runoff from their sites all across the city, not just up stream of Nichols.
  • Western Michigan University has stepped up according to the article, why not UofM? WMU plan to handle up to the 1% chance rain (100 year rain) in their current campus planning.
  • One option for the city and UofM to partner on is the planned partial rebuilding and repaving of Washington Heights road, leading down to Nichols, planed for next year. The use of Porous Pavement should be seriously considered with all the benefits and low costs compared to conventional paving and water management (or no water management).
  • Green roof options for the recently expanded School of Public Health buildings, and the student housing buildings near by should also be considered. City Hall added a Green Roof with planted trays, that did not require any structural changes, to great effect and cost saving to the city. Toronto and other cities now require most new building roofs be green.
  • Some Benefits of Porous Pavement on Washington Heights:
    • Great for use in tight over developed spaces
    • Handle up to 200" of rain an hour in best case
    • No black ice, 80% less salt use, less plowing
    • 70% quieter pavement
    • Greatly reduced heat island effect, similar effect as grassy areas, US EPA calls it 'Cool Pavement'
    • EPA now recognizes porous pavement as a BMP 
    • Long lasting pavement compared to conventional
    • Lower cost when all costs are included
    • Detoxify nearly 100% of common roadway contaminants as they are infiltrated
    • Works well on clay soils
    • Recharge urban groundwater, reduces sink hole formation
 
Upcoming City Council Primaries August 4th

Vote Aug 4th
  • A On August 4th Ann Arbor will have Primary Election Voting. Please vote.
  • We have two westside long time Allen's Creek, and city wide, watershed supporting candidates, which we hope you will support, both mentioned in this agenda again:



Proposed Agenda: 

May 21, 2015

Madison Green Streets Rain Gardens: Formal Request to Meet with City Staff to Discuss Outcomes


Miller Ave Rain Garden just after Installation - EWashtenaw.Org


  • The ACWG and other citizens have ask Council Member Mike Anglin to ask City staff for a meeting with citizens to discuss outcomes from this project.
  • CM Anglin has asked staff to discuss in a public meeting:
    • The final plan for the water retention areas are not what was built. There seems to be confusion on the part of those who were involved in the planning of the project with staff as part of public input as to the final outcome. It is believed that the project was not completed as originally planned. There are not plantings in some of the rain gardens as was anticipated.
    • Those involved with the project would like to have detailed information as to the breakdown of expenditures for the project.
  • Jennifer Lawson with the city and Harry Sheehan with the County Water Resources Commissioner's Office have contacted the ACWG regarding the proposed Madison Rain Gardens but not build due to planning issues with the sites.
  • They said the initial plan did not take into account that the space in the easements was not enough to install effective rain gardens. It was decided by staff after construction started to install infiltration depressions instead. 
  • Citizens have indicated they have seen the rain gardens on other streets in the city, for example Miller Ave., and would like to install rain gardens on Madison to gain the same rain water runoff management and amenity value on their street.
  • There is a question on the rationale that Rain Gardens planned would not fit in the locations in the plan presented to the community. This does not seem to be a valid reason given the space allocated and past installations, and comments from landscape architects in the city.
  • Many have said that the infiltration depressions are not aesthetically pleasing, will be filled in by home owners who will have trouble mowing the grass in them, misunderstanding their use and over time will not function as well as the planned rain gardens.
  • We are glad the city has adopted the Green Streets Policy, with strong support from staff, but feel a follow up discussion would help the community understand the issues and reasons on the ‘Change Order’ and how funds were allocated. Many residents expressed how Miller, for example, was a great success and would like to see it in other Green Streets efforts.
  • The upper two blocks of Madison, from 7th St., did receive the planned rock bed reservoir under the street to capture, detoxify and infiltrate rain water runoff (stormwater) as part of the City's Green Streets Policy. The lower portion of the roadway was said to have to much clay to allow for similar treatment.
  • Notice of the meeting well be sent by the ACWG to those who contacted the ACWG. If you would like to receive notice from the ACWG please send an email to our address: vpc@acwg.org with 'Madison Rain Gardens' in the subject line or contact Jennifer Lawson directly at jlawson@a2gov.org.


Stormwater Model Calibration and Analysis Project (SWMCA) and Stormwater Advisory Group (SWAG) Modeling of Allen's Creek

 

SWMCA SWAG   City of Ann Arbor Seal



  • This was a a city wide Stormwater modeling effort contracted by the city with CDM at a cost of at least $2 Million.
  • With numerous proposed and accepted developments in and around the AC's 'loosely calibrated' floodplain and floodway, including those of the UofM, it is important to protect the citizens, visitors and businesses from flood hazard with up to date and much more accurate floodplain maps.
  • The Models generated along with the additional data collected to help calibrate these models is now available to evaluate the AC watershed and generate both more accurate and more protective floodplain maps.
  • It was indicated to the ACWG that an AC study with the new CDM models and data would be much easier and faster due to the design of the models and new analysis techniques.
  • With this contract City staff were to be trained in use of the model with existing and new data to more accurately determine floodplain and floodway delineations.
  • Analysis may show relevant changes in the city FIRM maps which could be submitted to FEMA for modification of the official 100 year (1% chance) flood maps. When FEMA redraws the maps in years to come they will also have this model and data to more accurately update the maps.
  • City council could modify current floodplain ordinances to incorporate the updated CDM modeled maps from this effort and, provide more realistic and protective floodplain management.
  • The original funding for this City Wide Study Stormwater Modeling came from Capital Improvements Plan (CIP) funding line item accepted into the CIP and designated for an Allen's Creek floodplain analysis and remapping study. City staff have recently indicated in public meetings that virtually all CIP designated projects are funded once accepted in the CIP. Funding the Allen's Creek Study is well overdue for Ann Arbor.
  • Developers, real estate interests and the UofM wishes for development should not block protection of citizens, visitors and businesses in and around the Allen's Creek floodplain.
  • New significantly greater rainfall federal data are specified for Ann Arbor, since the last floodplain maps were produced, virtually all involved state that Global Warming as the reason for significant change, along with the poorly calibrated current model, clearly call for new analysis.
  • Description of the project and the draft plan is available on line - Link
  • Final report, PDF,




Greenway Master Plan Budgeting Approved

 

ACGC


  • City Council approve the city budget on Monday night which included funding for a Allen('s) Creek Greenway Master Planning.
  • The Masters students recently finished and did a fine job on a Greenway Master Plan effort but did not include all the stakeholders in their planning.


  • To obtain national and state funding in the city sponsored Master Plan we need to be sure we include all stakeholders as is now required by many funders and, is appropriate and needed for this effort.
  • Because of this over-site some critical aspects of the Greenway Planning were overlooked.
  • The city owned sites at 415 W. Washington, 721 N. Main and First and William Parking Lot, minimally portions in the floodplain, should be the starting anchors to this Greenway. 




Proposed Agenda: 

April , 2015


Discussion of Floodplain Ordnance written by UM Grad Students That Could Go Before Council This Year


5-6" Rainfall NEXRAD Estimate 3-15-12,

with Annotations, Historic Record for AA (ACWG)

(Right Click to view larger image)


  • A floodplain ordinance template has been written in recent years by UM DOW graduate students for Ann Arbor that could be used to update our Floodplain Regulations bringing them more inline with other flood prone communities.

  • A copy of the template has recently been presented and will be discussed as to the viability for Ann Arbor.

  • Building in and around the floodplain poses particular risk to the unsuspecting apartment and condo residents, and business workers who are unaware of the dangers of the location they are in during a hard rain.

  • It has been discussed by the ACWG, county Drain Office in past years that an open floodway and reduced building in the floodplain could lessen flood hazard to many in and around the current floodplain.

  • Many communities forbid building in the floodway and floodplain, and have received $M in federal funding to remove obstructions in dangerous flood prone communities like Ann Arbor.

  • Global Warming is a clear and present danger that our community has yet to incorporate in its floodplain regulations.

  • Ann Arbor and SEM is experiencing more intense storms due to climate changes as has been predicted by national science centers and the US EPA.

  • The UofM keeps building new structures in the athletic campus, likely in the ACW floodplain with meaningful maps and said to be the case with preliminary results from the SWAG models, putting many more homes at flood hazard risk up stream due to potential blockage of the floodway and infilling of the floodplain. The area was in the floodplain in the 1992 FEMA Floodplain Map. UofM is also contributing great amounts of rain water runoff (stormwater) into the ACW without much effort to abate the pollution or flooding effects unlike other city property owners with much more stringent city regulations. City council and County Government needs to pressure UofM to meet local and state flood hazard mitigation standards.

  • The 'SemiAutonomous' UofM it would seem is like the 'Holy See', within Rome, an altered reality unto itself without fully regarding local laws and customs. City council, County Government and the State needs to address this disconnect with the effects on the city health and safety, and require them to meet local and state flood hazard mitigation standards.


  • In this same vane President Obama issued Exec. Order proposing tighten floodplain regulations for federal funding due to Global Warming's effects on the US.

  • On January 30, 2015  President Obama issued Executive Order 13690, “Establishing a Federal Flood Risk Management Standard and a Process for Further Soliciting and Considering Stakeholder Input.


  • 'The new standard gives agencies three options for establishing the flood elevation and hazard area they use in siting, design and construction of federal projects. They can use data and methods “informed by best-available, actionable climate science”; build two feet above the 100-year flood elevation for standard projects and three feet above for critical buildings such as hospitals and evacuation centers; or build to the 500-year flood elevation.' - Washington Post




Coalition for Action on Remediation of Dioxane (CARD) Update


CARD


  • At the April CARD Meeting is was noted that recent comments in March of this year by high level DEQ staff at a Water Conference in Traverse City indicate the state is nearing a dramatic lowering in the 1,4-Doixane levels requiring cleanup under Part 201 of the state code. EPA is pushing states to revise the levels to adjust to the proposed EPA lower standard.

  • The new state standard will likely be as low as 8 to 3 ppb according to reliable sources. We are currently at 85 ppb clean up standard, which is much higher then the vast majority of other states currently.

  • This lowering could, and should, have very large and dramatic impact on the cleanup plans.

  • State regulations for environmental cleanup, Part 201, is still in the process of being rewritten. Part 201 would effect the 1,4-Doixane cleanup. The Part 201 state task force has finished its work and submitted its report, and the DEQ is working on the rewrite. Some Ann Arbor city staff and local experts were added very late to the taskforce (including a UM toxicologist ACWG member for a short time and not re-invited) although greatly outnumbered and by industry representatives. The state has changed the rule on a deadline to rewrite Part 201 to no deadline for the changes. EPA changes would supersede Part 201.

  • Recent data from monitoring wells show higher than expected 1,4-Doixane levels very near the northern Prohibition Zone (PZ). Levels are now close to 1,000 ppb near the edge of the PZ. At the outside portion of the PZ in this area it is much lower for some reason that is not clearly understood. The PZ is set at the 85 ppb limit. This flow is in the direction of 85% - 90% of Ann Arbor drinking water source the Barton Pond.

  • New modeling efforts of this 1,4-D contamination will be presented by Geology professor and graduate students at WSU at the next CARD Meeting May 4.

  • It is expected that US EPA will set a drinking water standard at 3-10 ppb. It is not clear when this change will occur. It has been noted at a past CARD meeting that bottled drinking water is being supplied to a school in Massachusetts with about .03 ppb and to the a city at .3 ppb in the drinking water as requested by the state and supported by EPA.

  • New lab technique is available to detect levels of 1,4-D in water to .07 ppb. Tests at the North West Supply Well (which has been taken off line due to detection of 1,4-D) at Montgomery Ave show 4 ppb.

  • Pall Life Sciences Inc. has also been found to be mixing up well logs causing inaccurate evaluations of well data. Roger Rayle a member of CARD and chair of the Scio Residents for Safe Water (SRSW), made this observation and has notified DEQ of an example where two wells were given the same number and well data mis-analyzed. It is hard to know how pervasive this is with the limited data sharing that is currently allowed by the DEQ. Petitions from Ann Arbor residents and some government officials to DEQ to ask for changes have been filed to no effect.

  • Pall has been reluctant to fully share cleanup data with the community and the DEQ has not insisted on changing this reporting behavior. Early on in the cleanup data was much more fully shared with the community and DEQ, that changed several years ago.

  • No new Court hearings have been announced regarding this cleanup effort.

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





Proposed Agenda: 

March 19, 2015

Madison Green Streets Rain Gardens to be Discussed

Photo of Miller Road Rain Gardens just after installation 

(annarborgardener.com)


  • Jennifer Lawson with the city and Harry Sheehan with the County Water Resources Commissioner's Office have contacted the ACWG regarding the proposed Madison Rain Gardens but not build due to planning issues with the sites.
  • They said the initial plan did not take into account that the space in the easements was not enough to install effective rain gardens. It was decided by staff after construction started to install infiltration depressions instead. 
  • Citizens have indicated they have seen the rain gardens on other streets in the city, for example Miller Ave., and would like to install rain gardens on Madison to gain the same rain water runoff management and amenity value on their street.
  • Jennifer Lawson had indicated she will meet with residents on site to discuss the changes and options to plant rain gardens, discuss rain garden funding and provide the 'As Builts' for the infiltration depressions installed in place of the rain gardens. Currently the the infiltration depressions may not be usable for rain gardens unless the soil is changed.
  • The upper two blocks of Madison, from 7th St., did receive the planned rock bed reservoir under the street to capture, detoxify and infiltrate rain water runoff as part of the City's Green Streets Policy. The lower portion of the roadway was said to have too much clay to allow for similar treatment.
  • Notice of the meeting well be sent by the ACWG to those who contacted the ACWG. If you would like to receive notice from the ACWG please send an email to our address: vpc@acwg.org with 'Madison Rain Gardens' in the subject line or contact Jennifer Lawson directly at jlawson@a2gov.org

 

Greenway Master Plan Budgeting

 

ACGC

  • Students of Associate Professor Larissa Larsen and Eric Dueweke have finished and presented a Master Plan for the Greenway, see links below.
  • City council has discussed funding a city Master Plan for the Greenway in council working session.
  • City Council needs to include, in the upcoming city budget, funds to provide a Greenway Master Plan that will give the city guidance in planning and provide the needed support to allow granting agencies to award funds for the planning and the creation of a greenway.
  • Greenway must include more than a small strip of pavement to meet the goals of those who have resisted concerted efforts to develop the Allen's Creek floodway and floodplain, and have pushed hard for a Greenway, and not just a walk way next to inappropriate development.
  • Greenways in Michigan cities have shown great outcomes and promise both economically and environmentally, for example: 
    • The Arcadia Creek Greenway in Kalamazoo
    • Grand Rapids Grand River Greenway
    • Flint's Gilkey Creek Greenway
    • Detroit River Dequindre Cut Greenway 
    • Traverse City Boardman River Greenway
    • The Detorit Area Downriver Linked Greenways

  • A Greenway in the Allen's Creek floodplain will greatly reduce flood hazard to hundreds of homes and businesses in the west side, will create a open gathering green space in the near downtown, connect to the Huron River and Border to Border Trail, provide alternative transportation to and from the downtown and river, provide festival sites for events, arts display locations and many other amenities that will be enjoyed for generations to come.
  • Folks walking and biking in and around the downtown will spend more time and money there as has been shown in numerous studies, reduce parking demand, reduce pollution and improve overall health of the community.
  • Greenways have also been shown to increase the stability, value and tax base of neighborhoods nearby.
  • In years to come the Allen's Creek ravines could have trails installed connecting to the main branch of the Greenway to improve alternative transportation between the downtown and west side neighborhoods all the way out to Stadium and Maple Rds. and beyond.
  • Daylighting the Allen's Creek is also an option in years to come in the Greenway. EPA rates daylighting as the most effective management practice to clean up streams and waterways because it connects communities to important water resources often overlooked. San Francisco has plans to daylight up to 12 streams, some covered over as far back as the 1800's, to promote cleanup of the streams and the highly polluted, and under utilized, San Francisco Bay.
  • Link to ACGC Master Plan details
  • Link to CTN video of the Presentation at A2GovTv city web site now available, titled 'Green the Ways', from 12/16/14
 
Green the Way Youth Public Art Competition - Allen Creek Greenway Conservancy
FINAL_LOGO

  • Students entered the competition which awarded 1st, 2nd and 3rd Place at the March 4th showing at the Kerrytown Concert House.
  • They were "seeking to include Ann Arbor’s youth [(grades 6-12)] to propose a unique work of art that can be replicated and placed at various points along the trail to mark it path as a temporary public art installation that will increase the project’s visibility, increase residents’ awareness and enthusiasm, and enliven this corridor with creativity."
  • Erb Foundation help provide funding for event and prizes, UM Urban and Regional Planning Program's Assoc. Professor Larissa Larsen help organize and MC'ed the event.
  • Link to contest web page
  • Photo at the event and the 1st Place Winning Entry (photos ACWG) (right click for larger view)


 

HM Winding Railroad
"Our concept represents the railroad that was built so that people
could get to Ann Arbor. It also represents the transporting of goods for trading."

Michell Limp & Hunter Schrupp





Proposed Agenda: 



February 19, 2015

Madison Street Rain Gardens Still to be Installed?



Photo of Miller Road Rain Gardens just after installation (annarborgardener.com)


  • Madison Street was designed to have rain gardens as part of the Green Street effort by the city when it recently rebuilt.

  • The street is complete but the Rain Gardens have not been installed.

  • Questions to the ACWG about the final installation has been asked.

  • We hope this spring will find city efforts installing the much needed fresh water runoff mitigation plan complete.

  • Public meetings the ACWG attended did discuss the use of Rain Gardens in the reconstruction.

  • 'Stormwater management features are included in the project, including rain gardens and upsized storm sewer pipes to improve stormwater quality and reduce and delay flows into Allen('s) Creek.' MLive June 6, 2013



West Park has had Complaints of Foul Fuel Oil Like Smells in Recent Weeks


West Park.jpg


South West Entrance Area of West Park Where Smells Were Reported


  • Complaints have been made to city staff and ACWG regarding what was described as diesel fuel like smells for many weeks coming from the 7th Street area of the park.

  • ACWG did go down to check this week without finding any smell coming from the open grates at the south walk into the park.

  • The AAFD did investigate the site recently in response to some complaints without finding the gas sampler showing any signs of a spill.

  • City staff were said to do a grab sample from the swirl concentrator (SC) units at the site for testing of BTEX  (benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylenes) typically found in petroleum product, such as gasoline and diesel fuel, as noted by communication to residents by Council Member Sabra Briere. The SC's capture some materials in the creek flow like sand, grit and trash, in a collection chamber, to be removed later for disposal. The city installed several SC's in the park during its recent reconstruction to help cleanup flows to the Huron River including this area of the park.

  • It may be worth having a remote gas sampler (flammable gas) installed below the grates at the site that would notify staff of a spill and allow for a quick response options.

  • A resident who lives on 7th whose house backs up to the park, who walks the West Park path daily who we met at the park, will notify the city and ACWG if they smell an anything unnatural which we will investigate. They have not smelled fuel oil in recent weeks.



Winter Road Salt – the Next Acid Rain?


Porous pavement on Beach Road, Lake George, N.Y.

Lake George Porous Asphalt Road Install  (National Geographic Voices)


  • Article in National Geographic Voices describes Lake George New York as '“Lake George is without comparison, the most beautiful water I ever saw,” wrote Thomas Jefferson in 1791.'

  • Yet winter road salt is causing the lake to lose its wonderful qualities. Salt levels have tripled since 1980.

  • A Porous Roadway was installed last year along one side of the lake which reduced the need for road salt. Porous roads can use up to 80% less road salt. This porous road is said to be performing very well.

  • When all costs are considered many communities find it is less expensive to install porous. In a recent study Minnesota DOT found porous highway installations would be very cost effective, as 20-30% of conventional highway construction is used to design, build and manage rainwater runoff.

  • Link to article


A Five Year Evaluation of a Six Lane Porous Road in Portland Maine Shows Promise


Motorists speed along a road that crosses over Long Creek near the Maine Mall in South Portland.


Mall Road Portland was Converted to Porous Pavement



  • 'Peter Newkirk worked on the porous pavement project for the transportation department five years ago and is now head of the surface waters resources unit. Newkirk says, so far, the porous pavement appears to be working: "We have a reduction in what they call the 'peak flow' - that flash flow coming off pavement that can disrupt the structure of the stream," Newkirk says. "We've also had a reduction in total, suspended solids and in two metals - heavy metals in particular: zinc and copper."

  • "The samples from last year indicate that the bugs in that area of the stream are actually meeting state water quality standards," she says. "It's only one year of data, so we need another year of data to confirm that, but we're feeling really positive."

  • "This is really at the forefront of what we're doing here in Maine," says Tamara Lee Pinard. "There hasn't been an urban-impaired stream in Maine that has been restored.  So, the fact that we are seeing some success here - we're figuring out how to get this stuff done, and how to get it done in the most cost-effective way possible."'

  • Link to Article - Maine Public Broadcasting Network





Proposed Agenda: 

January 15, 2015


Stormwater Advisory Group (SWAG) Final Meeting Comments


SWAG   City of Ann Arbor Seal


  • This is a city wide SW modeling effort contracted with CDM. The final meeting was yesterday Jan. 13.

  • The ACWG was one of the few citizen representatives at the Advisory Group meetings, in some cases the only citizen(s). The citizen involvement effort for the SWAG needs to be evaluated to best determine how to get more citizen involvement as this was an important component of the RFP funding. The public presentation meetings seemed to have better attendance.

  • Glendale Liberty Virginia Park area was added to the several other target areas as requested by the ACWG. Flooding is a regular occurrence in the neighborhood woodland, on occasion very close to homes on Liberty and Glendale. A retaining wall in the creek in the western area of the woodland is also of concern with the creek taking a sharp turn to the south against the wall as it enters the woodland. The construction and maintenance of this long standing wall is not known. The retaining wall protects an earthen berm to the east that is part of the SW detention basin for the neighborhood.

  • It was commented in past meetings, when asked by the ACWG, that an Allen's Creek sub-modeling effort will be seriously considered on completion of this effort, and should not cost very much time or funds. A CIP for a AC study was in the 2010 CIP plan and those funds were used for this city wide modeling. Much more development pressure is being put on the floodplain floodway areas of the AC with the improvement in the economy and, Greeway planning ongoing albeit somewhat slowly.

  • A UM professor Branko Kerkez, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, who has come to some of the SWAG meetings, has received grant funding to do gauging in targeted areas. He has already setup and tested a network hub at UM to collect the data that could be used with installed gauges for realtime analysis. His lab is still in the planning stages of the effort.

  • The ACWG made comment of a need for permanent gauging in place of the usual temporary gauging as is being used in this effort.

  • We also commented in past meetings on the current notion that 6" of water flowing in the streets is an acceptable method of handling large rain events. If this is the case homes below street grade could have water flow down driveways into garages and homes. We have seen this type of flooding in the Glendale neighborhood in the recently completed citizen survey.

  • Analysis may show relevant changes in the city FIRM maps which could be submitted to FEMA for modification of the official 100 year (1% chance) flood maps. When FEMA redraws the maps in years to come it will also have this model and data to more accurately update the maps.

  • City council could modify current floodplain ordinances to incorporate the updated CDM maps from this effort and, provide more realistic and protective floodplain management.

  • Final report with maps should be available to the public in March or April 2015.

  • Link


Coalition for Action on Remediation of Dioxane (CARD) Update


CARD


  • State regulations for environmental cleanup, Part 201, is still in the process of being rewritten. Part 201 would effect the 1,4-Doixane cleanup. The Part 201 state task force has finished its work and submitted its report, and the DEQ is working on the rewrite. Some Ann Arbor city staff and local experts were added very late to the taskforce (including a UM toxicologist ACWG member for a short time and not re-invited) although greatly outnumbered and by industry representatives. The state has changed the rule on a deadline to rewrite Part 201 to no deadline for the changes. EPA changes would supersede Part 201.

  • Recent data from monitoring wells show higher than expected 1,4-Doixane levels very near the northern Prohibition Zone (PZ). Levels are now at 95 ppb near the edge of the PZ. At the very edge of the PZ in this area it is much lower for some reason that is not clearly understood. The PZ is set at the 85 ppb limit. This flow is in the direction of 85% - 90% of Ann Arbor drinking water source the Barton Pond.

  • It is expected that US EPA will set a drinking water standard at 3-10 ppb. It is not clear when this change will occur. It has been noted at a past CARD meeting that bottled drinking water is being supplied to a school in Massachusetts with about .03 ppb and to the a city at .3 ppb in the drinking water as requested by the state and supported by EPA.

  • New lab technique is available to detect levels of 1,4-D in water to .07 ppb. Tests at the North West Supply Well (which has been taken off line due to detection of 1,4-D) at Montgomery Ave show 4 ppb.

  • No new Court hearings have been announced regarding this cleanup effort.

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



Proposed Residential Development 410 N First St. in the Allen's Creek Floodplain and Floodway


Current City Floodplain(green) and

Floodway(blue) Map for area


  • Proposal for residential condominiums at this location with four stories, 25 dwelling units with 37 parking spaces below have been submitted to city planning department. The building will occupy combined lots 408 and 412 N First St.

  • These types of proposals assume we have a valid map of the floodplain and floodway which has been described by consultants hired by the city as basically 'unusable' and, city staff and other consultants as 'very loosely calibrated'. It it appropriate to place residential development it this location?

  • The parcel at 219 at the corner of the block to the north of this area is largely in the floodway was purchased by the city using FEMA funds, existing house was demolished and the lot is not allowed to be developed. This area should be the considered for the location of the Greenway along the Allen's Creek floodway and floodplain not new residential with folks who may not know their parking and living in a floodplain (or maybe very close to or in the floodway if we had some decent data to use in our models).

  • Federal funds cannot, without major effort to show no other alternatives, be use to build in the floodplain.

  • With the large reductions in cost to gauging the city needs to move to permanent gauging, with the city's existing telemetry, to understand the true nature of the flood hazard in this watershed and other watersheds. We keep installing and removing temporary gauging at great cost, some say more than the cost of permanent installations. The recently completed SSWWE CAC (FDD) study spent $200,000 for temporary gauges.

  • No Citizen Participation public meetings by the developer are scheduled, individual meetings can be arranged. Comments can be directed to Chuck Hetherwick, Project Coordinator at chuck@huroncontracting.com or calling 660-3716 during normal business hours.



UM Masters Students' Greenway Master Plan Presentation Now Online

  • CTN video of the presentation is now available for viewing titled 'Green the Ways', from 12/16/14.

  • Link





Proposed Agenda: 

December 18, 2014


Greenway Master Plan Presentation

 

ACGC

  • Masters Students of Associate Professor Larissa Larsen Urban and Regional Planning Program and Eric Dueweke Lecturer in the Urban and Regional Planning Program at the Taubman College University of Michigan presented their Master Plan for the Greenway Tuesday. A very large turnout of residents, that was standing room only till additional chairs were brought into the Library Lower Meeting Room.
  • Among the presentation comments from the students were:
  • Survey of over 600 residents show recreation amenities was the most important aspect of the Greenway 
  • Stormwater issues were the next major concern and potential positive effect of a Greenway
  • Safety with family use of the Greenway were also a major issue in the survey. Lighting options were discussed. Full details and video of the presentation will be made available.
  • Funding options were discussed. Some options discussed and not commented on are new Federal funds to remove structures from the floodway, state funds generated by taxes on currently large gas and oil extraction operations set aside for natural features restoration and preservation, private NGO funding and, city Greenbelt Millage funding which requires 1/3 of the funds be used inside the city limits and specifically states protection and restoration of watersheds with a fund balance this summer of $9.5 million.
  • It was noted during attendees comments portion, by the ACWG, that Professor Larsen commented at a recent Climate Change Conference sponsored by the city of Ann Arbor that her top recommendation was not to not build the floodplain. Also noted by the ACWG were the reduction in floodplain when obstructions are removed from the floodway, and the economic and environmental value returned to the city on a Greenway creation. Daylighting was also commented on as the 'number one' EPA successful and recommended method to clean up urban watersheds. Students comment on daylighting was that this could be an option in the coming years but is not in the current Master Plan.
  • The ACWG feels many communities in Michigan have had great success with greenway construction including Kalamozoo's Arcadia Creek Greenway, Grand Rapids' Grand River Greenway and Trailway, Flint's Gilkey Creek Daylighting and Greenway. 
  • Ann Arbor needs to move on the Greenway plan soon before the floodplain/floodway properties are all built on, and like the failed implantation of the Ann Arbor Natural Features Ordnance, have very little left to protect or enhance when the projects finally get started. Setting aside city owned land for a potential Greenway is an obvious step that has started in part but needs more land preservation resolutions in the near term.
  • CTN recorded the presentation and will soon be made available for viewing on various web sites. 
  • Link to ACGC Master Plan details
  • Link to CTN video of the Presentation at A2GovTv city web site now available, titled 'Green the Ways', from 12/16/14


Mayor of Grand Rapids Warn of Flood Potential from Global Warming

 


City of Grand Rapids

  • "I only pray (our awareness) hasn’t arrived too late". - Mayor Heartwell.
  • In a December 12, 2014 MLive.Com article Mayor George Heartwell discusses plans to deal with changes caused by Global Warming on Grand Rapids.  From the article:
  • ' “There’s more water coming and we need to be prepared for it,” Mayor George Heartwell said during a Thursday, Dec. 4, teleconference about a new report from The Rocky Mountain Climate Organization and Natural Resources Defense Council. “The changes in climate are accelerating and the need to address them is critical. Creating resilient communities has to be our top priority."
  • “I only pray (our awareness) hasn't arrived too late to save us from the most devastating impacts of climate change.”
  • The report documents an 89-percent increase from 1964 to 2013 in the frequency of Michigan storms with at least 2 inches of precipitation in a single day, and a 128-percent increase in the southern half of the state’s Lower Peninsula.
  • The Natural Resources Defense Council is touting the data in an effort to influence Michigan’s energy future, emphasizing conservation and the use of renewable energy like solar and wind. More green infrastructure also is a way of dealing with "one of the most serious threats that Michigan has ever faced," said Theo Spencer, a senior advocate for the council.
  • "We've got to think differently about how we deal with all this water," he said.
  • “We can’t solve this problem by building more gray infrastructure, by putting more and larger pipes in the ground,” Heartwell said. '
  • Link to MLive article


Rail Road Berm Underpass Seems to be a Doable Project, Comments from City Staff
  • Comments from city staff indicate the berm underpass near Depot St. is in the preliminary process of being planned with funding investigations with completion possible in two to three years
  • This project would greatly reduce the floodplain in the area with many at risk homes, allow easy access from the proposed Greenway to the river and Border to Border Trail (BtB)
  • MDOT, owners of the rail track, has indicated in the recent past that they are very interested in the BtB connection an underpass would allow and reduced illegal crossing of tracks to or from the river, among other beneficial effects.
  • An underpass with bike and pedestrian access, and flood reductions would be a very worthwhile project with clearly a very large return on investment.



Proposed Agenda: 

November 20, 2014


Sanitary Sewer Wet Weather Evaluation Citizen Advisory Committee (SSWWE CAC) FDD Public Meeting Tonight Nov. 19


Basement Footer Drains to SS, OHM


  • This self selected and invited members committee is looking at the Footer Drain Disconnect (FDD) program, that has been partially put on hold, to help determine its 'economically viable, community acceptable alternative(s)' and make recommendations to City Council. Meetings running between 8/13 and 11/19.
  • Final public meeting tonight at Slawson Middle School Auditorium at 6:30.
  • Generally the CAC has recommended an end to mandatory FDD's. Continuation of Developer Offset Mitigation (DOM) with voluntary FDD's and changes in options for other mitigation. Several target areas are being suggested with options to reduce threats of flooding. 
  • A survey of  FDD and DOM participants (2,350) was requested and conducted by the consultants with information that helped in the formation of the recommendations. Additional help came from professional consultant follow-up inspections of some affected homes.
  • Some recommendations for some city assistance for some lower income residents and fix a very low number of out of compliance FDD installations. Recommendations to help prevent out of compliance installations.
  • FDD removed a significant amount 65% of clean water from SS in four neighborhoods. Only 36% in one for unknown reasons. Risk of basement flooding from SS backups was reduced in target districts.
  • Install permanent gauges (meters) in critical sanitary sewer system areas and improvements in SS maintenance program. A program of permanent gauging was stressed by the ACWG.
  • SS Modeling for this study did not show known major flood hazard in the Glendale neighborhood which shows a lack of data to support some of the modeling. The three blocked SS pipes were fixed after a neighborhood survey showed major flooding problems exist, including SW. More data and permanent gauges would go a long way in effective planning and basement sewage flooding prevention.
  • The ACWG as a member of this CAC stressed the need to reduce the SW flooding that would seem to contribute to sewage flooding in some neighborhoods. This is being considered but funding is a concern. Preserving the neighborhoods from sewage and stormwater flooding should take a high priority to protect life, quality of life and the city tax base. The Residential Community contribute about 80% of the tax base in the city. It would seem tax brakes for developers and DDA TIF funds in the city would have less a priority and be a source of funding well into the $M+ per year.
  • The Ann Arbor resident's Court case, 'FDDs as a Taking of Personal Property', is still to be decided which may change the city's options for flood mitigation.
  • Videos and final report of the meetings can be found at the link below.
  • Link to city web site.

 

Proposed Residential Development at 221 Felch St. in the Allen's Creek Floodplain Planning, Meeting Dec 2



Proposed Residential Development Site
(Right click to view larger in new tab or window)
Floodplain in green, floodway in blue


 


 


Planning meeting to discuss zoning change and conceptual plan for 51 unit apartment building.

A recently approved building with parking below on Depot St. in the AC floodplain has had several occurrences of the parking area flooding in the recent past. Link and Link to videos on Youtube.

This area should be the location of the Greenway along the Allen's Creek floodway and floodplain not new residential with folks who may not know their parking and living in a floodplain (or maybe very close to or in the floodway if we had some decent data to use in our models). 


With the large reductions in cost to flow and depth gauging the city needs to move to permanent gauging, with the city's existing telemetry, to understand the true nature of the flood hazard in this watershed and other watersheds. We keep installing and removing temporary gauging at great cost, some knowledgeable sources say, more than the cost of permanent installations.


Planning meeting for 221 Felch St.
  • Dec 2nd, Tues,  7pm
  • County Building, Commissioners Conference Room
  • 220 N. Main




    Greenway Master Plan in Progress - Online Survey Available

     

    ACGC

    • Students of Associate Professor Larissa Larsen and Eric Dueweke are currently working on a Master Plan for the Greenway.
    • Public meetings will be planned to bring in interested neighborhood groups and residents.
    • An online public input survey is available see link. 
    • Link


    Proposed Agenda:


    October 16, 2014


    Miller Ave Green Streets Rain Gardens


    DSC_0009.JPG

    City of Ann Arbor, Fall 2013



    Shot from linked video, see below; ACWG, Summer 2014


    • During a recent heavy rain fall event Miller Ave seemed to be working well. The roadway also looks much nicer with planting along the road, bump outs for easier street crossing and traffic islands.

    • City staff indicate that Miller seems to be working well in rain storms.

    • Most of the street runoff in this new design will be absorbed and cleansed in Bio Swales and Rain Gardens on either side of the newly constructed roadway.

    • Click This Link to see a short clip of the Rain Gardens in action during a rain storm late this summer.

    • Many additional Green Streets are either in the construction phase or design phase for Ann Arbor.

    • Project Link: http://www.a2gov.org/departments/project-management/under-construction/Pages/MillerAvenueImprovements(MapletoNewport).aspx


    Greenway Master Plan in Progress

    ACGC

    • Students of Associate Professor Larissa Larsen and Eric Dueweke are currently working on a Master Plan for the Greenway.

    • Public meetings will be planned to bring in interested neighborhood groups and residents.

    • The student planners and Greenway Conservancy members will be Ann Arbor Farmers’ Market on Saturdays through October 25th to answer your questions and hear your input about the Greenway at the northeastern side Market outside the entrance to Kerrytown.

    • An online public input survey will be available October 21st!

    • Link


    Sanitary Sewer Wet Weather Evaluation Citizen Advisory Committee (SSWWE CAC) FDD Meeting. Last Meeting was on Sept 17


    Basement Footer Drains to SS, OHM


    • This self selected and invited members committee is looking at the FDD program, that has been partially put on hold, to help determine its 'economically viable, community acceptable alternative(s)' and make recommendations to City Council. Meetings running between 8/13 and 10/14.

    • The group has agreed in principle, with a push from the ACWG, to recommend permanent gauging for future projects to obtain better data to increase model accuracy and lower costs in the long term. These may be level gauges installed in manholes with radio connection to city hall which are less expensive then flow gauges. Flow gauges may be useful in some locations. We do currently have a few permanent flow gauges in the watershed.

    • Level gauges would be valuable for many reasons: data collection for model calibration, pipe failure warnings, determine effectiveness of a recently completed project, help plan for projects that would give 'Most Bang for the Buck'.

    • This project alone has spent $200,000 for temporary gauges. Many projects have and are ongoing with installation of temporary gauges.

    • A UM grant for gauging with radio connections has been awarded to do some similar small scale work in the city. This is an effort to help predict flooding down stream of gauges to alert city officials and residents. Preliminary work has been done to setup a web site and do basic remote gauge data collection.

    • Also there is support in the CAC for modeling that included Global Warming effects in future rainfall calculations.

    • Several issues relating to the costs the city can commit to with a utility are under discussion. Can the city provide sump pump insurance, generally it is thought this is not legal in utility spending.

    • Some options to provide special assistance for hardship cases, i.e. a disabled person cannot go up and down stairs to check the sump pump as could be needed in very wet weather conditions, should they have a backup system installed at city expense or other considerations.

    • Next and last CAC meeting Nov 12, Tappen Media center 6:30-9

    • Videos of the meetings can be found at the link below.

    • Link to city web site.

    Coalition for Action on Remediation of Dioxane (CARD) Update

    CARD

    • One time well testing with several wells will be done in the Ann Arbor area paid for by the MDEQ, including along the Honey Creek.

    • MDEQ did not contact local government or individuals who have been following this contamination for decades. CARD has issues with the well locations and is unhappy we were not contacted for suggestions for locations.

    • CARD may submit recommended well locations as has been done in the past and ignored in the past.

    • The wells and testing may be in response to the USEPA effort to set a drinking water standard for the 1,4-Dioxane at 10 to 3 ppb in response to new analysis of the toxicity of this common ground water contaminant.

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




    Proposed Agenda:


    September 18, 2014



    Permanent Gauging Needed in the Watershed


    www.isco.com

    • The city and county over the years has paid to install temporary gauging for many studies, at great expense.

    • This is for both sanitary and storm water flows

    • The cost to install permanent gauging has dropped in cost with technological improvements.

    • At the last FDD meeting when asked the OHM consultant agreed the costs have come down to a point as low as $500-$800 per gauge. 'Set and forget' are how some of these gauges are described with non-contact lasers, long life batteries and cell or other wireless transmission.

    • The city currently has available wireless which could be used to collect the data.

    • Having gauges could help prevent the situation as we found in the Glendale neighborhood with 3 blocked sanitary sewer lines in a 4-5 block area. Gauges would have alerted the need for crews to come out and inspect and fix the lines soon after being blocked, not waiting till basement flooding of sewage has occurred.

    • Changes in development could have accurate predictions of flood potential with proposed added flows.

    • Additionally the data would be invaluable in modeling efforts to show the most 'bang for the buck' in our city and county sanitary and stormwater upgrade planning and upgrades to the floodplain map.

    • We hope we can work with our city and county planners to start introducing these in critical areas.



    County Water Resources Commissioner's Office (WRCO) Fails to Invite Watershed Groups to Proposed, now Adopted, Changes in Rules

    • At a recent public meeting the ACWG asked why we did not get an notice of public discussion focus groups. At the meeting we were assured by the WRCO that the notice was sent out. Checking our emails showed not such a notice.

    • We did receive an email of apology a few days after the meeting that the notice was inadvertently not sent out to watershed groups as was planned.

    • Comment from the WRCO: "We would welcome any input within a reasonable time frame and are completely open to the idea of making any revisions if appropriate."

    • Generally the changes are positive but it would have been great to have some comment before they were adopted. Bringing in stakeholders may be a requirement of the state that this be included in any rules changes.

    • We may find a need to submit comments at a later time.

    • Link to WRCO


    Sanitary Sewer Wet Weather Evaluation Citizen Advisory Committee (SSWWE CAC) FDD Meeting.  Next Public Meeting Sept 17, Slawson Middle School 6:30p


    Basement Footer Drains to SS, OHM


    • Public Meeting this week at Slawson Auditorium

    • This self selected and invited members committee is looking at the FDD program, that has been partially put on hold, to help determine its 'economically viable, community acceptable alternative(s)' and make recommendations to City Council.

    • The current efforts are to provide guidance as to changes in the FDD so past mistakes can be avoided, if a  FDD program should continue in any form.

    • A conflict may be the OHM is heading this evaluation effort while CDM is heading the current FDD effort. CDM's loss of a FDD program could be seen as an OHM's gain to propose tank installations in problem areas vs FDD's.

    • The FDD case is currently in court with citizens opposing the manditory FDD program as a 'Taking' of their property with footer disconnects with installation of sump pumps.

    • Another option being discussed may be to add a back up system to the sump pump installs as has been requested by some attendees and their group.

    • The desire to suspend the FDD effort could save the city millions in the years to come, but only if basement flooding and overflows at the treatment plant can be assured not to happen again.

    • Past OHM modeling of sanitary sewer flows presented to the FDD group did not show the 3 blocked lines in the Glendale neighborhood which leads one to question the model effort that is being use to make some of these assertions. The ACWG has used this example to point up the need for permanent gauging to avoid these errors.

    • Modeling from this study could be used to upgrade our floodplain map to make them more accurate.

    • With Warren getting a 500 year flood August 13, 2014 with 2 deaths, 23,000 homes and businesses flooded and $1.3B in losses (and that's just what happened in Warren during this last large storm event) it would seem like a fair warning of what could happen here in the Ann Arbor area with Global Warming changes happening now to SE MI.


    Coalition for Action on Remediation of Dioxane (CARD) Update

    CARD

    • Recent comment from county staff is that the MDEQ is expected to follow the US-EPA lead (possible requirement) and lower the 1,4-Dioxane drinking water standard, maybe as low as 8 to 3 ppb. We are currently at a state defined cleanup standard of 85 ppb, 2,800 ppb in direct flow into the Huron River below Barton Pond.

    • This notice of proposed change could come in the next few months.

    • Comments from a citizen (reliable source) working on the Part 201 Environmental Cleanup Standards indicate that the 'Regulated Community' is having an undo influence over the rewriting of the statute.

    • If this change in the drinking water standard occurs it will signal a major improvement for the cleanup effort and require much change in the current weak remediation effort.

    • Flows toward Barton Pond to the north east, source for 90% of our drinking water, is of great concern of many following this effort. CARD has commented on this in the past and continues to propose changes to avoid this major pollution contamination to the city drinking water source.

    • Judge Shelton is no longer in charge of the court case involving the Dispute Resolution, as he has been age limited at 70, and now goes to another court. The speculation is that the city may get a better hearing from the new judge.

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


    Stormwater Advisory Group (SWAG) September Meeting Comments

    SWAG   City of Ann Arbor Seal

    • This is a city wide SW modeling effort contracted with CDM. Last meeting was Sept. 4.

    • At the last meeting ACWG made comment of a need for permanent gauging in place of the usual temporary gauging as is being used in this effort.

    • We also commented on the current notion that 6" of water flowing in the streets is an acceptable method of handling large rain events. If this is the case homes below street grade could have water flow down driveways into garages and homes. We have seen this type of flooding in the Glendale neighborhood in the recently completed citizen survey.

    • It was commented in past meetings, when asked by the ACWG, that an Allen's Creek sub modeling effort will be seriously considered on completion of this effort, and should not cost very much time or funds. A CIP for a AC study was in the 2010 CIP plan and those funds were used for the city wide modeling.

    • Link




    August, 2014 No Meeting due to Travel and Vacation Schedules


    Current Watershed Issues of Interest:

    Proposed Residential Development at 221 Felch St. in the Allen's Creek Floodplain


    Proposed Residential Development Site

    (Right click to view larger in new tab or window)

    Floodplain in green, floodway in blue

    We have kindly asked for the site plans for this site with floodplain and floodway drawn a week ago and have not yet received it from J B Moore & Accoc.

    Very loose approximation of the location of the building is show and is guided from a very small image on a postcard that was sent out, shown below.

    Postcard Image, J B Moore

    These types of proposals assume we have a valid map of the floodplain and floodway which has been described by consultants hired by the city as basically 'unusable' and, city staff and other consultants as 'very loosely calibrated'. It it appropriate to place residential development it this location?

    This area should be the location of the Greenway along the Allen's Creek floodway and floodplain not new residential with folks who may not know their parking and living in a floodplain (or maybe very close to or in the floodway if we had some decent data to use in our models).


    With the large reductions in cost to flow and depth gauging the city needs to move to permanent gauging, with the city's existing telemetry, to understand the true nature of the flood hazard in this watershed and other watersheds. We keep installing and removing temporary gauging at great cost, some say more than the cost of permanent installations.

    Citizen participation meeting for 221 Felch St.:

    • Aug 12th, Tues,  6:30-8pm

    • DDA - Development Conference room

    • 150 S. 5th




    Current Watershed Issues of Interest:


    July, 2014 No Meeting due to Travel and Vacation Schedules



    312 Glendale Dr. Condo Development Proposal Postponed Again: Exacerbate Flooding in the Neighborhood



    Results of residents neighborhood survey; site is to left in dark olive tone, flow to the right


    • At the Planning Commission meeting on July 1 the ACWG with local residents raised issues relating to the flooding occurring just down stream of this site.

    • The PC did not extensively discuss this flood hazard as shown in the survey results above.

    • The PC did postpone decision based on the plan having a 7' deep retention basin with fencing as an issue. The neighborhood said this was out of place for a residential area, an eye sore and dangerous to children and pets.

    • 3 blocked city sewer drains lines have been cleared in the last few months after city crews examined sewer pipes in this area, it would seem in response to the neighborhood survey.

    • The resident's survey, modeled after city's surveys, shows about 50% if homes in about a 5 block area have water problems including sewage flooding in basements.

    • The residents file suit against the city and Hillside Terrace, just west of this site, shortly after Hillside Terrace was built and settled out of court in the 1970's for damages from flooding.

    • The public meetings for this proposal had the largest turnout of residents for any development proposal public meeting the vast majority oppose the development.

    • The ACWG and the neighborhood is proposing a Greenbelt purchase of the site for greenspace and stormwater management. Only about 1% of Greenbelt acres have been purchased inside the city to date when proponents of the Greenbelt Millage stated before the vote that about 1/3 of the funds would be used in the city.

    • Ann Arbor Chronicle with many details Article Link



    Condo Development Very Near Loosely Calibrated Floodplain went before Planning Commission Again on July 1st


    Floodplain in Green, Floodway in Blue (City online GIS)


    Proposed Development on Right (Alex de Parry)

    • At the Planning Commission meeting the ACWG raised issues relating to the sites location in and very near the Allen's Creek floodplain and floodway.

    • The packet given to the PC did not have floodplain or floodway designations even though the corner of the site is in the floodplain.

    • We asked at the PC meeting what the elevation of the lowest part of the building relative to the floodplain and did not get a response from the PC or developer.

    • From the plans it shows the lowest point to be 814' and the floodplain at ~813'.

    • Contrary to the impression left by comments made by the PC at this location the floodway and floodplain are very close to each other.

    • PC voted to support the development without critical discussion of the floodplain issues or asking to see the location of the floodplain relative to this site.

    • This is a proposed Condo development on Liberty (318) near the railroad tracks (at the current drive thru car wash site) is yet another example of development that needs a more reliable floodplain map as the proposal is on a site that is just in and right up against the floodplain and floodway with parking in the lower level.

    • Without a reliable floodplain map it is hard to say if this site will have flooding problems or block flows causing more flooding in the Old West Side in a very large rain event or flood the lowest portion of this development.

    • Ann Arbor Chronicle Article Link



    Sanitary Sewer Wet Weather Evaluation Citizen Advisory Committee (SSWWE CAC) Meeting


    Basement Footer Drains to SS, OHM

    • This self selected and invited members committee is looking at the FDD program, that has been partially put on hold, to help determine its 'economically viable, community acceptable alternative(s)' and make recommendations to City Council. Meetings running between 8/13 and 9/14.

    • Some residents feel the city should be willing to pay for any hardship imposed on the mandatory footer disconnect program. This by some accounts include work to change yard grading that cause flows toward the house, backup sump pumps, sump pump maintenance... Hard to see where the city would approve all these types of spending after paying for the disconnecting footers from sanitary sewer lines and installing sump pumps.

    • Any issues with past work seems to be something the city is willing to undertake and has done so in many cases in the recent past.

    • The ACWG is involved in a subgroup that is looking at the failures reported in the FDDs to date. Of the 2,741 FDD done to date a small percentage have reported problems with the work done. Initial reports to the subgroup indicate some of these issues warrant continued work to mitigate the problems. For example issues may have arose where homeowners asked for alternative locations for sump pump location which complicated installation and may have caused problems. This discussion in the subgroup has just started and is ongoing for the next few months.

    • As was noted in the past a major effort needs to be undertaken in the Lawton neighborhood to reduce the stormwater flood hazard which seems to be exacerbating the FDD effort unlike in many of the other neighborhoods where the FDD have occurred. Some of these homes were placed in old creek beds and wetlands without regard to the flood hazard. City's GIS online maps show this with 1940's aerial photos overlayed on the current street map.

    • The Lawton area received the major rain fall effects of the March 15, 2012 Dexter Tornado storm with NEXRAD estimates at 5-6" rain in about and hour for this area which would be a historic rain fall record for Ann Arbor.

    • A Technical Oversight and Advisory Group (“TOAG”) is working on oversite of the FDD and other sewer and stormwater studies. This is a group of volunteers with backgrounds in relevant areas, joined by city staff.

    • This group also uses a BaseCamp network system to share notes and files that is not open to the public and like the SSWWE CAC's BaseCamp (now open to the public) should also be open to the public to meet the Open Meetings requirements.

    • The TOAG has recently released comments relating to Global Warming/Climate Change and said in part:

      • The other Wet Weather studies being undertaken by Ann Arbor should similarly acknowledge

      • and recognize the importance of climate change as a factor which affects the City’s

      • infrastructure. The most obvious impact of changes in precipitation patterns is on the City’s

      • Storm Sewer system, but the Sanitary Sewer System may also be affected to the extent that

      • stormwater enters into the Sanitary Sewer System via footing drains, manholes, pipe joints,

      • cracks, etc. The public may be less aware of the impacts of climate change on the Sanitary

      • Sewer System, so it will be important for the consultant team to explain the increased risk of

      • basement flooding due to the overall climate changes that are being observed.  



    ANN ARBOR ONGOING STORMWATER ADVISORY GROUP MEETING

    • This group of interested citizens, stormwater professionals and other stakeholders support the work of the stormwater model calibration and analysis project being conducted by CDM.

    • At the last meeting on July 15 we asked for inclusion of effects of Global Warming on stormwater management. This is being considered. OHM has included a 15% increase in flows in recent presentations to the SSWWE CAC to account for Global Warming effects, we asked for similar inclusion for this CDM analysis and modeling. It is being considered.

    • Their analysis will include many different storm types including from 5 year (20% chance) to 500 year (.2% chance)  storms.

    • We ask to have permanent flow gauges to help with modeling calibration and flood hazard analysis. The cost of this gauging is much less now. The ACWG has some information about other communities who have done this which we will share.

      • A UM professor Branko Kerkez, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, who came to the last meeting, noted he has a pending grant submitted to do this in a targeted area, that is still awaiting funding. He has already setup a network hub at UM to collect the data that could be used with installed flow gauges.

    • Analysis may so relevant changes in the city FIRM maps which could be submitted to FEMA for modification of the official 100 year (1% chance) flood maps.

    • It is anticipated that a public presentation will be made in September.

    • Link


    Primary Election Tuesday August 5

    • The candidates we feel will support progressive watershed management, and enviromental and economic advancement are:

    • Sumi Kailasapathy, 1st Ward

    • Nancy Kaplan, 2nd Ward

    • Stephen Kunselman, Mayor

    • Bob Dascola, 3rd Ward

    • Vote August 5th







    Proposed Agenda: 

    June 19, 2014



    Coalition for Action on Remediation of Dioxane (CARD) Developments



    • Recent data from monitoring well show higher than expected 1,4-Doixane levels very near the northern Prohibition Zone (PZ). Levels are very close if not over the the 85 ppb limit which could require again moving the PZ to the northeast. This flow is in the direction of 85% - 90% of Ann Arbor drinking water source the Barton Pond.
    • Few wells are in this area, contrary to DEQ requests, Judge Shelton did not order new wells in this area. More wells and data are need in this area to determine the flow of 1,4-Doixane as the Barton Pond is in the path of this flow.
    • More effective cleanup is need to capture this plume before it gets to close to Barton, to stop it from contaminating our drinking water source which will be very hard and very expensive to replace.
    • Judge Shelton is leaving the bench later this year because of age limits and a new judge will need to decide if the court should be the arbiter of this clean up effort or turn it fully back to the MDEQ, which would be the better outcome.
    • The MDEQ has said in the past that if the plume is shown to be moving to our drinking water source they will change this to a much more serious drinking water protection effort from a groundwater remediation effort and remove it from Judge Shelton's Court.
    • The state is working toward changing the Part 201 Environmental Cleanup Regulations including those for 1,4-Doixane. Matt Naud Environmental Coordinator for the City has been invited and is fully involved in these discussions as are two others environmental scientist from the Ann Arbor area. Getting the changes done by the end of the year seems to be unlikely at this point as none of the hard discussion making efforts have yet to take place. It seems some in the higher levels of state government feel that the EPA will lower the standard for this compound and that will force the state to comply to the new standard. It could be lowered to 8 ppb or lower for a drinking water standard, MI is currently at 85 ppb for a cleanup standard (there is currently no drinking water standard). Much more intense effort may need to occur.
    • Link to CARD site



    Greenway First Tuesday Meet-up Events - Community Discussions



    ACGC

    • Greenway Community Discussions Hosted by the Allen Creek Greenway Conservancy (ACGC)
    • First Tuesday of each month 'First Tuesday Meet-ups at Bill's Beer Garden'
    • 218 S. Ashley Street (in the parking lot of Downtown Home and Garden) 
    • July 1, August 5, and September 2; 6:00 pm
    • Come to the Meet-ups and discuss your vision for the Greenway.
    • In recent discussions with MDOT on the proposed ped/bike tunnel under the RR birm at Depot St. has shown they have great interest in the Border to Border Trail linkups in Ann Arbor. Linking the Greenway to the BtB Trail would allow easy access to the downtown and vice versa. Opening up this link could be a great benefit to the downtown and the city.
    • Many studies have shown bicyclists and pedestrians spend much more money in urban areas then those in cars.
    • Currently many communities are pushing for protected bike lanes in urban centers. The Greenway, BtB trail and the several connecting ravines to the west offer a opportunity for this safer biking in Ann Arbor effort.
    • Additional reduced flood hazard of an open floodway and floodplain, native plantings, festival sites, art displays and gathering spaces would be beneficial to the community. Daylighting may be a real option in years to come in the Greenway connecting the community to the Allen's Creek and its natural system's improvement.

    Sanitary Sewer Wet Weather Evaluation Citizen Advisory Committee (SSWWE CAC) Meetings; Next Meeting June 18, Malletts Creek Libary, 6:30p


    Basement Footer Drains to SS, OHM


    • This self selected and invited members committee is looking at the FDD program, that has been partially put on hold, to help determine its 'economically viable, community acceptable alternative(s)' and make recommendations to City Council. Meetings running between 8/13 and 7/14.
    • Contrary to comments made at the CAC Meetings the FDD do not seem overwhelm the SW system. According to tests run by OHM* CDM for Ann Arbor's city wide stormwater modeling they reported on May 20th at a public meeting reviewing new data that in the worst case FDD would contribute at most 4% of pipe volumes. Much lower than has been assumed by many.
    • This meeting will be FDD-SSWWE Combined CACs meeting.
    • Base Camp posting will now happen every two weeks for public viewing, this after the ACWG asked in two previous meetings (and earlier) to open up the information to the public. There has been discussions of Open Meetings Issues with a Closed Messaging system (Base Camp) used by staff and the CAC members. Contrary to some city staff and city lawyers judgement's, even though the consultant OHM had setup Base Camp it is still a city government effort paid for by the city and as such should be fully open to the public in near real time as is practical.
    • Efforts to control stormwater in the Lawton area is a major problem for the area. Having homes built in old creek beds and wetlands has proved to make SW management very difficult. With Global Warming effects causing larger rain events for SE Michigan it is critical to evaluate any opportunity that is available.

    Reconstruction of Pontiac Trail as a Green Street to Start this Month

    • Reconstruction to start in June.
    • Green Street Policy the city past recently will allow for Rain Gardens and Bio-Swales to capture runoff and infiltrate it into the soil reducing costs, flood and pollution hazards.
    • Sidewalks will also be extended in some areas also to allow kids to walk to nearby school.
    • Miller St. recently completed with this type of treatment is said to be preforming very well in recent large rain events. 
    • City streets are said to contribute about 50% of the runoff in the city.
    • Link




    Proposed Agenda: 

    May 15, 2014



    Miller Ave. Green Streets Rain Garden - Bio Swale Tour


    DSC_0009.JPG


    City of Ann Arbor, Fall 2013
    • Saturday, May 17, 9:30am., Rain or shine
    • Near Miller and Saunders Crescent Rd. Intersection
    • County and City staff will give tour and answer questions
    • Most of not all the street runoff in this new design will be absorbed and cleansed in Bio Swales and Rain Gardens on either side of the newly constructed roadway.
    • Previous level of road imperviousness will be reduced
    • Additionally bike lanes, raised pedestrian crossing islands and installation of new sidewalks in areas where none existed
    • The normally high flows and pollution from the street into the Allen's Creek and Huron River will be greatly reduced, and the overall cost vs conventional roadway construction is said to be lower in local and national studies.
    • This project was started even before the Green Streets Policy was passed by City Council, and is a good example of the potential benefits of this policy both environmental and economic.
    • Link


    Greenway Event - Community Design Charette



    ACGC

    • Greenway Community Design Charette Hosted by the Allen Creek Greenway Conservancy (ACGC)
    • Saturday May 17th, 4-6pm. Free pizza
    • Pizza Pino's  
    • 221 W. Liberty Street
    • ACGC: "With a master plan on the way, and new exciting visions of Allen Creek Greenway coming online, we want you and fellow Ann Arborites to come contribute their own designs.  Art supplies and paper will be provided, so bring the whole family and a bunch of ideas!  Then take a tour with us along the pathway.
    • If you cannot make our Charette, we encourage everyone to take pictures of your favorite bits of Ann Arbor and post them on our Facebook page.  Be sure to Like us if you haven't yet!"
    • Like other Michigan communities the Greenway has potential to be both an economic and environmental engine for the area - with near downtown open green space, flood hazard and water pollution reductions, alternative transportation walking and biking linking the Border to Border Trail, festival revenue generating and gathering space, and increased watershed awareness.

    Condo Development Very Near Loosely Calibrated Floodplain Goes before Planning Commission May 20 


     

    Floodplain in Green, Floodway in Blue (City online GIS)


    Proposed Development on Right (Alex de Parry)

    • A recent proposed Condo development on Liberty (318) near the railroad tracks (at the current drive thru car wash site) is yet another example of development that needs a more reliable floodplain map as the proposal is on a site that is just in and right up against the floodplain and floodway with parking in the lower level.
    • Without a reliable map it is hard to say if this site will have flooding problems or block flows causing more flooding in the Old West Side in a very large rain event.
    • More of these types of developments will be coming to council for approval as the floodplain area is considered by some as a underdeveloped part of the city.
    • We have heard from developers, planners, consultant's hydrologists, as recently as at the city public meeting on the Rail Road Berm Under Passage Proposal, that the floodplain map is either 'not reliable' or 'very loosely calibrated'. 
    • The Fox Awning apartment building on S Main St., just starting construction, is another site very close to the drawn floodplain with parking below and underground the building. It is about just 2' above the drawn floodplain at its lowest point to the north and may be much closer in a meaningful map revision.
    • Additionally Climate Change's more intense rain events for our area have not been addressed in the new floodplain maps.


    Footer Drain Disconnect Citizen Advisory Committee (FDD CAC) Meetings
    Next Meeting May 14, Slawson Middle School 6:30p


    Basement Footer Drains to SS, OHM


    • This self selected and invited members committee is looking at the FDD program, that has been partially put on hold, to help determine its 'economically viable, community acceptable alternative(s)' and make recommendations to City Council. Meetings running between 8/13 and 7/14.
    • One major concern is that the sanitary sewer (SS) flow models presented so far don't seem to represent the problems the Glendale Neighborhood has experienced in recent years based on the residents neighborhood survey, which showed extensive basement flooding of SS. About half of the homes report having SS or SW flooding issues. City staff have recently found several partially or fully blocked SS in the area where some have now been cleared and others to be to be cleared soon. 
    • Are other neighborhood similarly misrepresented in the models where footer disconnects have been and could be an effective method to prevent SS basement flooding?
    • Main items to be discussed in Meeting Agenda:
      • Decision on Posting Basecamp CAC Shared Messages and File Entries on a SSWWE Library Site 
      •  System Scenarios and Neighborhood SW flows Models
      •  Intro to City Utility Capital Funding


    Scio Residents for Safe Water (SRSW) and Coalition for Action on Remediation of Dioxane (CARD), ACWG at the City of Ann Arbor Green Fair


    NexRad Rainfall Estimation 5-6" Rain Yesterday Afternoon, May 11, Just North of Ann Arbor

    • Large rain event just north of Ann Arbor, (right click image to view full size)
    • 1.8" on our house rain gauge which is close to the estimation from WeatherUnderground site for our area.
    • Deep ponding on roadways on Ann Arbor's west side observed

    ANN ARBOR ONGOING STORMWATER ADVISORY GROUP MEETING

    • When: Tue, May 20, 4pm – 5pm
    • Where: Ann Arbor District Library Downtown Branch, 343 S. Fifth Ave., Ann Arbor, MI (map)
    • This group of interested citizens, stormwater professionals and other stakeholders support the work of the stormwater model calibration and analysis project.
    • Link

    NYT Opinion: The Toxic Brew in Our Yards - Unnecessary Polluting Yard Chemicals 

    • From the article - New York Times, May 10, 2014:
    • "[This spring] many of us will be using chemicals like glyphosate, carbaryl, malathion and 2,4-D. But they can end up in drinking water, and in some cases these compounds or their breakdown products are linked to an increased risk for cancer and hormonal disruption.
    • The United States Fish and Wildlife Service says homeowners use up to 10 times more chemicals per acre than farmers do. Some of these chemicals rub off on children or pets, but most are washed with rainwater into our streams, lakes and rivers or are absorbed into our groundwater. These are the sources of our drinking water, and tests show these chemicals are indeed contaminating our water supply.
    • Many chemicals that we use very casually on our lawns cause long-term health problems in ways that have only recently been understood. They “disrupt,” or throw out of whack, the endocrine system, made up of glands and hormones that control almost every aspect of our bodies’ functions.
    • We need to see a perfect lawn not as enviable, but a sign of harm." (bold by us)
    • Ann Arbor relies on the Huron River for about 90% of our drinking water source, mainly surface water.
    • With Ann Arbor's ill advised addition of yard waste into the city composting stream these chemicals, if used in eatable gardens, may contaminate the products of the garden; many of these chemicals take a long time to break down even in composting environments, years in some cases. Yard chemical's producers clearly state that their products are not intended in eatable gardens, 'unintended uses'. Organic farms generally need to wait at least 3 years since last prohibited substances application. The city needs to revisit this change in the composting program.



    Current Watershed Issues of Interest:


    April 2014 No Meeting due to another FDD CAC meeting, Slawson 630-9p




    Greenway Event - Community Design Charette

    ACGC


    • Greenway Community Design Charette Hosted by the Allen Creek Greenway Conservancy (ACGC)

    • Saturday May 17th, 4-6pm. Free pizza

    • Pizza Pino's  

    • 221 W. Liberty Street

    • ACGC: "With a master plan on the way, and new exciting visions of Allen Creek Greenway coming online, we want you and fellow Ann Arborites to come contribute their own designs.  Art supplies and paper will be provided, so bring the whole family and a bunch of ideas!  Then take a tour with us along the pathway.

    • If you cannot make our Charette, we encourage everyone to take pictures of your favorite bits of Ann Arbor and post them on our Facebook page.  Be sure to Like us if you haven't yet!"

    • Like other Michigan communities the Greenway has potential to be both an economic and environmental engine for the area - with near downtown open green space, flood hazard and water pollution reductions, alternative transportation walking and biking linking the Border to Border Trail, festival revenue generating and gathering space, and increased watershed awareness.




    Footer Drain Disconnect Citizen Advisory Committee (FDD CAC) Meetings


    Basement Footer Drains to SS, OHM


    • Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) Meeting Thrs. April 17.

    • This self selected and invited members committee is looking at the FDD program, that has been partially put on hold, to help determine its 'economically viable, community acceptable alternative(s)' and make recommendations to City Council. Meetings running between 8/13 and 7/14.

    • The latest report of current findings from the consultants is that the FDD were very effective at reducing flows to the Treatment Plant and reducing basement flooding, of a mix sewage and stormwater, from footers or basement drains. Final results are still to be delivered. Their feeling is that the FDD program should be modified to greatly reduce or eliminate the requirement in target or other homes. FDD is a very costly program to the city and the expected gains in flow reductions may not be large enough to justify the on going project costs.

    • I asked for 100 year (1% chance) rain event modeling to be done with the planned 50 year modeling

    • I also asked about the ~50% reported sewer and storm water problems in residential surveys in the Glendale four block area, done by residents in planning for a new large development in the area, they said they will consider it in the modeling.

    • The CAC will make a recommendation in the months to come after the final report is presented. City council is expected to vote on the FDD program later this year after the CAC recommendations are presented.




    West Madison Rd., Green Street, Construction Problems this Winter


    Green Streets - US EPA


    • I had recent conversations with city staff on the problems this winter with Madison Rd. construction

    • The road is not finished, with the early unexpected winter weather in 2013 it was not possible to be completed as planned

    • Construction is progressing normally, no major issues with the work to date

    • The Green Streets aspects of the project did not affect the construction

    • When the ground frost is clear, next weeks or so, construction will be finished

    • Currently the finished layer of pavement has not been installed on the street




    Record Snowfall for Ann Arbor 2013-2014, Record El Nino Next?


    • 'As of March 12th Arbor moved above 90.3 inches of snow for the 2013-14 season, according to University of Michigan staff meteorologist Dennis Kahlbaum. That tops the record of 89.8 inches set in the 2007-08 season.'  M-Live

    • As predicted by many national studies for Michigan, Climate Change has increased precipitation events - rainfall and snowfall

    • With a potential record El Nino event forming in the Pacific major storm events may be in store for Michigan this year.

    • "we are currently observing what looks to be the strongest downwelling oceanic Kelvin wave event since satellite records began in the 1970s".

    • The past record El Nino 97/98 proved to cause major storms for much of the US with record heat waves and rain storms.




    Miller Ave. Green Streets Rain Garden - Bio Swale Tour


    Recently installed Rain Garden on Miller Ave., City of Ann Arbor


    City of Ann Arbor

    • Saturday, May 17 9:30am., Rain or shine near Miller and Saunders Crescent Rd. Intersection

    • City staff will give tour and answer questions

    • Most of not all the street runoff in this new design will be absorbed and cleansed in Bio Swales and Rain Gardens on either side of the newly constructed roadway.

    • The normally high flows and pollution from the street into the Allen's Creek and Huron River will be greatly reduced, and the overall cost vs conventional roadway construction is said to be lower in national studies.

    • Link

    • BTW: Sylvan St. Porous Roadway has been restored to good working order with a vacuum of the sand accidentally used on the roadway in 2013, city staff have recently reported

    • The road now infiltrates rain water at very good rates and should be able to handle very large rainfall events this spring, absorbing large rain falls and detoxifying road pollution




    Scio Residents for Safe Water (SRSW) and Coalition for Action on Remediation of Dioxane (CARD) at the Ann Arbor Earth Day Festival

    Ann Arbor Earth Day Festival



    2014 Ann Arbor Earth Day Festival

    Noon - 4 pm, Sunday, April 27, 2014

    Leslie Science Center [map]

    1831 Traver Road, Ann Arbor


    • "We'll have kid-friendly water-related educational activities for the youngsters as well as latest updates on the Pall/Gelman 1,4-dioxane contamination for the older folks."

    • ACWG as part of the CARD Group is co-sponsoring the table with SRSW.

    • 'Parking can be limited at the event so visitors are strongly encouraged to "go green" and carpool, bus, bike, or walk to the festival. Washtenaw Bicycling and Walking Coalition will be offering a free bike corral to those that ride in and the AAATA Route 2 stops at Plymouth Rd., only a short walk from the event. Details on the bus route can be found on the AAATA website here.'





    Current Watershed Issues of Interest: 


    March 2014; No meeting due to conflict with FDD CAC Meeting, Slawson 6:30-9p


    New Discussions on Developing 415 W. Washington City Owned Lot, Greenway Location



    415 West Washington, Current FEMA Map

    • At two council meetings in the last month the Mayor has suggested putting out an RFP again for the development of the 415 site, setting aside part for the Greenway (past discussion had a very thin strip of the Greenway running along the floodway).
    • Without a meaningful watershed study this would only be putting more structures in a potentially dangerous location.
    • There has been ample discussion over the years with knowledgeable staff, consultants and developers to conclude the floodplain/floodway map for the Allen's Creek is not reliable, this site is almost entirely in the floodplain and about the eastern third in the floodway. With a reliable map the floodway may cover much more of the site.
    • Some council members have suggested to us a resolution is in order to require a meaningful study which would allow for much more effective and safe planning in this watershed.
    • Discussions have also been ongoing of the same development option for the 721 N. Main St., city owned lot, also in the floodway floodplain and a Greenway location. The building on site is being considered for development, has a small portion of it in the drawn floodway, which may be much more with a reliable map.
    • See ACWG.ORG and ACGC for more information.

    Footer Drain Disconnect Citizen Advisory Committee (FDD CAC) Meetings


    Basement Footer Drains to SS, OHM


    • This self selected and invited members committee is looking at the FDD program, that has been partially put on hold, to help determine its 'economically viable, community acceptable alternative(s)' and make recommendations to City Council. Meetings running between 8/13 and 7/14.
    • A lawsuit has been filed against the city stating generally that requiring footer disconnects with sump pumps provided by the city is a 'Taking' of private property and should not continue.
    • At previous meetings I and others have suggested that the city must do something to prevent flooding in homes of clean groundwater and sewage, and reduce flows to the treatment plant of clean water that may cause sewage overflows into the Huron River. The FDD program may not be right for all neighborhoods depending on many factors that may cause a FDD to cause more flooding than it prevents. Other options are being considered including the use of large sewage holding tanks.
    • EPA is pressuring communities to plan for Climate Change and and SSOs that may accompany them.
    • Only one basement backup reported since inception of the program (and that may have been due a unrelated tree root blockage of the pipe from the house to the street). Three neighborhoods that had significant basement flooding (SS) have been almost completely disconnected to date. 
    • Rain water detention efforts are being proposed for the Lawton area in a separate study to help reduce flooding as has occurred to a large degree on March 15, 2012, a record 5-6" rain event for Ann Arbor.
    • Link to city web site.


    Discussion in Local Governments to Retrofit Parking Areas in the Stadium Bvld./Maple Area to Reduce Runoff 

     

    Big George's Green Roof, Big George's on Stadium Bvld. Ann Arbor

    • There are discussions to potentially retrofit some oversize parking lots in the Stadium Bvld./Maple Rd. areas with various methods to reduce the significant fresh water (stormwater) runoff.
    • Several ACWG members attended the Stadium Bvld. reconstruction meetings several years ago where we asked for such an effort. Many business owners from the area were supportive of this and described flooding of their buildings during heavy rain events which they were very unhappy.
    • Some additional work on Stadium Bvld did occur to detain runoff but an opportunity was lost to work with the business owners who were interested in doing their part to reduce flooding for them and their neighbors, some of which are their best customers.
    • After these discussions Big George's did include a large Green Roof on the construction of its new building, now available for event rental, and is used for product displays. 'Utilizing our roof space in this manner is not only an environmentally smart choice, but an economically smart one as well, saving our company energy costs in the long run.' They also used other techniques to capture runoff from the parking area. They also site the desire to help the area with flooding.
    • The amount of runoff from these oversize parking lots is contributing to flooding and pollution loading that can be prevented in very cost effective (cost saving) manners.



    'PUTTING A STOP TO POTHOLES?'  Porous Roadways are Much Less Pothole Prone, Another Benefit

    LA Pothole

    • From a recent article in a publication geared toward developers:
    • 'And porous paving has another big advantage: getting rid of many of those potholes. In Los Angeles, the pothole capital of America, conventional roads, highways and parking lots fail everywhere, all the time. But evidence suggests that permeable roads and highways hold up better than traditional ones. That’s because most often the porous roads are built with a thicker sub-base of gravel; because the permeable asphalt or concrete is poured deeper; and, mostly importantly, because of the permeability.
    • “We’re putting a stronger pavement down, so you’ll have a more durable lasting pavement, sure,” one contractor explained. “But the most important thing is that with conventional paving, instead of draining, storm-water forms puddles beneath the blacktop– that’s what makes them so vulnerable to potholing. You no longer have that issue with porous.”
    • Indeed, the data indicates that even after twenty years, porous pavements show little if any cracking or pothole problemsassociated with conventional paving. The surface wears well and porous asphalt retains its ability to handle rain water for many years.'
    • Although porous asphalt and pervious concrete do present some special challenges in installation and maintenance, when done right they have proven to work well. And when you consider the damage cause from the polluted storm-water runoff  that rushes off conventional roads and parking lots, it’s not hard to make the case that the new porous paving can bestaccomplish what developers and owners need to get done, especially environmentally.'
    • (bold by us)
    • Even the developers get itPOROUS PAVING: WITHIN TWENTY YEARS MOST PAVING IN CALIFORNIA COULD BE PERMEABLE ALLIANCE COMMERCIAL BROKERAGE REPORT, 3-15-14
    • Cost effective and environmentally beneficial porous roads are now being used from Portland Maine to Portland Oregon.



    Proposed Agenda

    Thursday; February 20, 2014


    Ann Arbor Green Streets Policy Get Council Approval
     
    Recently installed Rain Garden on Miller Ave., City of Ann Arbor
    • Tuesday night City Council approves Green Streets Policy Statement
    • ACWG has worked hard with the Water Committee of the Environmental Commission (EC) for over the last 2 years on this effort, to encourage this type of change in fresh water runoff (stormwater) management. Many communities are also moving toward similar changes in stormwater management.
    • After many public meetings including those with interested stakeholders and many revisions it was recently passed by the EC and sent on to council.
    • Ann Arbor streets contribute more then 54% of the City's runoff to the Huron River.
    • The Green Streets Policy could not have happened without substantial help of staff in both the outreach and policy formulation assistance they provided over a two year process. 
    • We feel the Green Streets Policy will greatly enhance the quality of life, flood hazard reduction in Ann Arbor and significantly reduce the environmental pollution loading to the Huron River and Lake Erie. In the recent years Lake Erie has had over 1/4 of the western side of the lake covered in algal blooms; with up to 20M using it for drinking water source.
    • To the credit of city staff Ann Arbor has already moved to implement a Green Streets program with the work already completed on many street projects and planed for several streets in the city.
    • The effects on Michigan from Climate Change are predicted to create more rain fall amounts in the years to come and with the flood hazard facing the city this effort over time will greatly help prevent loss of life, health and property. Additionally it will help shrink the floodplain preserving the tax base of the city, especially in the flood prone Allen's Creek Watershed. The Green Streets Policy will make Ann Arbor stand out as a forward thinking community solving difficult issues and saving tax payers funds. 
    • As noted by CM Mike Anglin the FEMA Insurance rates are expected to go up significantly (the east coast has seen proposed jumps of up to 10x ) in the next few years effecting large parts of the ACW and wide spread use of this effort could greatly reduce the need for flood insurance required of homes in floodplains by FEMA.
    • Also commented on by CM Anglin is the need to obtain open space in the city as a means to reduce the significant flood hazard facing the community, before these spaces are gone. The Green Belt Millage has set aside funds for Green Space inside the city which has had little use to date.
    • This Green Streets Policy statement has already received requests for more information from Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG) and the American Public Works Association.
    • This change will help the city meet requirements of the mandatory National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit required by the Clean Water Act.
    • Link to EC Green Streets Policy Statement

    Footer Drain Disconnect Citizen Advisory Committee (FDD CAC) Meetings
     
    Basement Footer Drains to SS, OHM
    • This self selected and invited members committee is looking at the FDD program, that has been partially put on hold, to help determine its 'economically viable, community acceptable alternative(s)' and make recommendations to City Council. Meetings running between 8/13 and 7/14.
    • With some homes in the Lawton neighborhood built in old creek beds and in wetlands it is clear that the design of some of these neighborhoods was very poor with regards to watershed effects and will prove to be very costly.
    • All options are being considered from discontinuing the FDD program, stormwater management changes to installation of large sewage holding tanks.
    • We and others have raised concerns on the use of sewage holding tanks after the initial plan in 2001 was to use sewage holding tanks in several woodlands in the city, that was changed to the less costly FDD program.
    • After discussing this in recent years with maintenance workers with the city is is clear that there are issues with getting qualified workers and the effectiveness of maintenance of these types of large holding tanks.
    • More discussion of the effects of large expensive sewage holding tanks needs to occur before we switch to this type of solution.
    • The cost of treating clean rain water and the potential of sanitary overflows into the Huron River at the over taxed treatment plan also need to be included in any calculations.
    • The Lawton neighborhood will need any and all options to solve this areas significant water problems. Flows from I94 and the nearby townships that are preventable need to be addressed.
    • Link to City FDD site

    Changes Coming in the Water Resources Office's Requirements
     
    • The Water Resources Commissioner's Office (WRC) is revising its stormwater requirements 
    • The proposals are said to rely much more heavily on rain water infiltration and less on detention and piping.
    • The City of Ann Arbor works closely with and relies on the WRC to approve developments and watershed improvements.
    • Public meetings will be held to discuss the, as yet unpublished, proposed changes.
    • The Green Streets Policy is an example of the changes in rain water management that is being proposed.
    • The ACWG has worked hard to encourage this type of change for Ann Arbor especially in the over taxed ACW and will be very interested in the proposed changes.

    MDEQ Potential Violation of the OMA when Members of CARD were Refused Notice of a 1,4-Dioxane Toxicology Presentation and Discussion with MDEQ
     
    • Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) Potential Violation of the Open Meetings Act (OMA) when members of the Coalition for Action on Remediation of Dioxane (CARD) asked to attend a planned meeting between the MDEQ and a Pall Corp. consultant to challenge the toxicity of 1,4-Doixane.
    • The meeting was held on October 8, 2013 without giving prior notice of data and time to CARD as was requested by CARD in advance.
    • CARD ask for a summary of the meeting and received one on January 14, 2014.
    • At this meeting the consultant was attempting to show the 1,4-Doixane was a 'threshold carcinogen' and should have a much higher exposure standard than that proposed by the US-EPA. The EPA does not have a category 'threshold carcinogen' in its regulatory statutes.
    • Any discussions that could lead to policy changes are subject to the Michigan OMA requirements.
    • Discussion on options to file complaint.
    • Additionally some recent data from monitoring well show higher than expected 1,4-Doixane levels very near the northern Prohibition Zone (PZ). Levels are close to the 85 ppb limit which could require again moving the PZ to the northeast. Few wells are in this area, contrary to DEQ requests, Judge Shelton did not order new wells in this area. More wells and data are need in this area to determine the flow of 1,4-Doixane as the Barton Pond is in the path of this flow and 90% source of our drinking water.
    • More effective cleanup is need to capture this plume before it gets to close to Barton, to stop it from contaminating our drinking water source which will be very hard and very expensive to replace.
    • Judge Shelton is leaving the bench later this year because of age limits and a new judge will need to decide if the court should be the arbiter of this clean up effort or turn it fully back to the MDEQ, which would be the better outcome.
    • Link to CARD site

    Porous Pavement on Downtown Street in Provincetown Mass. Proves to Dramatically Prevent or Eliminate Beach Closures
    • Dec 14, 2013
    • 'The new porous pavement installed on Commercial Street is beginning to show a dramatic ability to decrease the amount of contaminated runoff that flows into Provincetown Harbor. The state-of-the-art pavement project, now nearly a year old in the center of town and currently being extended into the West End, is being credited for a sharp drop in beach closures this summer.
    • “It’s definitely meeting or exceeding expectations in terms of cleaning water runoff,” said Richard Waldo, director of the department of public works.
    • While the numbers don’t scientifically account for storm frequency or rainfall volume from year to year, they are proof that the porous pavement has been a huge early success, said Brian Carlson, Provincetown’s health and environmental affairs manager.
    • So far, early concerns about the project have proved false. The town has seen no “substantiated” signs of basement flooding caused by the pavement, and winter maintenance without the use of pore-clogging sand has been manageable, Waldo said.'
    • Previous years on this beach area and other similar nearby beach areas had 15-25 closures, with porous streets installed it dropped to 0.
    • So successful expansion of the program is being planned for 2014.
    • Link to article (bold by us)




    Current Watershed Issues of Interest:


    January, 2013 - No meeting due to travel schedules.  




    Condo Development Very Near Loosely Calibrated Floodplain


    Floodplain in Green, Floodway in Blue (City online GIS)

    Proposed Development on Right (Alex de Parry)

    • A recent proposed Condo development on Liberty (318) near the railroad tracks (at the current drive thru car wash site) is yet another example of development that needs a more reliable floodplain map as the proposal with a site that is just in and right up against the floodplain and floodway with parking in the lower level.

    • Without a reliable map it is hard to say if this site will have flooding problems or block flows causing more flooding in the Old West Side in a very large rain event.

    • More of these types of developments will be coming to council for approval as the floodplain area is considered by some as an underdeveloped part of the city.

    • We have heard from developers, planners, consultant's hydrologists, as recently as last month at a city public meeting on the Rail Road Berm Under Passage Proposal that the floodplain map is either 'not reliable' or 'very loosely calibrated'.

    • The Fox Awning apartment building on S Main St., just starting construction, is another site very close to the drawn floodplain with parking below and underground the building. It is about just 2' above the drawn floodplain at its lowest point to the north may be much closer in a meaningful map revision.

    • Additionally Climate Change's more intense rain events for our area have not been addressed in the new floodplain maps.


    MSU  Michigan State University Extension Supports Porous Pavement for Use in Michigan

    • A recent publication has recommendations for its use in Michigan as a low-impact design.

    • 'Porous pavement: A not-so-new low-impact design technique'

    • 'That childhood saying “when it rains, it pours” may be getting an update to “when it rains, it’s porous.” Using low-impact design techniques can reduce stormwater runoff and protect local water resources.

    • According to Michigan State University Extension, some benefits of using porous pavement in developed areas are reduced run off into local waterways, increased base flows of waterways, less pollution of local water resources, increased groundwater recharge, reduced flooding and less land needed for detention ponds.

    • The initial cost of porous pavement is usually higher than traditional asphalt but when the cost of land for detention ponds needed in traditional pavement is factored in, porous pavement can be significantly less. Longevity of porous pavement when properly constructed and maintained can be twenty years or more.'

    • (Bold by us)

    • Link to MSUE site

    • For parking lots and roadways in the overtaxed Allen's Creek watershed it would be a great improvement over conventional pavement.

    • Forest Ave one of the new streets getting porous pavement now in Ann Arbor's ACW as part of a Green Streets effort.





    Current Watershed Issues of Interest:


    January, 2013 - No meeting due to travel schedules.  




    Condo Development Very Near Loosely Calibrated Floodplain


    Floodplain in Green, Floodway in Blue (City online GIS)

    Proposed Development on Right (Alex de Parry)

    • A recent proposed Condo development on Liberty (318) near the railroad tracks (at the current drive thru car wash site) is yet another example of development that needs a more reliable floodplain map as the proposal with a site that is just in and right up against the floodplain and floodway with parking in the lower level.

    • Without a reliable map it is hard to say if this site will have flooding problems or block flows causing more flooding in the Old West Side in a very large rain event.

    • More of these types of developments will be coming to council for approval as the floodplain area is considered by some as an underdeveloped part of the city.

    • We have heard from developers, planners, consultant's hydrologists, as recently as last month at a city public meeting on the Rail Road Berm Under Passage Proposal that the floodplain map is either 'not reliable' or 'very loosely calibrated'.

    • The Fox Awning apartment building on S Main St., just starting construction, is another site very close to the drawn floodplain with parking below and underground the building. It is about just 2' above the drawn floodplain at its lowest point to the north may be much closer in a meaningful map revision.

    • Additionally Climate Change's more intense rain events for our area have not been addressed in the new floodplain maps.


    MSU  Michigan State University Extension Supports Porous Pavement for Use in Michigan

    • A recent publication has recommendations for its use in Michigan as a low-impact design.

    • 'Porous pavement: A not-so-new low-impact design technique'

    • 'That childhood saying “when it rains, it pours” may be getting an update to “when it rains, it’s porous.” Using low-impact design techniques can reduce stormwater runoff and protect local water resources.

    • According to Michigan State University Extension, some benefits of using porous pavement in developed areas are reduced run off into local waterways, increased base flows of waterways, less pollution of local water resources, increased groundwater recharge, reduced flooding and less land needed for detention ponds.

    • The initial cost of porous pavement is usually higher than traditional asphalt but when the cost of land for detention ponds needed in traditional pavement is factored in, porous pavement can be significantly less. Longevity of porous pavement when properly constructed and maintained can be twenty years or more.'

    • (Bold by us)

    • Link to MSUE site

    • For parking lots and roadways in the overtaxed Allen's Creek watershed it would be a great improvement over conventional pavement.

    • Forest Ave one of the new streets getting porous pavement now in Ann Arbor's ACW as part of a Green Streets effort.




    Proposed Agenda


    Thursday; December 19, 2013



    Allen’s Creek Railroad Berm Opening Feasibility Study Meeting


    Area under study at train tracks; City of Ann Arbor



    Flood Reduction Potential, OHM


    • Not surprising that comments were made that the ‘FEMA Map is Not reliable’ by presenter Greg Kacvinsky PE Hydrologist at OHM, at the 12-4-13 meeting. City staff and Spicer Group have made comments that the current FEMA Maps are not very well calibrated.

    • Current preferred project would include both a path for stormwater to flow under berm and a separate path for bike and pedestrians access to the river and river trail.

    • The substantial benefits of this project would seem to be both environmental and economic for this area and the Allen's Creek as a whole.

    • As shown above the flood level will be much reduced to mainly in streets and not into homes first floors in the area, as is the case now.

    • Just one example of flood reduction benefits is the Arcadia Creek Greenway in Kalamazoo completed a few years ago - no flooding to the 500 year rain, generates $12M/year in new park fees and increased tax revenues of the adjacent area by $400K/year.

    • This area is a major gateway to our city and has much economic potential if we could remove the threat of major flooding being a constant and current reality. Some at the meeting made this point in several comments.

    • The addition of Greenway trails through and into the Huron River trail system would also be a major contributor to the amenity value to the city and this area.

    • Travel off road to and from the downtown and near neighborhoods would be a great benefit to the area. Biking and walking would be a major health, environmental and economic benefit.

    • Federal and State funds may be available for this project, and because of the connection of the Greenway trails to the Border to Border Trail, and flood and pollution reductions, the project is said to have a very good chance of receiving funding.

    • The Greenway being planned for the nearby site at 721 N. Main would need access to the river and river trail that this would logically provide.

    • Amtrak Station flood hazard elimination are also a benefit, allowing more options for its redesign and enlargement.

    • Pollution in DTE sit is a major issue. The city should press for park status cleanup of this very polluted area, adjacent to the river, so it would be accessible for pedestrians and bicyclist and be converted to park space if desired, and prevent the pollution from the site from flowing into the river.

    • The extensive and regular flood water in this area collect large amounts of contaminants which then flow into neighborhoods and polluting homes, the river and Lake Erie.

    • Description and PDF of project at link




    Greenway and Allen’s Creek Changes and Opportunity Discussion at Next Gray Panthers of the Huron Valley Meeting



    • Presentation by members of the ACWG

    • Items to be presented/discussed are Greenway opportunities current plans and Allen’s Creek flood and pollution reductions

    • Gray Panthers of Huron Valley

    • Open to the Public, no fee or membership required

    Date/Time:

    January 4th, 10 am

    U-M Turner Senior Resource Center, 2401 Plymouth Road, Ann Arbor

    'Socializing starts at 9:45 AM; Talk/Presentation and discussion 10 to 12pm'




    Footer Drain Disconnect Citizen Advisory Committee (FDD CAC) Meetings


    Basement Footer Drains to SS, OHM

    • This self selected and invited members committee is looking at the FDD program, that has been partially put on hold, to help determine its 'economically viable, community acceptable alternative(s)' and make recommendations to City Council. Meetings running between 8/13 and 7/14.

    • At the last meeting (12-17-13) some CAC members, including me, have voiced concerned with the threat of lawsuit to CAC members and discussion leaders, and threat of lawsuit to the city, by residents who have, or feel threat of, requiring FDDs in their neighborhoods and homes.

    • Some have called this forced use of FDDs as 'a taking of their property'.

    • Legal questions will be the subject of the next meeting in January, date yet to be determined. Some CAC members have suggested they have not or may not return because of the threat and time needed to deal with this.

    • Current study results presented at the last meeting show FDD is removing significant clean fresh water flows from the Sanitary Sewer (SS) which are needlessly treated at the Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP) and can cause basement flooding SS by overwhelming the SS.

    • Still to be determined if this will help Sanitary Sewer Overflows (SOSs), although it would most likely be the case.

    • Also to be determined is the level of flood hazard reductions in the neighborhoods.

    • Final report available later this year.

    • FDD have the potential to reduce flows 70-90% to the AA WWTP.

    • EPA is pressuring communities to plan for Climate Change and and SSOs that may accompany them.

    • Only one basement backup reported since inception of the program (and that may have been due a unrelated tree root blockage of the pipe from the house to the street). Three neighborhoods that had significant basement flooding (SS) have been almost completely disconnected to date.

    • Rain water detention efforts are being proposed for the Lawton area in a separate study to help reduce flooding as has occurred to a large degree on March 15, 2012.

    • Link to city web site.


    Proposed Agenda


    November 21, 2013



    Miller Ave Tour (from Maple to Newport), New Work Should Handle Almost All the Rain that Falls on the Roadway


    Recently installed Rain Garden on Miller Ave., City of Ann Arbor


    • I took the tour of the Miller Ave. reconstitution, on Oct 26, with city staff with discussion of the rain gardens and reduced width roadway all in an attempt to reduce the rain water runoff from the roadway reducing flooding and pollution loads.

    • 15-20 or more neighbors and others turned out. Most I talked with were supportive and hopeful. Some wondered if their property values will go up with the improvement in the neighborhood including less flooding and all the plantings in front of the roadway.

    • City staff indicated in discussions before council and at the tour that almost all of the runoff from the street will be handled and not leave the area with the Green Street improvements on the roadway.

    • Extensive flooding downstream especially in the West Park neighborhood should be lessened as well as to the river, and much less pollution loading to the river.

    • It is estimated that 50% of all stormwater runoff within the City is generated from the right-of-ways, roadways! Pollution loading from roadways is also very high.

    • Costs for these types of ‘soft solutions’ are said to be less than the conventional larger pipes and detention tanks.

    • A distinct advantage of rain gardens is they get better over time with deeper roots and improved soils and infiltration, less maintenance, where ‘hard’ solutions start to deteriorate the moment they are installed and are harder to maintain.

    • Additionally the city installed larger storm sewer pipes to capture some of the runoff and detain it under the road, and also installed bumpouts at crosswalks and raised pedestrian crossing islands.

    • These should be major improvements for the neighborhood, those downstream and the Huron River.

    • Work should be done this year.

    • Link: Miller Avenue Improvements (Maple to Newport)



    Allen’s Creek Railroad Berm Opening Feasibility Study


    Area under study at train tracks; City of Ann Arbor


    • The final public meeting for the Railroad Berm Opening Feasibility Study has been scheduled to take place Wednesday, December 4, 6:30–7:30 p.m.,

    • Larcom City Hall basement conference room, 301 E. Huron St.

    • This is a plan to explore options to open an area under the Railroad tracks at Depot St. to the Huron River to reduce the flood hazard in the area and potentially include a pedestrian walkway to allow easier access to the Huron River walking and biking trail.

    • The berm for the railroad acts like a dam holding back water in the Depot St. area. With the purchase of the railroad by the state it may be easier to get agreement to allow this work.

    • A flood reducing opening under the railroad with pedestrian access to the river has been requested by many, including the ACWG, for many years. Seems a long overdue solution.

    • This access to the River Trail and River for pedestrians and flood reductions may be one of the best options for this area especially with higher speed trains planned for this track.

    • Flood hazard is significant for those in this area. The new building in this area has a parking area below the building which has seen cars flooded on several occasions since it was built. Homes and streets in the area have had high water issues over the years also.

    • The potential of expanding the Amtrak station in the area with reduced flood hazard would also be a benefit.

    • Flood water collect large amounts of contaminates which then flow into neighborhoods and pollute the river and Lake Erie.

    • Description and PDF of project at link




    Green Streets Policy Resolution To Go Before Council


    • The Environmental Commission passed the Ann Arbor Green Streets Policy resolution last month and now it will soon go before City Council.

    • 'The terms Green Streets or Green Infrastructure are adaptable terms used to describe an array of products, technologies, and practices that use natural systems – or engineered systems that mimic natural processes – to enhance overall environmental quality and provide utility services. Green Streets treat and/or infiltrate storm water to improve water quality and reduce the volume and rate at which stormwater leaves the street.'

    • 'WHEREAS, in Ann Arbor, the City right-of-way includes 2.9 square miles of impervious area, which represents 25.9% of the total impervious area within the City. Since road surfaces are directly connected to the stormwater management system, it is estimated that 50% of all stormwater runoff within the City is generated from the right-of-ways'

    • Link to Policy Statement.



    Recent Article in Crain's Detroit Business on Ann Arbor's Green Streets/Complete Streets Efforts


    • Titled 'Innovative design at the intersection of complete streets, green infrastucture' by Mark Hieber LSA, an Ann Arborite

    • 'To address the broader challenge of water management across a region, Green Infrastructure points to infiltration-based approaches to managing stormwater. Rather than traditional "gray infrastructure" solutions that place all stormwater into pipes to direct it away as quickly as possible to nearby rivers, streams or lakes, Green Infrastructure approaches center around the idea that stormwater can be partially absorbed into the ground and that stormwater should be slowed down so that it enters our riparian environments with less erosive force. This approach can significantly reduce flooding and enhance habitat in sensitive drainage corridors.'

    • 'Considering life cycle costs and the environmental burden of stormwater, asphalt could be perceived to be less than a best choice for pavement on every street.'

    • Porous pavements should be considered for many reasons:

      • 'Snow melts faster on permeable pavement, reducing ice hazards'

      • '50 year life-cycle for surface, which is 2-3 times longer than conventional asphalt'

      • Including, the ACWG would say: lower noise, pollution removal, less cost, less flooding

    • 'I looked at a soils map of downtown Ann Arbor. I mapped subsoils that have an infiltration capacity from 2" to 6"+ of stormwater per hour.  ... much of downtown Ann Arbor rests upon highly infiltrating soils.'

    • Link to article.


    US-EPA Hearing to Determine if MDEQ Should have the Delegation of the Federal Clean Water Act Wetland Regulations Rescinded

    • On Dec. 11, 2013, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will conduct a public hearing regarding whether or not it should revoke the authority of Michigan to regulate wetlands under the federal Clean Water Act. Section 404 of the Clean Water Act requires permits for all activities involving discharges of dredged or fill material.

    • Recent changes in the state's wetland regulations have EPA concerned about their protection.

    • Clearly Michigan's fresh water resource is at risk with lessened oversight of wetland encroachment and changes. Pure Michigan should be more than a slogan.

    DATES AND LOCATION:

    On December 11, 2013, at 7:00 p.m. EST, EPA will hold a public hearing to take oral and written comments at the Crowne Plaza Lansing West (formerly known as the Lexington Lansing Hotel), 925 South Creyts Road, Lansing, Michigan 48917. The formal hearing will be preceded by an informational session at 6:00 p.m. EST. Written comments will also be accepted until December 18, 2013.


    Submit comments, referencing Docket ID No. EPA–HQ–OW–2013–0710, online using

    www.regulations.gov (the preferred method); by email to ow-docket@epa.gov


    Hearing Details:

    www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2013-10-23/pdf/2013-24841.pdf



    Michigan's Water Strategy for the Next 30 Years

    • From: Michigan Water Environment Association - mwea@mi-wea.org

    • Governor Rick Snyder has tasked the state government of Michigan with creating a vision for how it will manage water quality and quantity in the near and not-so-near future.

    • The "water strategy" aims to steer water-related policy in all forms for the next 30 years toward sustainable, beneficial use.  See more details about this initiative here:

    • http://www.michigan.gov/deq/0,4561,7-135-3313_3677_64891---,00.html



    Current Watershed Issues of Interest:


    October, 2013 - No meeting due to conflict with OWS Meeting Fall Forum



    Planning in the Allen's Creek Watershed Lacking Meaningful Protection


    Youtube Video, astinus12, Aug 2010

    • Past and current planning for the watershed is lacking in meaningful protection for residents and businesses.

    • The recent Wally Meeting the past week showed potential train station in a location that is surrounded by the mapped floodway at Liberty and the tracks.  A meaningful watershed study would find this location is in the floodplain if not floodway.

    • The proposed planning for the North Main Yard has ignored staff and ACWG comments about the unreliable nature of the floodplain maps. A city staffer clearly commented at a North Main Taskforce tour that the maps are 'very loosely calibrated'. They yet went on recently to propose conversion of an existing building in the mapped floodplain and a corner in the floodway for potential development. A meaningful floodplain/floodway map, one could argue, would show a large part of the building in great danger in the floodway. Other Michigan communities have made Greenways out of floodplains with great success and safer planning.

    • Just some recent costly planning failures that would have been avoided:

      • North Main 39 Unit Affordable Housing - recent loss of about 30 affordable housing units to a proposed affordable housing development (that replaced a failed condo development) that was scraped when a new floodplain map came out showing the plan would not be legal as it was in the floodway. Six of the existing homes on the site were taken down due to neglect.

      • New Condos on Montgomery Ave on the west side recently built in a very flood prone area now experiencing flooding.

      • Recently completed office building on Depot St. on stilts in the floodway that has had several events of parking lot flooding in recent years with loss of flooded cars parked under the building. With owners trying to drive cars in the floodwater in an attempt to save them.

      • Initial Homeless Shelter plan scraped costing ~$1M due to plans had it in the floodway, not allowed.

      • The West Park stormwater project of 2012 at a cost of $2.2M (mostly federal funds) was ‘blown out’ within one year in a mid-sized rain event (1.6”). After this event an additional $1.2M was spend to partially retrofitting the project.


    Floodplain/Floodway Insurance Skyrocketing for Americans - Properties Lose Value


    New York Times

    October 12, 2013

    • From a recent New York Times article: 'Cost of Flood Insurance Rises, Along With Worries'

    • 'Sharp increases in federal flood insurance rates are distressing coastal homeowners from Hawaii to New England and are starting to hurt property values and housing sales in areas just beginning to recover from the recession, according to residents and legislators.'

    • 'In recent weeks, the hefty flood insurance rate increases brought about by a 2012 law have stoked widespread alarm and uncertainty...'

    • 'The law, officially known as the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act, is being rolled out in stages' starting in the northeast.

    • Some facing a 10x (from $800 to $8,500) increase in flood insurance rates from previous 2011 if they bought property after July 6, 2012.

    • Ann Arbor needs to move to reduce the floodplain with economically and environmentally proven methods to deal with fresh water runoff (stormwater) at the source, not the old conventional wasteful way of sending it down larger pipes it to your neighbor.

    • The new Green Streets effort in Ann Arbor is a very good example of 'less cost - more effective' management that will make a very important difference in the size of the floodplain. This could change the size of the floodplain very quickly. More efforts like this are needed.

    • '  “What are they going to do?” he asked of those around him who could neither afford the new rates nor find someone willing to buy their homes. “Everybody’s just going to turn their keys in?” '

    • The effect on the west side of Ann Arbor could be not good with 100's of homes and businesses in and around the floodplain, and with the effects of climate change on Michigan planning is getting even more risky not less.



    Washtenaw County Water Resources Upper Malletts Creek Study



    • In response to major flooding in this area form the March 15, 2012 storm, 5-6" rain (NOAA NEXRAD estimate) event, plans are being drafted to try to avert more flooding. Unfortunately some of these homes were permitted and built in old creek beds that could make mitigation very expensive and difficult for some.

    • From the announcement:

    • 'We are nearing the completion of the Upper Creek Stormwater Conveyance Study. Please join us for a review and discussion of the recommendations report that will go to City Council early next year.

    • Upper Malletts Stormwater Conveyance Study:

    Draft Report Review

    Wednesday November 13

    6:30 to 8 PM

    Lawton School Cafeteria

    • This will be a draft. Comments and amendments will be sought and encouraged. We expect to have a draft report up on our website for your review by November 6th. Hard copies can be reviewed any time after that at my office.'

    • Contact: Harry Sheehan - Environmental Manager, Washtenaw County Water Resources Offices  (734) 222-6851

    • sheehanh@ewashtenaw.org



    Ann Arbor Elections November 5th



    Elections Nov. 5th, vote for candidates with proven strong environmental and watershed support. Recent changes on city council have greatly changed the watershed management outlook in Ann Arbor for the better:



    Proposed Agenda


    September 19, 2013



    Ann Arbor Stormwater Fee in Jeopardy?


    • A MI court of appeals ruled in August that the Jackson, MI, stormwater utility fee (SWU) is an illegal tax. Earlier this month in a published report the city has said it will not appeal this ruling. It is not clear it will refund the fees collected but it said it will curtail some city services related to reducing pollution flowing to the Grand River that were paid for with the 'stormwater fee' such as leaf pickup and street sweeping.

    • From a recent StormWater.Org postings:

    • 'This is bad news for the utility, of course, as well as for other cities that might be looking to set up their own utilities as a source of revenue.'

    • 'A particular issue in the case of the Jackson utility is Michigan’s Headlee Amendment. Approved in 1978, the amendment limits state and local governments’ ability to collect taxes; among other things, it limits the revenue the state takes in from all sources to a percentage of personal income within the state, and it says local governments cannot add or increase taxes or issue certain bonds without voter approval.'

    • Link to StormWater.Org article.

    • In recent various communications from concerned citizens several issues were brought up regarding the potential loss of Ann Arbor's SWU.

    • Many feel it is a Tax and not a Fee and should not continue.

    • Some of the critical conditions, in red below, were attempted to be dealt with with AA SWU including the case where a homeowner could capture up to a 200 year rain (.5% chance each year) to have the fee waved as stated in city sponsored public meetings.

    In one communication it was noted that the Jackson court decision said this:


    "One of the distinguishing factors of a tax is that it is compulsory by law, “whereas payments of user fees are only compulsory for those who use the service, have the ability to choose how much of the service to use, and whether to use it at all.” Headlee Blue Ribbon Commission Report, supra, § 5, p 29. The charge in the present case is effectively compulsory. The property owner has no choice whether to use the service and is unable to control the extent to which the service is used. The dissent suggests that property owners can control the amount of the fee they pay by building less on their property. However, we do not find that this is a legitimate method for controlling the amount of the fee because it is tantamount to requiring property owners to relinquish their rights of ownership to their property by declining to build on the property. [Bolt, 459 Mich at 167-168 (footnote omitted).]"

    • Some have also said that it would be very hard to calculate the 200 year rain runoff amount off their property.

    • The use of the SWU for non-stormwater related city activities is also been noted a reason for removal of the SWU.

    • Since we started getting a stormwater fee in the early 90's for our house it has gone up over a 1,000% without, I would say, a commensurate improvement in stormwater management.

    • Issues the city needs to address to maintain this funding source or consider going to the community and asking for a tax to replace it.



    Ann Arbor Green Streets City Wide Proposal


    Ann Arbor's Easy Street

    • Green Streets city wide Proposal is planning to be presented to the Environmental Commission for support and presented to city council soon thereafter.

    • Meetings with Green Streets participants and city staff showed strong support from city staff (they have already planned and installed many Green Streets in recent years with other in the planning stages).

    • One staffer commented about the very encouraging results from a city study of the effects of Easy Streets porous pavers in the parking areas of the street and rain gardens' effect on large reductions in stormwater flows and pollution reaching the river.

    • Green Streets are being described in many communities as very successful and cost effective for urban areas.

    • Green Streets efforts could have very significant effects on the urban stormwater problems facing Ann Arbor, cost less than conventional street construction and result in large reductions in floodplain areas in the Allen's Creek watershed.

    • The Green Streets effort, as part of the Water subcommittee of the Environmental Commission and city staff, is planning for meetings stake holders in the coming months to discuss the revised specifications and plans for Green Streets designs and costs.

    • Questions - Jennifer E. Lawson, CSM; Water Quality Manager City Of AA www.a2gov.org ; 734.794.6430 x43735



    City of Ann Arbor’s Stormwater Model Calibration Project - Stormwater Advisory Group (SWAG)



    • Initial reports are that during the summer several rain event occurred that provided useful data for modeling. Data collection has gone better than past efforts and also now include overland flow.

    • This member of the ACWG was the only citizen in attendance at the last meeting which has a portion of the funding to involve citizen participation.

    • Staff did ask to obtain the NEXRAD storm rainfall total estimates for 3-15-12 in SW AA, of 5-6" in about an hour, from the ACWG for reference. The NEXRAD would indicate the largest rainfall on record in 24 hrs for Ann Arbor and is consistent with Climate Change predictions for Michigan.

    • Reports and photos of flooding (past or present) can be directed to staff to aid in watershed modeling send to stormmodel@a2gov.org.

    • Questions - Jennifer E. Lawson, CSM; Water Quality Manager City Of AA www.a2gov.org ; 734.794.6430 x43735

    • See the website for more details on Stormwater Model Calibration and Analysis Project




    Glendale Street Neighbors Conduct Local Flooding Survey in Response to Other Neighborhood Flooding and Nearby Development Proposal with Survey Results Showing Existing Flooding Problems

    • It has been learned from some neighbors that in 1968 a out of court settlement occurred between flooded home owners in this area after lawsuit by neighbors due to flooding from the recently built Hillside Terrace, just up the hill adjacent to the proposed development.

    • Home owners were paid for damages from flooding and it was said by the city that actions would be taken to stop the flooding from the new construction.

    • Results of a recent door to door survey is that the area is experiencing flooding problems in homes, yards and streets.

    • Details of the results indicate over half of the homes questioned had some flooding issues. 12 - 15 had sewage flooding in basements.

    • The city has come to TV the sewer lines and removed some tree roots from some in an effort to mitigate the existing flooding.

    • The developer has redesigned the plans several times in response to neighbors and city staff concerns, and has not submitted new plans for evaluation.

    • The neighbors are concerned that new development may exacerbate the flooding issues facing the neighborhood

    • Also of concern also is that any additional stormwater flows from the development will go to West Park area where extensive flooding occurred in the summer of 2012.

    • This small survey by residents show a great lack of information on flooding that is an unacceptable condition for meaningful city planning in this watershed.

    • A meeting to discuss area flooding and development concerns between residents and city staff is planned for early October.



    Gelman/Pall Contamination Issues Environmental Cleanup Regulations, City Finally Takes a Small Step


    • EPA has been proposing introducing Vapor intrusion regulations in pollution cleanup programs.

    • Vapor intrusion generally occurs when there is a migration of volatile chemicals from contaminated groundwater or soil into an overlying building. 1, 4 Dioxane is a volatile chemical.

    • EPA has made substantial progress during the past year in preparing its final guidances for the vapor intrusion pathway. EPA has extensively engaged stakeholders and considered extensive and substantive public comments received in 2011 and 2012. Additionally EPA made available external review drafts of the guidance documents for public input. EPA is working to complete its work expeditiously and issue final subsurface vapor intrusion guidances so that it can be applied in forthcoming decisions.

    • The 1, 4 Dioxane ground and ground water contamination could come under these guidelines as the compound flows under the city toward the river.

    • The ACWG has pushed for many years the evaluation of contaminated ground water getting into the Allen's Creek or homeowners basements closer to the Huron River with its high groundwater levels, this has only recently been taken more seriously by government officials as flows migrate through the city. Infiltration into building would violate even the very weak MI Part 201 environmental cleanup standards. These issues are not addressed in the current court ordered cleanup plan and have not been considered.

    • City Council has passed a resolution in support of a cleanup and avoidance of flows to the Barton Pond, about 90% of the city's drinking water source. Unfortunately the resolution was not presented for review to the only Ann Arbor resident members of Coalition for Action on Remediation of Dioxane (CARD), or our 5th Ward Council Mike Anglin member and cosigner of our ATSDR petition. The resolution had errors and was not a very strong resolution.

    • Some on council commented we may need to get access to Detroit's drinking water supply, although it is reported over the past years that this drinking water source is over taxed in its current state.

    • EPA has changed the toxic levels for the compound to a much lower level. Down to .35 ppb in drinking water for 1 in 1M exposure. The state had done nothing to adjust exposure levels downward as they should in response to EPA changes. MI has one of the highest levels in the country at cleanup to 85 ppb and 2,800 ppb to direct vent to river down stream of any drinking water intakes. The prohibition zone in the city is allowed to get to 2,800 ppb in groundwater as it flows thru town to the river. California has a Notification Level of 1 ppb drinking water standard.

    • There is some effort by some in the area to sponsor a meeting in Lansing to discuss Ann Arbor's plight to state legislators.

    • CARD is working on a petition to be in attendance in an effort by Pall Life Sciences to reduce the toxic status of the compound in presentations to MDEQ. They will contend the the compound is a so called 'threshold carcinogen' and exposure levels should be raised not lowered. EPA has no regulations or recognize 'threshold carcinogen'. This was also tried in the past by Gelman Co and did not succeed.

    • Due to government officials lack of due diligence US-EPS Superfund status for this contamination is now becoming a stronger possibility.

    • As politicians face re-election, including Governor Snyder who calls his home town Ann Arbor, this issue may and should, loom large.




    Current Watershed Issues of Interest:


    August, 2013 - no meeting due to travel schedules




    312 Glendale Proposed Development and Flooding Issues

    • Results of the door to door survey is that the area is experiencing flooding problems in homes, yards and streets.

    • Over half the homes surveyed in a 4 block area are experiencing water issues from excess rain water and sewage flows into the neighborhood.

    • It has been learned by neighbors doing the survey that in 1967 neighbors filed a class action suit against the city and developers of the recently finished Hillside Terrace Retirement home just up stream of them, just beyond the proposed development, for increased home flooding due to the new development.

      • The homeowners settled out of court and were awarded damages and funds to mitigate flooding of their neighborhoods.

    • Neighbors assert that new development will cause more flooding and that the storm and sanitary sewers are 'commingled' causing the mix to flood basements and, may be flooding yards and streets.

    • The neighbors and the ACWG is asking for a watershed study to insure the safety and well-fair of the community before upstream development can be allowed.

    • Of concern also is that any additional stormwater flows from the development will go to West Park area where extensive flooding occurred last summer in a 1.6 inch rain.



    Jackson MI Case Overrules Stormwater Utility Fees - Ruled Illegal Tax


    • From a recent StormWater.Org postings:

    • 'A court of appeals last week ruled that the Jackson, MI, stormwater utility fee is an illegal tax. This is bad news for the utility, of course, as well as for other cities that might be looking to set up their own utilities as a source of revenue.'

    • 'A particular issue in the case of the Jackson utility is Michigan’s Headlee Amendment. Approved in 1978, the amendment limits state and local governments’ ability to collect taxes; among other things, it limits the revenue the state takes in from all sources to a percentage of personal income within the state, and it says local governments cannot add or increase taxes or issue certain bonds without voter approval.'

    • 'The city has not yet said whether it will appeal the ruling.'

    • With Ann Arbor using stormwater fees to pay for Public Art at a cost of almost $1M in the Allen's Creek watershed while calming there are no funds to do a watershed study, and other non-stormwater uses, it begs the question of how these funds are managed and are we endangering this important fund.

    • Link to StormWater.Org article.


    I94 Repaving this Summer is Lost Opportunity to Reduce Flood, Pollution and Noise, Increase Safety and Save Money


    University of California Pavement Research Center (UCPRC) has recently

    completed laboratory and modeling investigations to evaluate the structural and hydraulic

    performance of permeable pavement as highway shoulders that can be subject to heavy loads.


    • The ACWG has approached MDOT and local officials to encourage the use of Porous Pavements on planned repaving of I94 this summer. The repaving with conventional pavement is occurring now.

    • Major flooding and pollution loading occurs just down stream of this western section of I94 in the Lawton (Malletts Creek) and Allen's Creek areas.

    • This section of I94 has one of the largest dangerous curves on the length of the I94 highway.

    • Either full depth or friction course porous pavement could have greatly helped the city and state to reduce accident rates, reduce highway noise, save money, reduce pollution and flood hazard and eliminate the need for ugly sound walls.

    • Friction course porous pavement is being widely used on highways now and full course porous pavement on highways is gaining support.

    Minnesota DOT Study:

    • The Minnesota Department of Transportation has been developing a design for Porous Highway for the last 5 years.

    • Dr. Bernard Izevbekhai P.E., PhD is a Concrete Research Engineer for MnDOT porous highway is potentially less costly than conventional roadway with many important benefits

      • Semi-trucks have driven over the porous highway 80 times a day for the last 5 years with little or no effect on the roadway.

      • 20% of the road construction is to handle water runoff, not including additional costs for added upkeep and replacement

      • "The advantage of that lies in the fact that we can save quite an astronomical percentage of taxpayer money in the fact that we don't need to build hydraulic structures. We don't need to build culverts because the water finds its way directly into the ground."

      • "Dr. Izevbekhai says Minnesota roads must be able to withstand harsh conditions and plowing, and that the pervious pavement appears durable, 'This has been plowed continuously, just like we would do on a local road. It has withstood plowing.' "

    • Porous Highway Benefits include: no runoff greatly reducing flood hazard and pollution loading, no hydroplaning or road spray greatly reducing crash and death rates, better traction without expensive road grooving, up to 70% less noise (no expensive noise walls), 75% less salt and less plowing, no heat island effect, no heat shock to waterways.

    • Link to MnDOT Story



    Current Watershed Issues of Interest:


    July, 2013 - No meeting due to vacation schedules



    Ann Arbor Green Streets - Forest Ave Green Streets Funding Passed


    Green Streets - US EPA

    • Forest Ave will be getting a Rock Bed below it for stormwater infiltration to reduce or eliminate runoff and reduce or eliminate pollution flowing off the roadway into the Huron River. Work will be from South Univ. Ave to Hill St. this summer.

    • Green Streets have the potential to have extremely large reductions in stormwater flows, pollution loading to the Huron River and may actually cost less than conventional road construction, and if used on enough streets could reduce the size of Ann Arbor's floodplains.

    • It is hoped that the U of M would be interested in contributing to this type of effort as more work is done in the Main Campus area, with all the very high levels of almost totally unmitigated imperiousness and rain water runoff that exists on the U of M Main Campus.

    • The Green Streets effort, as part of the Water subcommittee of the Environmental Commission and city staff, is planning for meetings with city staff and stake holders in the coming months to discuss the revised specifications and plans for Green Streets designs and costs.

    • Questions - Jennifer E. Lawson, CSM; Water Quality Manager City Of AA www.a2gov.org ; 734.794.6430 x43735


    Sylvan Ave Porous Pavement Accidentally Sanded Last Winter Gets Vacuumed

    • Sylvan Ave was paved with porous pavement which has been under study.

    • It was found not to be performing well this spring

    • Further investigation showed it was sanded accidentally by city road crews.

    • The street was recently vacuumed by a contractor with special equipment and this may bring back much of the function of the street as was that case for the Michigan Concrete Association (MCA) Director in comments made to the ACWG at a porous demonstration project at the MCA in Lansing a few years back

    • Discussion by staff on how to prevent this - inexpensive signage and blue colored curbing are options

    • Ann Arbor has been a leader in working on street construction to reduce flood hazard and pollution loading to the Huron River and Lake Erie.


    Ann Arbor Dumps 10,000 Gallons of Raw Sewage into the Huron River


    Huron River Ann Arbor

    • On June 27 the city sewage treatment plant dumped 10K gallons of raw sewage (Sanitary Sewer Overflow - SSO) into the Huron River due to high flows to the plant related to a large rain event.

    • Some minor filtering of the sewage did occur with netting.

    • This rain event was not a 1% chance (100 year) rain event. It was about 2.6" rain, about half of a 100 year rain.

    • During large rain events stormwater gets into sanitary sewers from sewer pipe leakage and footer drains flow into the sanitary sewer.

    • City needs to work on better notification for these types of events. We were told about it in a chance encounter with CM Jane Lumm, the next day, who expressed concern and had questions relating to and how we can prevent these SSO's and send us the link to the city notice of the SSO.

    • This is another reason to reduce stormwater flows by dealing more with the water at the source.

      • The ACWG has pushed for and supported the Footer Disconnect Program, Rain Garden and Bioswale installations, Rain Barrel Use, Green Streets, Porous Pavements, reductions in impervious surfaces including fewer and smaller street lanes, green roofs, and other cost effective technologies over the past years


    MnDOT Tests Porous Highway Design with Very Good Early Results


    Test Section of 6 Lane Full Depth Porous Mall Road, Portland ME

    • The Minnesota Department of Transportation has been developing a design for Porous Highway for the last 5 years.

    • Dr. Bernard Izevbekhai is a Concrete Research Engineer for MnDOT porous highway is potentially less costly than conventional roadway with many important benefits

      • Semi-trucks have driven over the porous highway 80 times a day for the last 5 years with little or no effect on the roadway.

      • 20% of the road construction is to handle water runoff, not including additional costs for added upkeep and replacement

      • "The advantage of that lies in the fact that we can save quite an astronomical percentage of taxpayer money in the fact that we don't need to build hydrolic structures. We don't need to build culverts because the water finds its way directly into the ground."

      • "Dr. Izevbekhai says Minnesota roads must be able to withstand harsh conditions and plowing, and that the pervious pavement appears durable, 'This has been plowed continuously, just like we would do on a local road. It has withstood plowing.' "

    • Porous Highway Benefits include: no runoff reducing flood hazard and pollution, no hydroplaning or road spray, better traction without expensive road grooving, up to 70% less noise (no expensive noise walls), 75% less salt and less plowing, no heat island effect, no heat shock to waterways.

    • Some have tested highways with porous top layer friction course road with full depth porous shoulders with similar results.

    • They also have a porous roadway currently on Shore View Rd. in the St. Paul area and it is performing well.

    • Link to MnDOT Story



    Current Watershed Issues of Interest:


    June, 2013 - No meeting due to vacation and travel schedules.



    Ann Arbor Green Streets - Madison Street, Miller Ave. Work this Spring Summer


    4th Ave Getting Large Rock Bed Installed under the Street in the Middle of June (ACWG)


    • Green Streets Proposal will be presented to staff and then a public meeting with stakeholder in the next 3 months.

    • 4th Ave is currently under construction as a Green Street design

      • It will have a rock bed below the street to capture and infiltrate

      • All rain fall will be infiltrated into the ground under the street, it is expected that this design will capture and filter all rain water on the street and some adjacent surfaces.

      • This road construction was put on hold for a year as staff wanted to take advantage of the sandy soils in the downtown to reduce runoff and pollution to the Huron River.

    • Plans are for similar work on Forest.

    • Some Streets already involved in this effort: Liberty, Madison, Stadium Bvld, Miller Ave, Forest, Sylvan Ave, 4th Ave, Willard, Dexter Ave, and Old YMCA Parking Lot.

    • Questions - Jennifer E. Lawson, CSM; Water Quality Manager City Of AA www.a2gov.org ; 734.794.6430 x43735



    Public Hearing: Potential Stormwater Projects


      &     County Water Resources Office



    • City and County Water Resources Office (formally County Drain Office) will be submitting proposals for stormwater mitigation projects to the State Revolving Fund (SRF) office for low interest loan and grants.

    • SRF funds have been granted after the loan funds were awarded to the city in past stormwater projects

    • Notice from the Water Resources Commissioner and City:

      • 'Prior to implementing certain projects to improve stormwater conveyance and reduce pollution to the Huron River, the City and County collaboratively establish the basis for these projects with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. The State Revolving Fund Project Plan documents the need, and allows projects to be considered for grant and loan funding.

      • The SRF Project Plan will be submitted to the MDEQ shortly. But before that happens, the City and County will be jointly holding a Public Meeting to present the details, benefits and costs. You are invited to attend this brief presentation and open discussion. Public comments are welcome and will become part of the process of project selection.'

    • SRF Project Plan Public Hearing

    Date:                     June 24th

    Time:                    6:30 - 8 PM

    Location:             NEW Center

    1100 N. Main Street, 2nd floor




    Rewrite of Michigan Part 201 Environmental Cleanup Regulations


    • ACWG, Environmental Commissioner member and UM SPH Environmental Toxicology Professor Rita Loch Caruso has been asked, with 2 other local environmental scientist, to serve on a Review Board for the Michigan Part 210 Environmental Cleanup Regulations.

    • Many industry representatives are on the board.

    • This rewrite is way overdue, currently by one year (the state was given an extension) and expires in Dec. 2013, and the rewrite may not get finished and passed by congress in time, causing the standards to fall into a state of 'Limbo' (2014 may have no standards for Michigan?!).

    • Part 201 has not been protective of the state in past years

    • The main effect of Part 201 has been to require isolation of environmental contamination

    • The 1, 4 Dioxane ground and ground water contamination is a good example of its failure.

      • Instead of a meaningful cleanup of the pollution from Gelman Sciences (now owned by Pall Life Sciences) in the 1970-80's a Prohibition Zone (PZ) was created to prevent wells from accessing the contamination as it flows through the city to the Huron River at up to 2,800 ppb.

      • The PZ has had to be expanded recently and new well data indicate it may need to expanded again.

      • 2 Independent groundwater flow analysis indicate a possibility that flows will go toward Barton Pond, the drinking water source for Ann Arbor.

      • The EPA has reevaluated this contaminate in recent years and has been proposing the lowering of its allowable level of exposure and may require cleanup to the 3 PPB level not Michigan very high 85 ppb for drinking water or 2,800 ppb flows to the river.

    • The ACWG has pushed for many years the evaluation of contaminated ground water getting into the Allen's Creek or home owners basements closer to the Huron River with its high groundwater levels, this has only recently been taken more seriously by government officials as flows migrate through the city. This would violate even the very weak Part 201 standards. These issues are not addressed in the current court ordered cleanup plan and have not been considered.

    • A Public Hearing will occur for the rewrite of Part 201 in the coming months before it goes to the state congress.



    Glendale Neighbors Conduct Local Flooding Survey in Response to Other Neighborhood Flooding and Nearby Development Proposal with Results Showing Existing Flooding Problems

    • Results of the door to door survey is that the area is experiencing flooding problems in homes, yards and streets.

    • Over half the homes surveyed in a 4 block area are experiencing water issues from excess rain water and sewage flows into the neighborhood.

    • Details of the results are still being evaluated.

    • The neighbors are concerned that a new development upstream on Glendale Street may exacerbate the flooding issues facing the neighborhood.

    • Detail list of homes with basement, yard and street and sewage flooding found in the survey effort are available and have been given to city staff.

    • Of concern also is that any additional stormwater flows from the development will go to West Park area where extensive flooding occurred last summer.



    Sylvan Ave Porous Pavement Accidentally Sanded Last Winter by the City which has Cause it to Clog


    Sylvan Ave

    • Sylvan Ave was paved with porous pavement which has been under study.

    • It was found not to be performing well this spring

    • Further investigation showed it was sanded accidentally by city road crews.

    • Vacuuming the street may bring back much of the function of the street as was that case for the Michigan Concrete Association (MCA) Director in comments made to the ACWG at a porous demonstration project at the MCA in Lansing a few years back.

    • City looking to bring in special street vacuum contractor.

    • Discussion by staff on how to prevent this - signage and colored curbing are options


    Downtown Greenway in the Allen's Creek Floodway/Floodplain Gets First Direct Funding

    acgreenwayconservancy.org

    • After many years of efforts by many groups and individuals the city has issued its first Resolution of Funding for the Allen('s) Creek Greenway Park.

    • The ACWG has been championing a Greenway since around 1998 when we were told by our council member that the city properties in the floodway were being sold by council in the next 2 years for development.

    • It now seems the Greenway will be started on the city owned properties at 721 N. Main, 415 Washington and First and William Parking Lot.

    • Federal Flood Hazard Mitigation funds will be awarded to the city to remove two buildings in the floodway at 721 N. Main to make room for a park.

    • The plans currently are for open space and alternative transportation elements.

    • Unfortunately because of years of delay additional Federal Flood Hazard Mitigation, funds that could have been used to greatly help fund this effort, will no longer be available after this year.

    • My home town near Cincinnati, Anderson Tws., has had received federal awards of over a Million Dollars for such work over the last 8 years.

    • Additional grant funds are being applied for by the city for the conversion to a park.

    • Visit http://www.acgreenwayconservancy.org/ for information on becoming a member and supporting the Greenway, and contact the Mayor and Council.

    • Link to AA.Com Article



    Proposed Agenda


    May 16, 2013



    Ann Arbor Green Streets - 4th Street Reconstruction Delayed a Year to Make it a Green Street, to be Rebuilt this Spring


    Green Streets Philadelphia -PhillyWatersheds.Org

    • Reconstruction of South Fourth Avenue was delayed a year to create a design that would take advantage of the 'Sand Dome' under the downtown.

    • Ann Arbor's downtown, as well as other areas, have a very high infiltration potential with a large 'Sand Dome' below the city.

    • City staff worked hard to design this reconstruction to have a major impact on the watershed and try new techniques to reduce pollution and flood hazard, and save costs over convention reconstruction techniques.

    • With the high level of infiltration possible in the downtown this is a logical and cost effective manner to greatly reduce the flood and pollution loading to the Allen's Creek Watershed and the Huron River.

    • The reconstruction could have up to 100% infiltration of fresh water rain runoff (stormwater) and potentially cost less than conventional reconstruction.

    • Roadways with appropriate soils could have the full length with large stone infiltration beds when rebuilt. If done these roadways could capture all the runoff and runoff for adjacent road intersections and sidewalks. This could have a very large impact on flood hazard mitigation and pollution reductions to the Huron River and Lake Erie (see NYT article below).

    • A very similar design with Porous Pavement would have additional benefits.

      • Porous Pavements have been tried in Ann Arbor on several streets (Forest, Sylvan, Willard) as well on parking lots

      • Some have questioned the value of Porous Pavement with the trouble on Sylvan with much reduced infiltration rates over the past year. The city is investigating this. It has been said that Sylvan may have been accidentally sanded in the winter by plowing crews.

      • If needed a special vac could be hired to vacuum the road which should bring it back to near 100% function according to comments by the Michigan Concrete Assoc.

      • Some discussion on the need for signage and possible colored concrete curbs (blue) to indicate porous pavement to city and other road workers.

    • The Green Streets effort, as part of the Water subcommittee of the Environmental Commission and city staff, is planning for meetings with city staff and stake holders in the coming months to discuss the revised specifications and plans for Green Streets designs and costs.

    • Questions - Jennifer E. Lawson, CSM; Water Quality Manager City Of AA www.a2gov.org ; 734.794.6430 x43735


    Extensive Neighborhood Flooding Found - Glendale Neighbors Conduct Local Flooding Survey in Response to Other Neighborhood Flooding and Nearby Development Proposal


    Street Flooding near Proposed Development Area (Glendale Neighborhood Group)



    • Results of the resident lead door to door survey is that the area is experiencing flooding problems in homes, yards and streets.

    • Details of the results are alarming for about a 3 block area:

      • 29 homes affected by water issues

      • 10 homes with some sewage flooding in basements

      • 23 homes with some stormwater flooding in basements

      • Results still coming in

    • These results caused city staff to question the data collected, and ask for more detailed data.

    • It would seem clear this level of flooding whether it is somewhat less than reported is sill of great significance.

    • The neighbors are concerned that new development may exacerbate the flooding issues facing the neighborhood.

    • Of concern also is that any additional stormwater flows from the development will go to West Park area where extensive flooding occurred last summer.

    • Again Allen's Creek Watershed residents are asking for a meaningful watershed study to determine the extent and severity of problems facing the community, and guide planning for rehabilitation of the watershed and safe development.

    • Map of the flooding issues found is available



    North Main Taskforce Meeting to Discuss City Yard/Greenway Options

    • PUBLIC MEETING NOTICE OF THE CITY ANN ARBOR NORTH MAIN VISION TASK FORCE

    • Larcom Building (City Hall), Basement Conference Rooms A-B

    • 301 East Huron, Ann Arbor

    • Wednesday, May 29, 2013, 5 - 7 p.m

    • The meeting will discuss, in part, the options for use of the city Yard at 721 N. Main

    • The floodway and floodplain maps for this site are clearly non-instructive as they are 'very loosely based on the 1968 flood'; much has changed in 45 years including large increase in impervious area in the Allen's Creek watershed.

    • A Greenway has been proposed and should be supported to improve floodplain management, reduce flood hazard, increase non-motorize transportation, improve access to Huron River Parks and Trails

    • An access point to the Huron River is not yet determined and is critical to the plan begin most effective.

    • The one building left at the site not currently scheduled for removal has corners of it in the drawn floodway and may be much more in the floodway with a meaningful watershed map. Buildings in floodways are very dangerous and in many cases do not survive a major flood intact. Much of it is in the drawn floodplain.

    • Some have proposed an ill-advised plan to develop the non-floodway (in the floodplain) areas of the site for residential or commercial use, with the current maps it would be hard to say where the floodplain is on this site at the bottom of this well overtaxed watershed.

    • Link to Taskforce site


    Algae Blooms Cover 1/4 of Lake Erie in Recent Years - The New York Times Cover Story


     

    NYT.COM  -  March 15, 2013

    • "Lake Erie is sick. A thick and growing coat of toxic algae appears each summer, so vast that in 2011 it covered a sixth of its waters, contributing to an expanding dead zone on its bottom, reducing fish populations, fouling beaches and crippling a tourism industry that generates more than $10 billion in revenue annually."

    • "It is perhaps the greatest peril the lake has faced since the 1960s"

    • 15M people obtain drinking water from Lake Erie.

    • Some have shown that polluted urban runoff of rain water into tributaries of Lake Erie are a major cause of the record breaking effect on the lake. Climate Change related, more intense rain events that are happening now, are also implicated.

    • Increases in recent algae blooms are effecting the other Great Lakes.

    • US EPA has mounted a major effort to address this issue facing millions of resident who depend on the lake as a drinking water source and recreational uses, and the negative effects on the ecology of the lake.

    • Link:  NYT



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