Older Agenda Items and Updates Pg 2






February 2017 No meeting month of February due to Conflict with Allen('s) Creek Greenway City-wide Public Meeting, Thursday February 16, 6:30 pm, City Hall (see details below).

 

Watershed Issues of Interest:

Allen('s) Creek Greenway Master Plan Public Meeting - February 16

Greenway Master Plan Meeting (Right click for larger image)


UPDATES:

  • City of Ann Arbor has approved over 100 new homes in the Floodplain, in the last year or so, some just up against the floodway. With the threats from Global Warming More Intense Rain Events this is ill-advised and many had hoped to establish a Greenway in the Floodplain with green and open space close in to downtown, and reduce flood hazard. This when Warren has recently agreed to purchase 15 parcels in the floodplain with Federal Funds to reduce flood hazard due to Global Warming threats to flooding.



  • The Greenway Master Plan Community meeting this week:

Greenway City-wide Public Meeting  

Thrs. February 16

6:30-8:30 p.m.

In the Council Chambers at City Hall


  • We hope you can attend, get an overview of the plan options for the Greenway, ask questions and make comment on the options for a Greenway in Ann Arbor.

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

  • As part of the Community Rating System (CRS) with FEMA a Greenway could significantly lower Flood Insurance Rates in Ann Arbor which are going up each year. One homeowner in the floodplain was told by the city staff recently the rates are expected to go up 25% a year for the next many years.

  • The tunnel under the railroad berm at Depot St., which now seems to be moving along to eventual fruition, as a connector for the ACG 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 very high in the current Capital Improvement Plan (CIP).

  • 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 Detroit Area Downriver Linked Greenways

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

  • All CAC meetings materials are available at city hall and online.

  • 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.

  • Visit the project website if you are interested in learning more. For questions contact Allen Creek Greenway Master Plan project manager, Connie Pulcipher, at cpulcipher@a2gov.org or 734-794-6430 x 43731.

  • Link to City of Ann Arbor Allen Creek Greenway Master Plan Project Web Page

  • Link to Allen Creek Greenway Conservancy ACGC


Pall/Gelman 1,4-Dioxane - US EPA Takes Next Steps to Evaluate Site for Superfund Designation: Superfund Preliminary Assessment


Image result for flint mi

Michigan Water Crisis


  • The US - EPA Region 5 office has notified the petitioners on Feb. 1, 2017, of a request to make the Gelman Plume a Superfund site, that the EPA will take the next steps and evaluate the site for Superfund designation - a Superfund Preliminary Assessment (PA).

  • The petitioners were Ann Arbor and Scio Township, and Sierra Club Huron Valley Group.

  • Vince Caruso is now on the Sierra Club Huron Valley Group Executive Committee (SCHV ExCom), elected to start January 1 and was asked to meet in late January with EPA Region 5's appointed site investigator Michael Berkoff along with two other SCHV ExCom members as Superfund Petitioners.

    • Michael Berkoff, Remedial Project Manager, U.S. EPA Region 5, Superfund Division. Remedial Response Section #3; Chicago, Il

  • The EPA had a meeting with the Environmental Commission (EC) on 1/26/17 where members of ACWG, SCHV and CARD, as well as other citizens made public comment at the start of the meeting.

  • After public comment EPA started this portion of the EC meeting with a presentation on Superfund process and then took questions from EC members.

    • LINK to video of EC meeting, with good overview by EPA staff on Superfund process.

  • Mr. Berkoff has indicated he will be returning to Ann Arbor for more investigation this coming spring.

  • He has ask ACWG for more information on soil contamination at the Gelman site off Wagner Rd, and the Sisters Lake Marshy area.

    • Using information on the SRSW.ORG site and help from Roger Rayle of SRSW we provided links to videos and what little reports on soil contamination are available.

    • The soils have not been routinely tested in recent years, although in the late 90's values near 1M ppb were reported by MDEQ.

    • Unfortunately Gelman and MDEQ has not been very active in removing this contamination which has greatly concerned the ACWG and concerned CARD for many years.

  • MDEQ had said they would wait till spring to do more near surface groundwater (NSG) tests. We questioned this plan given recent findings in NSG and they agreed to do additional tests in the near future before spring.


  • With the poor quantity, and in some cases quality, of tests done to date the city is left with very little information of the risks to exposure to residents.

  • Several blocks west of the previous 2 near surface tests, with 2 ppb and 3 ppb, is a deep groundwater well showing 320 ppb and moving east. At Vet's Park several blocks farther west we have deep groundwater well with readings over 1,000 ppb.

  • The ACWG was instrumental in getting official to agree to do near surface and surface ground water tests, and it is important to gain an understanding of the flow of the plume and if it will be coming to the surface and where.


  • At the February CARD meeting it was noted by Matt Naud Env. Coordinator for Ann Arbor that new monitoring wells are to put in near the NE Supply Well at Montgomery and Bemije streets to determine if Pall/Gelman must pay to replace it in accordance to court agreements in past years, dependent on contamination levels in the groundwater near the well.

  • The ACWG asked additionally to have these new wells monitor NSG as well as deep well contamination levels, as this location is about a block from the location where 2 and 3 ppb was found in NSG.


  • Some scientists at U of M School of Public Health and other schools are discussion options for working on various aspects of this contamination. One is an ACWG member and former charter member of the city of Ann Arbor EC, and submitted a preliminary grant last year that was not funded. They have been in talks of possible collaboration with a scientist from U of NC State who is working on exposures of 1,4 Dioxane in river and drinking water in the Cape Fear River Valley in NC, Detlef Knappe, PhD (Professor of Civil, Construction, & Environmental Engineering, North Carolina State University). Dr. Knappe gave a talk 1,4D exposures (video link) at UM-SPH on 1-17-17 and talked to some local government officials and local activist residents afterward.

  • This shallow groundwater exposure is a clear and present danger to the community and needs immediate evaluation by state and local officials and, plans made to stop the potential exposure to the west side residents through their basements and other exposure points.

  • DEQ have not indicate to the CARD group the they have done the modeling for Vapor Intrusion (VI) of 1,4D as they said is necessary for including VI in the new emergency site regulatory statute. This data would be necessary to determine the level of exposure in basements that may occur. This compound VI profile would be different than most all other VI compounds of concerns as it would enter structures with water and then evaporate with the water into the air. This special modeling may not have been done for any compound or just a few. U of M VI research scientists have expressed interest in studying this uncommon exposure modeling.

  • The action level in MI for 1,4 D is 29 ppb within about 10 feet of a basement.

  • Michigan has set new standard at 7.2 ppb with 32 years exposure (less 2 weeks/yr vacations) 1 in 100K, not the EPA standard of 70 years exposure (no vacations) which would result in a 3.5 ppb standard. A 1 in 1M risk, 70 year exposure would result in a .35 ppb standard according to EPA.

  • EPA considers 1,4-dioxane a respiratory and nervous system hazard, skin irritant, an animal carcinogen and a probable human carcinogen.


312 Glendale Dr. Memory Care Facility Development Proposal - Exacerbate Flooding in the Neighborhood and Ugly - Council sent the Proposal back to Planning Commission on January 17 for Further Review

Results of residents neighborhood survey in 2013;

Site is to left in dark olive tone with Legend, stormwater flow to the right


Council sent the proposal back to Planning Commission on January 17.

ACWG submitted to Council a Public Statement on this proposal and Council had comment on:


The city must consider existing tax base and, health, safety and welfare when approving development. This proposal will reduce the tax base of hundreds of homes downstream due to flood hazard and having the back of the building facing this residential neighborhood. These homes have a proven tax base,  some for close to 100 years with another 100 to come!


Zion Church addition a few years ago was forced them to come up to code and add stormwater management but city code has changed since then but some on council felt, like Zion, this parcel should be considered with the HT parcel in a more unified manner given the history of flooding downstream of this site.


The number of parking spaces requested do not match the use and seem to supplement existing Hillside Terrace (HT) employees parking.


Common ownership, common use is an issue on planning for this site.


The ACWG brought up that the street, Jackson Place, like all city streets are designed only to flood and hold 10 year rain event, not 100 year (1% chance) as the comments of staff suggested. The stormwater will spill over the curb into MC site. Our photos from Sat. 12-10-16 show some of the curbs are sub-standard and very low, and may not even handle 5 year event let alone 10 year. The city admits often that the Allen's Creek streets currently flood and overflow, into yards and homes, on average every 1 ½ years.


The ACWG brought up that the MC plan does not seem to fully address the imperviousness of the three existing structures that are currently in this parcel according to city GIS data, two houses, garage, and drives with walks, with lots of imperviousness. It is on the same parcel and should be include in stormwater management planning.


The neighborhood group and the ACWG showed a video to Planning Commission Staff of the orchard site during a major rain event that seems to show the orchard can handle large rain events without sheet flow off the site, this even with HT runoff flowing over the Jackson Place curb into the orchard, contrary to city and county planner's comments to the Planning Commission.


Currently we have found that the orchard mitigates HT uncontrolled runoff into this over taxed neighborhood!


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


Homes to the north of the MC site are down hill and have had flooding from the HT site in its natural state and were forced to do owner payed landscaping to try to mitigate the flows. With a new building on site flooding will be worse.


This neighborhood has been designated a Special Flood Hazard Target Area by the city in the recent City Wide Stormwater Study due to the extensive flooding. Neighbors have surveyed the 5 block area and found 50% of homes have water problems as shown above.


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


The city has said it will spend $7M to mitigate flooding in Lawton Neighborhood. The city has just bought green space easement, from a developer building new condos in Lawton, for SW detention at great cost to the city, due to residential concerns of flooding in the Lawton area.


Zoning is not clear as to why it did not lapse due to inactivity on the original zoning change proposal. It was not zoned and then zoned R4B in 1994 for HT expansion which did not go forward.


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


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


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


Studies cited above:


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

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


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


Proposed Agenda and Updates:  
 

January 19, 2017 


Pall/Gelman 1,4-Dioxane - to Few Surface and Near Surface Water Tests in Ann Arbor Near Westside


Image result for flint mi

Michigan Water Crisis


  • Given the past result of Surface water tests more tests are need as soon as possible on the west side of town.

  • With the poor quantity, and in some cases quality, of tests done to date the city is left with very little information of the risks to exposure to residents.

  • Several blocks west of the previous 2 near surface tests, with 2 and 3 ppb, is a deep groundwater well showing 320 ppb and moving east. At Vet's Park several blocks farther west we have deep groundwater well with readings over 1,000 ppb.

  • The ACWG was instrumental in getting official to agree to do near surface and surface ground water tests, and it is important to gain an understanding of the flow of the plume and if it will be coming to the surface and where.

  • This shallow groundwater exposure is a clear and present danger to the community and needs immediate evaluation by state and local officials and, plans made to stop the potential exposure to the west side residents through their basements and other exposure points.

  • DEQ have not indicate to the CARD group the they have done the modeling for Vapor Intrusion (VI) of 1,4D as they said is necessary for including VI in the new emergency site regulatory statute. This data would be necessary to determine the level of exposure in basements that may occur.

  • Michigan has set new standard at 7.2 ppb with 32 years exposure (less 2 weeks/yr vacations) 1 in 100K, not the EPA standard of 70 years exposure (no vacations) which would result in a 3.5 ppb standard. A 1 in 1M risk, 70 year exposure would result in a .35 ppb standard according to EPA.

  • EPA considers 1,4-dioxane a respiratory and nervous system hazard, skin irritant, a animal carcinogen and a probable human carcinogen.



312 Glendale Dr. Memory Care Facility Development Proposal - Exacerbate Flooding in the Neighborhood and Ugly - Council will take up the Proposal January 17

Results of residents neighborhood survey in 2013;

Site is to left in dark olive tone with Legend, stormwater flow to the right


UPDATE: At the 17th Council meeting they voted to send the proposal back to the Planning Commission for further review and possible revision.

Issues some on council was having trouble with were:

Ownership issues with Hillside Terrace and the Memory Care Center and its potential effect on stormwater regulations
Is the stormwater modeling valid for the site including the existing two houses, Planning Commission discussions with the petitioners seemed to be indicating it may not have, ‘houses are not disturbed or captured’
Does the Orchard currently reduce flooding as it captures flows off HT and seems to mitigate them, and will it be overwhelmed by flows from HT which would cause additional flooding downstream
A flyer sent out from HT early this month reads in part ‘planned expansion and substantial growth in 2017
Is this building appropriate with the very large mass of the rear of the building facing Glendale, a street with single family small houses and small detached condos
Questions of effective stormwater modeling given the extensive flooding in Nixon Rd. with new development going in, that was not to be an issue everyone was told


Council will take up the proposal with a Public Hearing January 17 at Council Chambers City Hall in a Council meeting starting at 7pm.


The potential for more flooding and the option for a park space at this site to mitigating existing flooding and pollution loading to the watershed and the Huron River, with Hillside Terrace sending large amounts of uncontrolled stormwater down the hill into the neighborhood, are critical issues that need to be addressed.


We have been told by the city over the past two decades that new development will be the major way we get improvement in the watershed. That does not seem to be happening here.


500 year (0.2% chance) floodplain planning is the new recommendation from both Federal and regional planners, not the previous 100 year (1% chance) , due to Global Warming effects on rainfall amounts and flooding.


ACWG submitted to Council Statement on this proposal:


Issues council must address with regards to the Hillside Memory Care (MC) proposal:


The Allen's Creek Group does not support this proposal.


The city must consider existing tax base and, health, safety and welfare when approving development. This proposal will reduce the tax base of hundreds of homes downstream due to flood hazard and having the back of the building facing this residential neighborhood. These homes have a proven tax base,  some for close to 100 years with another 100 to come!


As commented by the Planning Commission (PC) director the nearby Zion Church addition a few years ago forced them to come up to code and add stormwater management. So should this site. It should not be allowed to skirt the city rules on very thin evidence. Zion told us Project Grow folks, then at Zion, they had to come up to code even though they did not want to do it. UPDATE: When the the Zion expansion was approved the regulation on stormwater control did not include percent change in imperviousness as is now the case. Now the regulation include a greater than 50% change in imperviousness to trigger upgrades to the full site.


The number of parking spaces requested do not match the use and seem to supplement existing Hillside Terrace (HT) employees parking.


Common ownership, common use. Why did the PC not ask the owner in attendance for details?


The street, Jackson Place, like all city streets are designed only to flood and hold 10 year rain event, not 100 year (1% chance) as the comments of staff suggested. The stormwater will spill over the curb into MC site. Our photos from Sat. 12-10-16 show some of the curbs are sub-standard and very low, and may not even handle 5 year event let alone 10 year. The city admits often that the Allen's Creek streets currently flood and overflow, into yards and homes, on average every 1 ½ years.


MC plan does not address the imperviousness of the three existing structures that are currently in this parcel according to city GIS data, two houses, garage, and drives with walks, with lots of imperviousness. It is on the same parcel, much like Zion's situation yet not the same treatment. Questioned but also not addressed.


It is stated the MC will help the SW situation in the area. Not so. It will only deal with 120% rain on the MC, not including the three existing homes and spill over from HT. The orchard site seems to be able to handle 200 year rain. Neighbors have check in large rain events and water does not sheet off the orchard, even with HT runoff flowing over the Jackson Place curb into the orchard.


Currently we have found that the orchard mitigates HT uncontrolled runoff into this overtaxed neighborhood!


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


Homes to the north of the MC site are down hill and have had flooding from the site in its natural state and were forced to do owner payed landscaping to try to mitigate the flows. With a new building on site flooding will be worse.


This neighborhood has been designated a Special Flood Hazard Target Area by the city in the recent City Wide Stormwater Study due to the extensive flooding. Neighbors have surveyed the 5 block area and found 50% of homes have water problems as shown above.


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


The city has just bought green space easement, from a developer building new condos in Lawton, for SW detention at great cost to the city, due to residential concerns of flooding in the Lawton area.


Greenbelt and Federal Flood hazard funds should be used. Federal funds of $250M were recently made available due to the 500 year flood in Warren in 2014 which Ann Arbor is eligible for. Warren is going to buy up to 15 parcels in the floodplain with these funds, among other efforts' use of these funds.


Zoning is not clear as to why it did not lapse due to inactivity on the original zoning change proposal. It was not zoned and then zoned R4B in 1994 for HT expansion which did not go forward.


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


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


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


Studies cited above:


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


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




Allen('s) Creek Greenway Master Plan CAC Meeting


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


  • The Greenway Master Plan Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) met last week.

  • Several proposals were presented and feedback collected.

  • See links below for more details and information.

  • A major point the ACWG makes is that a greenway in a flood prone area like this one can greatly reduce flooding as well as greatly improve economic conditions as has been shown in may communities.

  • Quality of life issues are also clearly a major benefit of greenways in urban centers.

  • Many examples of successful regional greenways in MI are in Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids, Lansing, and the recently finished Dequindre Cut in the Detroit area, and others.

  • A public meeting to discuss some of the considered options and benefits will be held on:

    • Community Wide Meeting #2

    • February 16, 6:30pm

    • Location: Council Chambers 2nd Fl City Hall



Proposed Agenda and Updates:  
 
December 15, 2016

Gelman Dioxane Contamination US-EPA Superfund Petition

Superfund

Click here to view and/or sign in support.
 
Click on this page link to view more details;
 

Ann Arbor Charter Township, Scio Township, and the Sierra Club – Huron Valley Group have jointly file a petition requesting the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) conduct a Preliminary Assessment for the Gelman Sciences, Inc. (Gelman) Site to become a federal USEPA Superfund Site. CARD and ACWG are also on record in support for a petition for EPA Superfund status. Congresswoman Debbie Dingell has also asked that EPA get involved.

 

Link to the taping of the City of Ann Arbor Town Hall Meeting on Oct. 27th, that was held at Eberwhite School on Shallow Ground Water tests of 1, 4 Dioxane; 2-3 ppb was found at Slawson Middle School area on 8th St.



Pall/Gelman 1,4-Dioxane One Surface Water 'Creek' Tests in Ann Arbor Near Westside

  • A Surface water test was reported on by the DEQ and found to be non-detect (0 or below 1 ppb).
  • The 'creek' test was was done in Hanna Park which does not have an open section of Allen's Creek and it is hard to know what they were testing. It may have been surface flows which would not be of much value.
  • Why more surface and near surface tests have not been done to date is troubling. These tests should not be delayed as exposures may show violation of even the very weak Part 201 state environmental exposure laws.
  • The ACWG was instrumental in getting officials to agree to do near surface and surface ground water tests.
  • This shallow groundwater exposure is a clear and present danger to the community and needs immediate evaluation by state and local officials and, plans made to stop the potential exposure to the west side residents through their basements.
  • The DEQ has indicated to us that surface water Allen's Creek tests would be included in the near future. We have several open sections of the Allen's Creek on the westside including in Eberwhite Woods and other wooded park spaces. These open sections of the creek are frequently visited by children.
  • EPA Superfund option is the only option to try to get in front of this ground and now surface water pollution issue facing our city and nearby townships.
  • The new shallow groundwater standard by the MDEQ for 1,4 Dioxane is 29 ppb.
  • DEQ have indicated to the CARD group that they have not done the modeling for Vapor Intrusion (VI) of 1,4D as they said is necessary for including VI in the new emergency site regulatory statute.
  • Michigan has set new standard at 7.2 ppb with 32 years exposure (less 2 weeks/yr vacations) 1 in 100K, not the EPA standard of 70 years exposure (no vacations) which would result in a 3.5 ppb standard. A 1 in 1M risk, 70 year exposure would result in a .35 ppb standard according to EPA.
  • EPA considers 1,4-dioxane a respiratory and nervous system hazard, skin irritant, a animal carcinogen and a probable human carcinogen.


312 Glendale Dr. Memory Care Facility Development Proposal - Exacerbate Flooding in the Neighborhood and Ugly
 
Results of residents neighborhood survey in 2013;
Site is to left in dark olive tone with Legend, flow to the right
  • The last Planning Commission(PC) Meeting on this proposal voted 6 to 1 to support. It will now go to city council(CC) for a vote, time yet to be determined.
  • The ACWG does not support this development proposal developing an Apple Orchard on Glendale Dr. to a memory care facility, 24 bedroom, 16,743 square foot single story building, essentially an extension of Hillside Terrace next door to the east.
  • Protecting existing large Tax Base is generally more important than just add new tax base.
  • The fact that this is essentially an addition to Hillside Terrace (HT), it like Zion Church, should be required to bring the entire site up to stormwater code.
  • Owners were again at the Planning Commission Meeting but were not asked to comment on this issue raised again by city residents.
  • The plan does not address the imperiousness of the three existing structures on the site, two houses, garage, and drives with walks, lots of imperviousness. It is on the same parcel, much like Zion's situation, yet not the same treatment.
  • Flooding from this site occurred when first built in the 1970's. Downstream homeowners settled out of court for money damages. Adding a new building and imperiousness in this area will cause flooding.
  • This orchard should be a stormwater detention/park space to mitigate all the flooding downstream, purchased with Greenbelt Millage funds to create a green space for a very dense urban area with very little park space. The city Greenbelt Millage language requires 1/3 of the millage funds be used inside the city limits. Protecting existing green space and, reduce pollution and flooding are key goals.
  • The city paid for land locked green space next to Eberwhite Woods in recent years with general funds. No public access except through the school's land, or parking in violation of city park acquisition rules. Dicken Woods was also paid for mainly with general funds to prevent additional flooding in the Dicken area and create new green park space. 
  • We asked our council members to ask for a meeting with the developer regarding a park option but never received a communication back from our council members.
  • New reports show a real and present need to change our Flood Hazard Planning:


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

  • One has to wonder if some of our city and county officials have become Global Warming Climate Deniers in their policies toward the dramatic increase in real and present flood hazard facing our community.
  • The ACWG members were part of the 2015 Citywide Stormwater Study/Stormwater Advisory Group effort that indicated this area as a target area for enhanced Stormwater management and relief. This neighborhood should not be put under more pressure for flood hazard.
  • The city needs to protect long lived tax base with any reasonable development proposal. We have many blocks of homes down stream of this site with major flooding as shown in the neighborhood survey presented to the PC and CC, and beyond this immediate neighborhood.
  • Having the back of this building facing our neighborhood is not appropriate and will lower our property values and 'uglify' the area lowing the tax base. This is not an appropriate development for a single family residential neighborhood. 
  • Once again this site is too small for the proposed development and should be set aside as a stormwater(SW) detention/park space using Greenbelt Millage, and preserve the extensive tax base and wonderful neighborhoods down stream of this site.
  • The ACWG and residents have been told over the last two decades that new development is the way we will see improvements in SW hazard in this watershed. Clearly that is not happening here but should be.
  •  The city has just bought green space easement, from a developer building new condos in Lawton, for SW detention at great cost to the city, due to residential concerns of flooding in the Lawton area, on Ann Arbor Saline Rd.
  • Zoning issues for the site seem to violate city code.
    • City records indicate that what is now Hillside Terrace (1939 Jackson Ave.) and several adjacent parcels owned by it (including 312 Glendale Dr. and 1943 Jackson Ave.) were annexed into Ann Arbor in 1987 -- without a zoning designation.
    • In 1994 Hillside Terrace submitted a site plan to expand into the adjacent 312 Glendale Dr. parcel and, as a result, the R4B (multiple family dwelling) zoning code was assigned to both parcels.
    • That site plan expired in 1999.
    • The zoning code for 312 Glendale Dr. should have expired with that site plan (several City officials have privately acknowledged this, and that R4B is not appropriate for this site).  There continue to be several tiny parcels surrounding 312 Glendale Dr. that are zoned R1. 
    • This site should be zoned R1 like its neighbor sites.


Geddes Ave Road Green Street Complete and Open for use, Stone School Rd Green Street

Geddes Ave Rock Bed below road Installation, City of Ann Arbor (Right Click for Larger View)


Stone School Road Green Street, Insite Design and City of Ann Arbor

  • The city has reconstructed Geddes Ave as a new Green Street effort in the city. Stone School Road has also had a Green Streets treatment this past year.
  • For Geddes Ave:
    • City streets engineers indicated to us in past similar efforts that this type of Green Street effort is less expensive that conventional street construction.
    • The street should last longer and have much fewer pot holes develop with the infiltration rock bed below the street. With the rock bed below water is generally not close to the surface of the road which greatly reduces pot holes and cracks from forming in the road surface. 
  • Generally Green Streets are cost effective in managing rain water runoff (stormwater) at its source, by handling all or most of it by infiltrating and detoxifying it.
  • With Global Warming SEM getting and expecting more intense rain fall and larger rain events than historically the Green Street Policy is becoming more important as one technique to deal with greater flood hazard and water pollution.
  • The types of Green Streets can infiltrate and detoxify all or most of the street runoff and, additional near street runoff, such as driveways and sidewalk.
  • The ACWG, the Environmental Commission Water Committee and city staff worked hard to get the Green Streets Policy drawn up and passed.
  • More details of the Geddes Ave Green Street project, Stone School Rd and full details of other presentations at 4th Annual Stormwater Summit on October 7, 2016 at Lawrence Technological University.


Proposed Agenda and Updates:  


November 17, 2016

Gelman Dioxane Contamination US-EPA Superfund Petition


Superfund


Click here to view and/or sign in support.

Click on this page link to view more details;

UPDATE: Ann Arbor Charter Township, Scio Township, and the Sierra Club – Huron Valley Group have jointly file a petition on November 21, 2016 requesting the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) conduct a Preliminary Assessment for the Gelman Sciences, Inc. (Gelman) Site to become a federal USEPA Superfund Site. CARD and ACWG are also on record in support for a petition for EPA Superfund status. Congresswoman Debbie Dingell has also asked that EPA get involved. City Council has yet to join this effort.

Link to the taping of the City of Ann Arbor Town Hall Meeting on Oct. 27th, that was held at Eberwhite School on Shallow Ground Water tests of 1, 4 Dioxane; 2-3 ppb was found at Slawson Middle School area on 8th St.




Pall/Gelman 1,4-Dioxane Still have not done Surface Water Creek Tests in Ann Arbor Near Westside


Image result for flint mi

Michigan Water Crisis


  • No surface creek water tests yet despite ACWG answering DEQ requests for potential sites for tests with maps and offers to escort DEQ officials if needed or wanted. We offered to escort the DEQ in our private Fair Glen Park with an open section of the Allen's Creek. Creek tests were said by the DEQ to happen last summer with the other shallow groundwater tests.

  • The creek system is a major sink for groundwater flows and as such are a critical source of data of where this contamination may be flowing.

  • The ACWG and Coalition for Action on Remediation of Dioxane (CARD) have asked for shallow groundwater testing for 1,4-Dioxane (1,4D) for a long time.

  • This shallow groundwater exposure is a clear and present danger to the community and needs immediate evaluation by state and local officials and, plans made to stop the potential exposure to the west side residents through their basements.

  • Two dozen Shallow Groundwater Well tests were done late this summer on the West Side of town.

  • Results sent out early last month show 2 to 3.3 ppb found in shallow groundwater well at 6 to 12 feet down at Waterworks Park between 8th St. and 7th St.

  • We have deep well readings at about 330 ppb about 8 blocks up from the 8th Street wells and 1,000 ppb at Vet's Park.

  • Link to the full Report with tests Results. 

  • Ann Arbor News MLive web site has a recent article on this MDEQ report.

  • City Council conducted a "Town Hall" meeting which was a poorly planned event. No public comment was planned just questions on cards. This violates city policy that any city sponsored meeting have time for public comment. It seems this was an attempt to keep those who question the city's inaction on a Superfund Petition to EPA. Here is a Link to the CTN video to the Oct. 27 "Town Hall" Meeting.

  • Sad to say at the city sponsored Town Hall Meeting, even when the city using Roger Rayle SRSW/CARD’s plume maps and railed about the shallow groundwater exposures CARD forced the DEQ and Gelman to do, CARD members were not asked to be at the table.

  • There was no comment on the two townships Ann Arbor and Scio, Sierra Club, CARD, ACWG and the County draft resolution, in support for a petition for EPA Superfund status till this CARD/ACWG member made unscheduled public comment later in the meeting. Congresswoman Debbie Dingell has also asked that EPA get involved. This was unfortunate and a misrepresentation of the current very strong support for Superfund petition.

  • Allen's Creek tests was said to be included in these tests but was not yet reported on. We have several open sections of the Allen's Creek on the westside including in Eberwhite Woods and other wooded park spaces. These open sections of the creek are frequently visited by children.

  • Shallow groundwater proposed and now temporary standard by the MDEQ for 1,4 Dioxane is 29 ppb.

  • DEQ said at the last CARD Meeting they still have not done the modeling for Vapor Intrusion (VI) of 1,4D as they said is necessary for including VI in the new emergency site regulatory statute.

  • At the last CARD meeting comment from state Attorney General Office officials indicated they felt the emergency order on 1,4D would be made permanent by the state government and not be temporary.

  • Michigan is proposing a new standard at 7.2 ppb with 32 years exposure (less 2 weeks/yr vacations) 1 in 100K, not the EPA standard of 70 years exposure (no vacations) which would result in a 3.5 ppb standard. A 1 in 1M risk, 70 year exposure would result in a .35 ppb standard according to EPA.

  • EPA considers 1,4-dioxane a respiratory and nervous system hazard, skin irritant, a animal carcinogen and a probable human carcinogen.



312 Glendale Dr. Memory Care Facility Development Proposal - Exacerbate Flooding in the Neighborhood

Results of residents neighborhood survey in 2013;

Site is to left in dark olive tone with Legend, flow to the right (Right click for larger view)



  • Planning Commission Meeting on this Proposal Nov. 15, 7pm in City Hall Council Chambers 2nd floor

  • UPDATE: Planning Commission voted on the 15th to postpone a decision until the December 6th meeting.


  • The ACWG does not support this development proposal developing an Apple Orchard on Glendale Dr. to a memory care facility, 24 bedroom, 16,743 square foot single story building, essentially an extension of Hillside Terrace next door to the east.


  • ACWG Comments:

We were involved in the city stormwater changes required at Zion Church addition on Liberty St. a few years ago. They added about 15% to the existing building and were required by the city to bring the entire site up to stormwater code. The church asked for a variance which we and many other neighbors did not support. We think Hillside Terrace (HT) should be required to do the same and meet code with this addition. In the previous proposal they submitted they stated that the drive along HT was part of HT property and therefore they needed access on Glendale. Now they are using HT access. They commented at the public meeting for the current proposal they could use the existing HT back parking lot but wanted to add some new parking near the new building. The owners were said to be part of the HT ownership as well. Will workers be paid by and coming over from, and residents be coming over from, HT?


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


Homes to the north of the site are down hill and have had flooding from the site in its natural state and were forced to do more owner payed landscaping to try to mitigate the flows. With a new building on site flooding will be worse.


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


This orchard should be a stormwater detention/park space to mitigate all the flooding downstream, purchased with Green Belt Millage funds to create a green space for a very dense urban area with very little park space. The city Greenbelt Millage language requires 1/3 of the millage funds be used inside the city limits. Protecting existing green space and, reduce pollution and flooding are key goals.


The city paid for land locked green space next to Eberwhite Woods in recent years with general funds. No public access except through the school’s land or parking in violation of city park acquisition rules. Dicken Woods was also paid for mainly with general funds to prevent additional flooding in the Dicken area and create new green park space.


We asked our council members to ask for a meeting with the developer regarding a park option but never received a communication back from our council members.


New reports show a real and present need to change our Flood Hazard Planning:


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


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


(not radical folks by any means) all agree in these recent reports we must plan to the 500 year Floodplain due to more intense rain events, not 100 when the city just approved about 60 new homes in the floodplain (!), 52 with parking in the Floodway on top of the Allen's Creek that is in a huge pipe. Ann Arbor needs to heed these warnings. Global Warming is giving SEM much bigger rains to deal with even now. The 500 year rain in the summer 2014 in Warren just missed us on it's way to Warren. The March 15, 2012 Dexter Tornado storm dropped 5-6" record rainfall on Ann Arbor's south west side, a record for the city, in less than an hour. More details on these reports at the links and on our web site.


One has to wonder if our city and county officials have become Global Warming Climate Deniers in their policies toward the dramatic increase in real and present flood hazard facing our community.


The ACWG members were part of the 2015 Citywide Stormwater Study/Stormwater Advisory Group effort that indicated this area as a target area for enhanced Stormwater management and relief. This neighborhood should not be put under more pressure for flood hazard.


The city needs to protect long lived tax base with any reasonable development proposal. We have many blocks of homes downstream of this site with major flooding as shown in the neighborhood survey presented to the PC and CC, and beyond this immediate neighborhood.


We see private owner efforts at Westgate Shopping Center with rain gardens in the parking islands to reduce runoff flows, unfortunately that reduction in flows will not affect the Glendale neighborhood.


The public meetings for the previous proposal for this site had the largest turnout of residents for any development proposal public meeting, the vast majority oppose the development. This proposal will have much the same impact. Ann Arbor Chronicle did a story on this discussion with the PC with many details - Article Link - and we ask these comments be added to this planning packet for the record.


Having the back of this building facing our neighborhood is not appropriate and will lower our property values and 'uglify' the area lowing the tax base. This is not an appropriate development for a single family residential neighborhood.


Once again this site is too small for the proposed development and should be set aside as a stormwater detention/park space using Green Belt Millage, and preserve the extensive tax base and wonderful neighborhoods downstream of this site.



Churchill Downs Park Stormwater Basin Project



  • Notice from the Washtenaw County Water Resources Office:

'The 2014 Upper Malletts Study made several recommendations for stormwater management improvements in Upper Malletts Creek. One of those recommendations involved building a detention basin at Churchill Downs Park. That project was included in the City of Ann Arbor’s capital improvement process and we’ll soon be ready to develop detailed designs for bidding and construction.
However, it has been some time since the conceptual plans were vetted by the public. Since then, some additional design considerations have been identified. Before moving forward, there will be a community meeting to update residents, review the project, discuss design elements, and determine readiness to proceed.'
  • The ACWG feels the Lawton neighborhood is in a particularly tough position as the original approved plotting of the neighborhood placed homes in old creek beds and wetlands that make it now very difficult to reduce flooding during normal and the much larger rain events we are now getting with Global Warming Effects on SEM.

  • The March 15, 2012 Dexter Tornado NEXRAD estimates of 5-6" rain that hit Lawton neighborhood causing flooding, an historic event, is a good example of the kinds of events that will become more common.

  • The community must work together to mitigate the flood hazard in Lawton neighborhood as soon as possible as more rain storms will cause flooding which is not acceptable to Lawton residents, or to the residents of Ann Arbor and is a threat to our tax base.


Churchill Downs Park Stormwater Basin Project Meeting

December 13th, 2016

7-8:30 PM

Lawton School MP Room (cafeteria)





Update:

Oct. 26, 2016


Link to the Recording of the City of Ann Arbor Town Hall Meeting on Oct. 27th, that was held at Eberwhite School on Shallow Ground Water tests of 1, 4 Dioxane, 2-3 ppb was found at Slawson Middle School area on 8th St. More details below on these findings.

New Emergency MDEQ Rules on 1,4 Dioxaine Exposures at Town Hall Meeting Oct. 27th:
'Acknowledging the state's longstanding dioxane exposure criteria is not protective of public health, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and the governor's office have issued emergency rules.' 'The new rules set the allowable level of dioxane in residential drinking water at 7.2 parts per billion — down from 85 ppb, a level that U.S. Environmental Protection Agency data from 2010 showed was not protective of public health.' 'In addition to drinking water criteria, the emergency rules establish a new vapor intrusion screening level of 29 ppb for dioxane, which is important as dioxane has been discovered in shallow groundwater on Ann Arbor's west side.': MLive Article


Gelman Dioxane Contamination US-EPA Superfund Petition, October 2016  

    Click here to view and/or sign in support

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

  • Scio Residents for Safe Water supports it.


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



Click on this page link or on the Left to view more details








Proposed Agenda and Updates:

October 20, 2016


1,4-Dioxane Contamination Found in Shallow Groundwater on Ann Arbor Near Westside, Suspected Pall/Gelman in Origin (updated)


Image result for flint mi

Michigan Water Crisis


  • The ACWG and Coalition for Action on Remediation of Dioxane (CARD) have asked for shallow groundwater testing for a long time.

  • Two dozen Shallow Groundwater Well tests were done late this summer on the West Side of town.

  • Results sent out early this week show 2 to 3.3 ppb found in shallow groundwater well at 6 to 12 feet down at Waterworks Park between 8th St. and 7th St.

  • Safe to say no one expected these results, certainly not the DEQ or city officials.

  • Link to the full Report with tests Results: http://www.michigan.gov/documents/deq/deq-rrd-GS-GelmanShallowGWReport_538157_7.pdf

  • Ann Arbor News MLive web site has a recent article on this MDEQ report.

  • Additionally other compounds were found: trichloroethylene and trichloroethane, dimethyl-hexane, trichloroethane, and tetrachloroethylene. Chloroform was found at 5-5.8 ppb and trichloroethane at12-14 ppb were both found above the MDEQ's reporting limits. Chloroform was above the MDEQ's standard for Vapor Intrusion Limit of 1 ppb, trichloroethane was below the 630 ppb limits.

  • Many home's basements are 7 to 8 feet below grade.

  • Allen's Creek tests was said to be included in these tests but was not reported on. We have several open sections of the Allen's Creek on the westside including in Eberwhite Woods and other wooded park spaces. These open sections of the creek are frequently visited by children.

  • Shallow groundwater proposed standard by the MDEQ for 1,4 Dioxane is 29 ppb.

  • We have deep well readings at about 300 ppb about 8 blocks up from the 8th Street wells and 1,000 ppb at Vet's Park.

  • Vapor Intrusion is a major change in the proposed Part 201 Michigan Cleanup Standards the ACWG and CARD have pushed for with 1,4 Dioxane flowing through the groundwater of the city and potentially entering homes and businesses with groundwater or as a vapor through the basement walls. In a confined space of a basement concentrations may reach levels of concern especially if the homeowner or businesses use the basement on a regular basis. Some homeowners use the basement for offices, play spaces or bedrooms.

  • At a CARD meeting years ago discussion of the Ann Arbor City Apartments at Washington and First came up regarding the below ground parking 2 stories below grade. The ACWG and others asked about potential groundwater issues with this city owned parking garage below, deep into the water table. Soon thereafter we learned the city changed the soon to be started building, to raise the building a full story up to avoid this issue. The city explicit requirement not to have parking on the street level was quickly thrown out the window. City officials did not move in a similar level of concern for residents with the potential for basement exposure.

  • It has been reported that Ann Arbor has some seeps (groundwater flowing out from hillsides) in higher elevations, not just in the valleys. Some include those in Water Hill and Wurster Park. These higher elevations also need to be monitored for contamination.

  • See below Dan Bicknell's GEA Comments on the DEQ Shallow Groundwater Work Plan

    • His comments indicate it is Not a very good plan.

  • The ACWG and the CARD Group was to get a copy of this plan from the DEQ to review which did not happen.

  • DEQ maybe trying to undermine CARD. DEQ is Starting a Community Focus Group for Gelman Contamination. This when CARD has already functioned for over 10 years with state and local government, and citizen involvement. Local Governments have passed resolutions in support of CARD. CARD has had many Public Meetings in these past years with DEQ and local officials in attendance presenting information and answering questions, with large turnouts. CARD has had Tables at all the major Environmental Events in the past 6 or more years including the Green Fair, Earth Day and Huron River Days. CARD has had meetings virtually every month for the last decade to discuss this very serious and ongoing environmental issue.

  • We need to ask for an EPA Superfund effort to start a cleanup not just a remediation the state has planned. AA Township voted early this week to do just that and we expect SCIO to join them. The County and city should also join to show a united front. Congresswoman Debbie Dingell has also asked that EPA get involved, a major statement from our Federal government official.

  • Michigan is proposing a new standard at 7.2 ppb with 32 years exposure (less 2 weeks/yr vacations) 1 in 100K, not the EPA standard of 70 years exposure (no vacations).

  • EPA considers 1,4-dioxane a respiratory and nervous system hazard, skin irritant, a animal carcinogen and a probable human carcinogen.



University of Michigan and City of Ann Arbor Need to Work Together to Improve Stormwater Management on Campus, Observatory St. Work Should have been Green Streets Policy Effort


Nichols Arboretum - School Girls Glen

Michigantoday.umich.edu


  • Opportunity Lost to do a Green Streets effort in a major problem area of the University and Ann Arbor.

  • The ACWG was invited and attended the last Ann Arbor Storm Water Level of Service and Rate Analysis Project Meeting also attended by the U of M.

    • "This project is designed to complete an Integrated Stormwater Level of Service and Rate Assessment linking capital improvement needs, financing and policy."

  • The ACWG made comment that the U of M needs to do more for the city in reducing SW runoff from campus. Several members of the U of M staff were in attendance. They took umbrage at our comments. They said they would like to have a special meeting to discuss the U of M efforts in this regard. We would welcome such a meeting to discuss opportunities for the University to reduce its impact on our fresh water runoff (stormwater).

  • The ACWG initiated, with a ACWG member on the Water Committee of the Environmental Committee, worked hard with city staff to get the Green Streets Policy passed expressly for this kind of opportunity.

  • This is just another concrete example of a Major Lost Opportunity was the work recently completed on Observatory St. in front of the School of Public Health. The U of M helped fund a portion of this effort.

  • This road had major work done to upgrade some underground utilities with large open sections of the street and resurface, (have photos). The director of the Arboretum has asked for many years to do something about all the runoff into School Girls' Glen in Nichols Arboretum from this area upstream.

  • Many U of M buildings and parking areas have been reconstructed without regard to this ecological problem.

  • 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 U of M to get involved in the very large amount of runoff from their sites all across the city, not just up stream of Nichols.

  • Professor Grese commented to the ACWG this past summer, on two occasions,  that the amount of stormwater runoff, sediment runoff and the large boulders falling into the river is 'Breathtaking' and totally unacceptable. Huge boulders are being eroded into the river at a great rate and piling up below the Glen.

  • Additionally the huge amount of sediment runoff into the Huron River wreaks havoc on the ecology of the river.

  • This was a major loss of an opportunity to make a major impact on this valuable park and the Huron River.

  • The University needs to pull its weight with greatly improved efforts to improve the quality of life on campus and in our city.

  • Next Ann Arbor Storm Water Level of Service and Rate Analysis Project Meeting is 10-21-16 10 am at the Wheeler Center, 4251 Stone School Rd, Ann Arbor and is open to the public and public comment is taken near the end of the meeting.



Ann Arbor Meets Cooperating Technical Partners Standing with FEMA

US Department of Homeland Security - Federal Emergency Management Agency


  • At the last Ann Arbor Storm Water Level of Service and Rate Analysis Project Meeting it was noted that Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has indicated that the city now meets the Cooperating Technical Partners (CTP) Criteria.

  • This normally leads to city residents obtaining FEMA Flood Insurance Rates at much lower levels.

  • This has been a request of the ACWG and other city groups for many years and will save residents money and make the city a safer environment.

  • We thank the city staff for all their hard work toward this very important goal.

  • Flooding is by far the most common natural disaster cause of loss of life, health and property in America.

  • CTP Benefits include (from FEMA):

    • 'Develop more detailed maps by incorporating local geospatial data into FEMA’s flood hazard maps

    • Receive streamlined FEMA customer service, access to existing FEMA data, national recognition, technical assistance, and FEMA’s Mapping Information Platform (MIP).

    • Mentoring support, shared best practices, online resources, and free training to achieve more efficient and effective flood risk development; and

    • May be eligible to participate in the FEMA Community Rating System(CRS) and receive CRS credits for flood hazard reduction activities, which may result in discounted flood insurance premiums for property owners.'

    • FEMA CTP Link



With the Recent Sanitary Sewer Overflows We Again Say Permanent Gauging Needed in the Watershed



Non-Contact Flow and Level Gauges; www.isco.com

  • We had an estimated 600,000 gallon sewage overflow directly into the Huron River this summer that may have occurred undetected over several days.

  • Users of the Huron River downstream in the area in Gallup Park were not aware of the overflows.

  • Additionally two more overflows at much lower levels were also reported this summer.

  • With permanent gauges connected wirelessly to a central location it would become obvious that there are sewage issues as flows would stop or drop to unexpected low levels prompting officials to check for backup, before huge amounts of raw sewage spills into the environment or home's basements.

  • Software to notify staff would be very simple and could already be an off the shelf application with automated phone, email and text message notifications.

  • 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 stormwater flows.

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

  • At the last Footer Disconnect Revisit meeting in 2014 when asked the OHM consultant agreed the costs have come down to a point as low as $500-$800 per gauge and are now even lower. 'Set and forget' are how some of these gauges are described with non-contact lasers, solar charging 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 could 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.



Rain Barrels Available from the City and County to Purchase


Picture


Rain Barrels Currently Shown on Conservation District Web Page


  • Contact the Conservation District office at 7203 Jackson Road in Scio Township, or online, or by calling 734-761-6721 ext. 5. The barrels are $75 each.

  • Contact Ann Arbor Planning and Development Services Department storm water and floodplains program at 734-794-6320 or email storm@a2gov.org.

  • Barrels come pre-assembled.  The Assembly Instructions provide information on setting up and using a barrel. Some of these are made from 'recycled food grade high density polyethylene plastic that have been thoroughly cleaned and assembled in the USA'.

  • Rain barrels collect rainwater runoff from rooftops and allow you to direct it to gardens and lawns where it can be infiltrated by plants and soil instead of washing over pavement.

  • Rain barrels slow rapid flow of water that enters the Huron River during heavy rains, helping to prevent volatile fluctuations in flows that cause erosion.

  • Rain barrels are also available at local retail outlets like Ace Hardware, Stadium Hardware and Downtown Home and Garden.

  • Some barrels can be made from recycled plastic, some large barrels can be adapted from food grade barrels no longer in service at very low cost. We adapted two reusable barrels that we got and are sometimes available at the ReUse Store on Industrial Rd.



Gelman 1,4 Dioxane Near-Surface Groundwater*


Dan Bicknell's GEA Comments:


GEA Comments on the DEQ Shallow Groundwater Work Plan

As you know, CARD requested that the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) allow CARD to review a draft Work Plan which it was preparing to investigate potential building vapor intrusion by dioxane in the West Park Area.  DEQ did not allow CARD to comment on the draft DEQ Work Plan.

Global Environment Alliance, LLC (GEA) has reviewed the attached DEQ prepared July 19, 2016 Shallow Groundwater Work Plan which was implemented by Gelman Sciences, Inc. (Gelman), see attached GEA comments to the Work Plan.  The Work Plan was to evaluate the potential for dioxane vapor intrusion into houses about the West Park Area due to shallow groundwater dioxane contamination.

The “Shallow Groundwater” Work Plan may not actually collect shallow groundwater from the shallow portion of the glacial till aquifer which is impacted with dioxane, but only perched water.   

The design of the Work Plan objectives, selection of the sampling locations, and use of temporary wells present significant technical deficiencies to:

1) identify generally the location and concentration of the shallow portion of the aquifer dioxane plume; and

2) determine generally whether buildings in the West Park and surrounding area may be in contact with the dioxane plume and, therefore, subject to the DEQ Proposed Part 201 Rules Volatilization to Indoor Air Tier 1 Screening Level.


Due to poor study design:

1) the work will likely result in the collection of no water or perched water at a number of the wells, not the shallow portion of the aquifer groundwater;

2) only one sample location is in the low areas of West Park and the surrounding area, which does not allow for the determination of whether buildings are in contact with the dioxane plume in these areas; and

3) the Work Plan did not collect data to determine the location and concentration of the current shallow portion of the aquifer containing the dioxane plume.

If you have any questions, please give me a call.

Thank you.

Best regards,

Daniel J. Bicknell, MPH

President

Global Environment Alliance, LLC

Phone - 248-720-9432

danjbicknell@live.com

geallc.org



Proposed Agenda and Updates:

September 15, 2016
 

Pall/Gelman 1,4-Dioxane Contamination Part of MDEQ Part 201 Environmental Cleanup Standards Comments

 
  • Public Comment period for Proposed Changes to MI Part 201 Environmental Cleanup Standards ends on September 13.
  • Many from various groups in Washtenaw County have submitted comment.
  • I, as part of CARD and ACWG, made comment at the DEQ June 1 Public Meeting at WCC earlier this year during a meeting to announce changes to Part 201. With many DEQ members in attendance it was clearly a good time to make comment even though they were not expecting Public Comment. I said public meetings should take public comments. They did have a recorder at the meeting to take comments. They did respond to some of our comments at that time.
  • It has been communicated from DEQ staff recently that the state may drop the 'Child Receptor' (child, pregnant woman and the fetus) in its calculations. This is a new development and one which should receive extensive push back from the Community, as the Regulated Community is working hard and spending a lot to get it removed. Many of the Public Comments we have seen from local groups and government have made this clear. Our public comments strongly supported the Child Receptor inclusion.
  • The ACWG and CARD had worked hard with U of M SPH members to get the DEQ to include the Child Receptor in the new standards. We were told by DEQ staffers it was not planned till ACWG, CARD and UM SPH researcher press for inclusion. UM SPH researchers attended many Part 201 Revisions task force meetings in Lansing to push hard to get this change included, and we thank them for this effort.
  • Vapor Intrusion is also a major change in Part 201 the ACWG and CARD have pushed for with 1,4 Dioxane flowing through the ground water of the city and potentially entering homes and businesses with groundwater or as a vapor through the basement walls. In a confined space of a basement concentrations may reach levels of concern especially if the home owner or businesses use the basement on a regular basis. Some home owners use the basement for offices, play spaces or bedrooms.
  • A small number of Shallow Well tests were done on the West Side of town. Results are still not available. Why this has not been expedited is of real concern.
  • A member of ACWG and CARD working at U of M SPH has submitted a Quick Turnaround federal grant proposal to study exposures of 1,4 D in SCIO Township. They are partnering with other SPH researchers and North Carolina State University researchers. NC State have found 3 to 8 ppb in drinking water and they propose a standard of .35 ppb in line with EPA standards and are doing extensive exposure and risk assessment analysis. Notification of the grant is expected soon. Others at SPH have also expressed interest in submissions on other aspects of the exposure including basement vapor intrusion modeling and risk assessment.
  • Recent NC State Report on 1,4 Dioxane In Drinking Water - Sept. 12, 2016:
  • 'Some of the highest levels nationally of a likely cancer-causing chemical 1,4 dioxane were detected in North Carolina water systems in the Cape Fear River Basin, which supplies water to more than 120 public water systems used by 1.5 million residents.
  • "There was an expectation that we needed to do something instead of waiting for the state or federal government to figure out what to do. That didn’t seem like the right thing,” says Mick Noland, the chief of operations at Fayetteville’s water system where testing has turned up 1,4-dioxane levels as high as 8.8 parts per billion, 25 times higher than the EPA’s level of concern.
  • While EPA does not regulate 1,4-dioxane, it has calculated that long-term exposure to concentrations at .35 ppb could increase the risk of cancer in one out of 1 million people. North Carolina has calculated that the same concentration poses the same risk in waterways feeding water supplies. Higher concentrations would pose higher risks.' : NC Health News  (Bold by us)
  • Levels in Ann Arbor area were much higher then in NC in the last two decades and as recent as this year in Scio Township drinking water wells. Some are now drinking in the single digit levels of the compound.
  • Michigan uses 1 in 100K exposure, Ann Arbor, and the state prior to John Engler, use 1 in 1M exposure for risk assessment as NC does now. NC is clearly not known to be one of our more progressive states but in this case they are being much more protective then Michigan with support from local scientist. NC and NC Research Triangle Park is home to major CDC, EPA, NIH and NIEHS offices and home to UNC, UN State and Duke, and the largest health research center in the world.
  • Michigan is proposing a new standard at 7.2 ppb with 32 years exposure (less 2 weeks/yr vacations) 1 in 100K, not the EPA standard of 70 years exposure (no vacations).
  • 'The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety Act for the 21st Century was signed into law early this month where the US EPA would finally have the authority to evaluate and regulate the tens of thousands of commercial chemicals it oversees in the U.S. But as the EPA begins implementing the new law, the chemical industry is already busy pushing the agency to limit scrutiny of various widely used, highly toxic chemicals. [It also] updates the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) for the first time since TSCA was enacted in 1976.' Link
  • EPA considers 1,4-dioxane a respiratory and nervous system hazard, skin irritant, a animal carcinogen and a probable human carcinogen.


City Council Working Session on Drinking Water Treatment Plant and Greenway Sept. 12; Greenway Meeting Sept 14


City of Ann Arbor Seal

  • On discussion of the Drinking Water Treatment Plant:
    • During the working session there were no discussions on how much it would cost to remove 1,4 Dioxane from the water if Barton Pond was contaminated.
    • Tucson Arizona spent many Millions, not including additional operating costs, to get their water down to 8 ppb which they are not happy with and are working very hard with much more funds to get it lower, to .35 ppb. The new plant may cost over $15 Million not including  additional operating costs which could add over $1M a year. They are also finding the 1,4 Dioxane Plume is moving much faster though the groundwater than predicted.
    • Moving up steam of Barton Pond for a water source is one option not discussed, the cost for that is not clear at this point and could be well over $30M to build a new dam not including the new water pipes needed. 
  • On discussion of the Allen('s) Creek Greenway:
    • No comments were made about the substantial flood hazard benefits of a Greenway, as noted by the ACWG for many years. Comments from the Washtenaw Drain Office several years ago supported this benefit.
    • Flood insurance reductions for residents and businesses would also be realized with reduction in flood hazard, also was not discussed.
    • No discussion of all the Floodplain properties currently being developed as opposed to set asides for a Greenway.
    • 10 of 16 city Environmental Sustainability Goals will be met with a building of a Greenway. Staff said he could not remember another project having this many goals met.
    • Riders off road will connect the B2B Trail which could increase bike riding tremendously as many folks do not like to ride in our street bike lanes for fear of cars hitting them. On the Greenway there may be no cars except at street crossings depending on the final route selected.
      • Studies clearly show folks on bikes and walkers spend a lot more money in town then drivers, don't pollute the air and water, don't need parking, make no noise, connect with nature and the community, and get great exercise a benefit to them and the community.
    • U of M at task force meetings did not seem to engaged in this planning contrary to comments. The ACWG had to bring up the fact that many folks walk down the track to Football and Basket Ball games. They made no comment although these folks area walking in an illegal path which the UM should be concerned and would think a Greenway next to the track would clearly help make it a much safer walk, as walkers and not drivers we should all be encouraging.
    • A laudable comment from staff was the hope that the design will be one where a 10 year old could reasonably be allowed to ride the Greenway without parental supervision.
    • It was not commented on that MDOT is very interested in the Greenway and B2B Trail and has suggested it would help cover some of the costs. This now seems to be their signature issue. And they are very supportive of the tunnel under the tracks to connect the Greenway to the B2B Trail and greatly reduce flood in the Allen's Creek as the RR brim currently acts as floodwater dam trying to get to the Huron River.
  • City Master Plan Greenway Meeting, Wed. Sept. 14, 8:30 am to 10:30, City Hall Council Chambers 2nd Floor.

City of Dearborn Heights Proposes Buying up to 15 Parcels in its Floodplain with FEMA Grants

  • City of Dearborn Heights recently proposed reducing flood hazard in their community by buying up to 15 parcels with homes in the floodplain mostly with FEMA Grant funds. Many other communities are doing the same with federal funds.
  • Dearborn Heights is not know for being a very progressive city but this will greatly reduce flood hazard and will likely reduce the FEMA Flood Insurance Rates for businesses and residents. And may allow then to join FEMA Community Partner Program lowering rates even more, something Ann Arbor is dragging its feet on for years.
  • This while Ann Arbor, 'the more progressive city', is building 60 or more new homes in the floodplain (!) and some just right up next to the Allen's Creek floodway which may cause our all ready sky-rocking FEMA Flood Insurance Rates for businesses and residents to go up even more. This is not to mention the additional flood risk to the new homes, but the additional risk posed by potential blockage of flows to unsuspecting up stream businesses and homeowners that would normally not flood. Ann Arbor may also be building new homes in old creek beds and wetlands according to residents near the developments on the east side. like in Lawton which has caused major flooding problems. Resident have threatened to file suit to stop the wetland for homes.
  • Flood risks for Ann Arbor, especially in the Allen's Creek, are poorly understood and we should not be building in the floodplain, and clearly not up next to the floodway. Global Warming are changing all assumptions about flood risk, with 1,000 and 10,000 year rains happening in the US. Staff and several consultants in recent years have commented at city meetings the poor caliber of our floodplain maps.
  • Federal funds virtually can not be used to build in the 100 year (1% chance) or in the 500 year (.2% chance) for critical structures.
  • President Obama recently discussed Global Warming threats as 'Terrifying' in a recent New York Times article and some Nobel Scientist have said it may be worse than the Nuclear Threat to our communities. He states its 'already manifesting itself as droughts, storms, heat waves and flooding'.
  • Global Warming is now: 'Climate change makes occurrences like the devastating August floods in Louisiana — the worst natural disaster in the U.S. since Hurricane Sandy in 2012 — at least 40 percent more likely, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.' Link


Very Strong Sewer Smells Still at Arborview and Miller on the Near West Side



Great Ann Arbor near westside Neighborhood at Arborview and Miller

  • Residents of the area near Arborview 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 had talked to residents in the area in the past month and they are still very unhappy with the situation and wonder why it cannot be taken care of after several years of filing complaints to city officials.
  • If sewage flowing from Scio Township is the issue maybe it should be re-routed to a different location or changes made in the area. At this location there was a pump station removed years ago and gravity flow allowed to handle sewage flows. This may be an issue with very low flows through this area now with resultant smells. Rerouting sewage flows may need to be implemented.
  • Long past due to have this resolved. Some of the past comments were 'You would not believe the smells (sewage?) we are forced to put up with in this otherwise great neighborhood'.
  • The Ann Arbor Sewage Treatment Plant was originally largely paid for with federal funds and as such it was stipulated that the plant take a percentage of flows from neighboring communities to reduce pollution in the Huron River and its tributaries.



August 2016 No Meeting due to Vacation and Travel Schedules


Watershed Issues of Interest: 


Late Update 8/17/16 *: On the 1,4-Dioxane Contamination Gelman/Pall/Danaher Corp.

From Jennifer Conn, PE, REHS; Environmental Quality Analyst; Washtenaw County Environmental Health;

‘Gelman/Pall Corp. is conducting the shallow groundwater investigation this week – they started on Monday.  Hopefully we’ll have some results back prior to the next CARD meeting in September, however the laboratories may not be able to get the sample results out that fast.


The Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners (BOC) voted to continue considering petitioning for Superfund designation at the August 3rd meeting.  While the BOC are reviewing the Superfund application and the steps necessary to submit the petition, no definitive decision to move forward has been made.’



‘Rain Bombs’ Hitting the US Like Never Before due to Global Warming’s Effects while Ann Arbor City Council Seems to Ignore this Threat and Allows Many New Developments in the Poorly Defined Allen’s Creek Floodway and Floodplain

  • August 13-15. 2016 Super Storm obliterating rainfall and flooding records across the US.

  • '10,000 year Tax Day 2016 Monster Rain Event' hits Pattison, Texas.



Historic Rain obliterating the previous records

for SW MI and NW Ohio Aug 15, 16 (NOAA, WU)

(Right Click for Larger View)

  • SW MI and NW Ohio hit with massive historic rainfall amounts. ‘Monday's deluge set two distinct daily records, according to forecasters at the National Weather Service northern Indiana office. It set a new record for rainfall on Aug. 15 at 7.69 inches, obliterating the previous record for that date of 2.35 inches set in 1934. It also is the most rainfall on any date, surpassing the previous mark of 6.58 inches set on Sept. 13, 2008.' (Link)

  • Our city charter clearly states council may make planning determinations solely based on the detrimental effects on the safety and welfare of residents. This is generally not taken seriously by our council as was noted by some on council in last night's city council meeting vote on South Pond Development. The city and county have ignored good watershed best management practices (BMPs) for many years. The ACWG indicated that the South Pond Development Wetland Permit in the original proposal did not indicate that the proposed road to the north onto Huron River Dr. would illegally encroach on a Stream (Drain) easement in their application or presentation. The city belatedly disapproved the encroachment after the ACWG made protest comments in person and in writing. The city and county nearly built an illegal Homeless Shelter in the Allen's Creek Floodway until the ACWG and others showed it was illegal, federal law forbids new residential buildings in the floodway, at a loss of about $1M in tax dollars that should have been spent to help the homeless and support staff.

  • This storm came up from the south where it was also caused unprecedented devastating historic rain events.


August 12, 2016 Super Storm in Louisiana - 1,000 Year Storm (NOAA)

(Right Click for Larger View)



August 12, 2016 Super Storm in Louisiana - 1,000 Year Storm

(Right Click for Larger View, climatesignals.org)


  • August 13-14, 2016 at least 39 inches of rainfall in two days floods Baton Rouge.

  • Louisiana Governor's Mansion flooded, Governor forced to evacuate.  

  • This was a 1,000 year rain for the area!

  • This will be a multi billion dollar flood for Louisiana and the US.

  • Louisiana now has had a 500 year storm and 1,000 year storm in the last three months.

  • Some of the highest atmospheric water vapor levels ever recorded over Louisiana occurred during this storm, more than virtually all Louisiana hurricanes in recorded history.

  • This was the worst flooding in Louisiana recorded history, including all past hurricane events in recorded history.

  • Experts say the August 12, 2016 Super Storm in Louisiana is a once in a 1,000 year event, but 500-year event flooding has been recorded at least eight other times this year in Oklahoma, Texas, South Carolina, Louisiana, Virginia, and Maryland.

  • This August 12 storm was not a Tropical Depression or Hurricane.



10,000 year Tax Day 2016 Rain Storm

(NWS/NOAA; Dennis Mersereau @wxdam)

(Right Click for Larger View)


  • 10,000 year Tax Day 2016 Rain Event: The local Pattison, Texas flood control district extrapolated the 23.5 inches of rain over 14.5 hours in Pattison, Texas, during the Tax Day storm to be a one-in-10,000-year event.

  • Over 26 Inches of Rain Triggers Record Flooding in the South, including the Sabine River, Texas on March 16, 2016.

  • June 2, 2016 Historic Deluge Hits Texas.  ... 'flash flood watches covered more than 183,000 square miles of Texas, an area about the size of Germany and England combined. More than 15 inches of rain fell just northeast of Houston in a span of 12 hours on Thursday, just a few days after more than 20 inches fell in two days northwest of the city—the region’s second 100-year rainstorm in less than a week.' (Link)


  • ... 'Statistical calculations like these make a major assumption: That the climate of the past is the same as the climate of today. That’s no longer a very good assumption.’

  • ‘It’s the latest in a string of exceptionally rare rainstorms that are stretching the definition of “extreme” weather. It’s exactly the sort of rainstorm that’s occurring more frequently as the planet warms.' (Link)

  • 'Climate change has already been shown to increase the amounts of rain falling in the most intense events across many parts of the world, and extreme rainfall events like this week's Louisiana storm are expected to grow increasingly common in the coming years.' (Ann Arbor's own Weather Underground, Wunderground.com; Link)

  • (bold by us)

  • Like Archimedes said 'Water seeks its own level at its own time!'





 
Proposed Agenda and Updates:

July 21, 2016
 

Pall/Gelman 1,4-Dioxane Contamination City Council with MDEQ Working Session 7-25-16 7PM

 
  • The City Council will be having a Working Session with the MDEQ officials to discuss on going plans to deal with the Gelman 1,4-Dioxaine groundwater and surface soils contamination. Scientist studying this contamination have said at public meetings that the Huron River, Allen's and Honey Creeks are probably already contaminated and potentially basements.
    • Working Session July 25, 7pm
    • City Council Chambers
    • Audience General Comment time will be at allowed, 3 minutes, during the Working Session
  • The new Director of MDEQ is a former Lobbyist for BP Oil Company. The State Government has been widely criticized for this appointment considering BP pollution in the Gulf and past MDEQ leaders outrageous ongoing health effects on Flint residents.
  • MDEQ has agreed to do ongoing tests of groundwater that is at the surface or in basements, and test the Allen's Creek up stream of the outlet into the Huron River. They would like to test Seeps in the near west side as well as close in west side homes with groundwater problems - wet, pooling or flood water in basements from groundwater. 
  • Initial test results reported of just one (!) seep at West Park showed no contamination, Non-Detect down to 1 ppb. 
  • Currently no additional tests have been reported.
  • Contamination of our groundwater very near or at the surface, in wet basements or in our creeks and streams would clearly be a violation of the very very weak MI Part 201 Environmental Cleanup Standards' placing city residents and businesses at real risk of environmental exposure of a toxic compound which the 'Prohibition Zone' (PZ) was ordered and said by the Judge Shelton's Court to 'easily handle and protect the community'. 
  • Flows to Barton have not been modeled and it may be heading for our drinking water source, flows north which caused the change of the PZ north after a year or so of being established, north toward Barton Pond, and soon may need to be moved north again as the plume keeps moving north.
  • At the SRSW, CARD and ACWG table at the Green Fair in early June discussion with a local resident MDEQ official working on the plume indicated to us plans to test for shallow groundwater contamination using shallow wells in the same area in the near future. This testing will go along with creek, seep and basement testing. The ACWG is glad this testing has finally started if only to gain a bench mark for future tests of any migration of the plume toward the surface.
  • There is on going discussions of a US-EPA Superfund Designation of the Gelman Cleanup request by local governments.
  • Ann Arbor and Scio Townships have both unanimously voted in favor of support.
  • Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners Ways and Means Committee unanimously voted basically for a resolution to support a Superfund Designation, as several Board Members indicated to us after the meeting. A vote of the full board is to be held in early August which they said they expect to easily pass.
  • The Serra Club Huron Valley has also voted to support US-EPA Superfund Designation.
  • The CARD Group has indicated a general support for the Superfund Designation option at the March 2016 meeting.
  • On March 21st Ann Arbor City Council has asked the Ann Arbor City Environmental Commission (EC) to review the option and report back to Council. The EC has very little expertise in this very complex geological, toxicological and hydologic issues and should not, it would seem, have been tasked with this evaluation.
  • Danaher bought Pall Corporation which bought Gelman Sciences, and is a $60B company with close to $11B in gross profits last year. As the responsible party it is now libel for cleanup costs if EPA were to accept Superfund Designation and would likely take it out of the state court, with the aid of the US Department of Justice.
    • 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 Super Fund option discussion and what will be a request.



    CARD Group to Comment on New MI MDEQ Part 201 Environmental Cleanup Standards, Deadline Postponed



    State Law: Part 201 Environmental Cleanup Standars


    • CARD will make written comment on these new standards.
    • The public comment period has been postponed to September 13, pushing back the potential adoption date again.
    • Ryan Stanton at AA MLive has reported recently that the city has gotten indications that the state government will try to push this deadline up in coming weeks after pressure from the city.
    • The city, who negotiated itself out of the Contested Court Case years ago, would also like to be reinstated as our city is at real risk of the contamination.
    • Proposed 7.2 ppb for 1,4 Dioxane drinking water standard for MI for 1 in 100K cancer risk. EPA has set a cancer slope factor at 3.5 ppb standard for 1 in 100K or .35 ppb for 1 in 1M cancer risk for drinking water. MI used 32 years less 2 weeks vacation per year(!) while EPA used 70 years no vacations for exposures. MI is currently at 85 ppb. MI used 1 in 1M risk before changes by Gov. Engler Administration, and still is the standard in Ann Arbor.
    • Contrary to MDEQ comments about this exposure standard it has been reported in the last census data that MI is the #2 state in the US in 2010 for number of current residents who were born in the state. We are not a transient resident State.
    • Written comment is open from June 17 through September 13.
    • See MDEQ's Generic Cleanup Criteria Proposed Rules Revisions (posted May 2016) for details and comment information.
     

    The New Meijer in Manistee Installs three Porous Asphalt Parking Lots
     
       
    In this parking lot photo above the conventional parking lot is on the far left with standing water.


    Sign: "Porous Pavement Do Not Dump Sand on Pavement"

    The New Meijer Manistee MI Porous Asphalt Parking Lots (Right Click for larger view), ACWG
    • Meijer in Manistee MI opened a new store this year and installed three Porous Asphalt Parking Lots.
    • The top photo was taken during a heavy rain storm with the obvious non-porous lot to the left. The porous lot looks dry.
    • Both Meijer and Manistee are not know for being very radical, to say the least, and they are clearly seeing the benefits, both economic and environmental, of using porous pavements: to eliminate runoff, clean and detoxify, reduce plowing and salting, reduce slip and fall, reduced heat island, greatly reduced road noise, and proven longevity of the pavement. Mn Highway Dept. study in recent years showed it would be less costly to do their highways in porous pavement as 30% of construction costs were due to fresh rain water (stormwater) runoff, if additional durability tests show it feasible. Lower speed arterial porous roads have been shown to hold up better than conventional roadways, have much fewer potholes, and cost less, and is now in use in many states.
    • This is also a very cold region in northern lower Michigan with many freeze thaw cycles per winter. 
    • U of M has a new porous asphalt lot on Fuller Rd. that city staff tests have shown to handle up to 1,300" an hour of rainfall, about the same rainfall as 50 hurricanes passing over in one hour.


    Upcoming Ann Arbor City Council Primaries August 2nd
     
    Vote Aug 2nd
    • A On August 2nd Ann Arbor will have Primary Election Voting. Please vote.
    • With all the building in the Allen's Creek Floodplain and the Allen's Creek Greenway Master Plan finally started a lot is at stake.
    • We have three long time Allen's Creek, and city wide, watershed supporting candidates which we hope you will support:

    • Kevin Lesser 5th Ward Democrat, Supports EPA Superfund Status
    • Eric Lipson 4th Ward Democrat,  Supports EPA Superfund Status

    • Please also support Yousef Rabhi for State Representative - He has been working hard for us as our County Commissioner. He has made the Gelman contamination cleanup a major effort pushing for EPA Superfund status to get the cleanup moving.
     



    June 2016


    No Meeting due to conflict with the Allen('s) Creek Greenway City-wide Public Meeting #1, Thursday June 16th, 6:30 pm (see details below).

     
     
    Watershed Issues of Interest:  


    Allen('s) Creek Greenway Master Plan Public Meeting #1 

    Arcadia Creek Greenway Daylighted Section, Kalamazoo, MI, DDA
    (Right click for larger image)
    • The Greenway Master Plan - First Public Meeting this week:
    Greenway City-wide Public Meeting #1  
    Thrs June 16th 
    6:30-8:30 p.m.
    In the Council Chambers at City Hall
    • We hope you can attend, get a overview of the plan options for the Greenway, ask questions and make comment on the options for a Greenway in Ann Arbor.
    • A Greenway in the Allen's Creek floodplain will greatly reduce flood hazard to hundreds of homes and businesses in the west side, will create a open gathering green space in the near downtown, connect to the Huron River and Border to Border Trail, provide alternative transportation to and from the downtown and river, provide festival sites for events, arts display locations and many other amenities that will be enjoyed for generations to come.
    • As part of the Community Rating System (CRS) with FEMA a Greenway could significantly lower Flood Insurance Rates in Ann Arbor which are going up each year. One homeowner in the floodplain was told by the city staff recently the rates are expected to go up 25% a year for the next many years. Unfortunately Ann Arbor currently does not qualify for this FEMA important safety and cost saving benefit for its home owners.
    • The tunnel under the railroad berm at Depot St. is being considered 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 very high in the current City of Ann Arbor Capital Improvement Plan (CIP).
    • 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
      • Dexter Huron River Greenwy
    • Just one example of flood reduction and park benefits is the Arcadia Creek Greenway in Kalamazoo completed a few years ago - no flooding to the 500 year rain, in just a few years generated $12M/year in festival receipts, new park fees for events and increased tax revenues of the adjacent area by $400K/year.
    • All CAC meetings materials are available at city hall and online.



    Pall/Gelman 1,4-Dioxane Contamination


    • The Coalition for Action on Remediation of Dioxane (CARD) this month discussed groundwater testing in the near west side.
    • Scio Township Unanimously supports EPA Superfund Designation on June 13, 2016 amended June 17, 2016
    • MDEQ has agreed to do ongoing tests of groundwater that is at the surface or in basements, and test the Allen's Creek up stream of the outlet into the Huron River. They would like to test Seeps in the near west side as well as close in west side homes with groundwater problems - wet, pooling or flood water in basements from groundwater. Contact Jennifer Lawson - Water Resources Manager at City of Ann Arbor jlawson@a2gov.org
    • Initial test results reported last week of one seep at West Park showed no contamination, Non-Detect down to 1 ppb. 
    • At the SRSW, CARD and ACWG table at the Green Fair last weekend discussion with a local resident MDEQ official working on the plume indicated to us plans to test for shallow groundwater contamination using shallow wells in the same area in the near future. This testing will go along with creek, seep and basement testing. The ACWG is glad this testing has finally started if only to gain a benchmark for future tests of any migration of the plume toward the surface.
    • WUOM had a very well attended (full) Issues and Ale event this month at Bill's Beer Garden with CARD member Roger Rayle - chair of SRSW, MDEQ representative Mitch Adelman and Ryan Stanton from MLive - Ann Arbor. Audio and Video of the event is posted on their web site. General questions from WUOM host Lester Graham were discussed at the start and many questions were later taken from the audience.
    • Dan Bicknell of the CARD Group (and Global Environment Alliance, LLC) has contacted the US-EPA this month regarding the potential establishment of a Maximum Contamination Level (MCL) for 1,4-Dioxane. This would be a federal standard. It had been discussed in the CARD group and by others that a new standard may be coming out in the next few years at a 3.5 ppb for 1 in 100K cancer risk and .35 ppb for 1 in 1M. He has learned that the US EPA is studying the compound and would not be able to set this standard for at least several years. EPA has been constrained by the Congress in recent years in setting new MCL standards, with less funding and a notion that it would be to large a negative effect on businesses.
    • Here is an Link to Washington Post Article (6/10/16) on setting MCLs and 1,4 Dioxane issues in North Carolina, and the difficulty EPA has in setting new MCL's even when the science indicates a clear need, link emailed to us by Jenn Conn Washtenaw County Public Health Department and CARD member.
    • Barbra Lucus - WEMU Green Room Series of Reports. The Green Room: The Ann Arbor Area's 1,4 Dioxane Plume-Part 11. "It’s been over three decades since Ann Arbor’s groundwater contamination was discovered, and throughout this time, citizen science and community advocacy have had a crucial role.  In this edition  of 'The Green Room,' Barbara Lucas looks at the uphill battle from its earliest steps." Interview with Dan Bicknell on origins of the contamination.
    • There is on going discussions of a US-EPA Superfund Designation of the Gelman Cleanup request by local governments. Ann Arbor Township as unanimously voted in favor of support. Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners postponed a vote to support earlier this month. On March 21st Ann Arbor City Council has asked the Ann Arbor City Environmental Commission to review the option and report back to Council.
    • Danaher bought Pall Corporation which bought Gelman Sciences, and is a $60B company with close to$11B in gross profits last year. As the responsible party it is now libel for cleanup costs if EPA were to accept Superfund Designation and would likely take it out of the state court, with the aid of the US Department of  Justice.
    • 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 Super Fund option discussion and what will be a request.
    • UPDATE 6-20-16: Sierra Club Huron Valley Group Supports US EPA Superfund
    Sierra Club Huron Valley Group passes resolution in support of Danaher/Pall/Gelman 1,4 Dioxane Plume US EPA Superfund Designation, following Ann Arbor and Scio Townships lead in support.

    From their announcement: 
    'We have had over 30 years of relative inaction with respect to the plume, and it continues to grow and endanger the Huron River Watershed, and the drinking water of the City of Ann Arbor.
     
    The current system is not working. It is absolutely critical that a more proactive process be put into place.'




    CARD Group to Comment on New MI MDEQ Part 201 Environmental Cleanup Standards


    Part 201

    • CARD will make written comment on these new standards.
    • Proposed 7.2 ppb for 1,4 Dioxane drinking water standard for MI for 1 in 100K cancer risk. EPA has set a 3.5 ppb standard for 1 in 100K or .35 ppb for 1 in 1M cancer risk for drinking water. MI used 32 years less 2 weeks vacation per year(!) while EPA used 70 years no vacations for exposures. MI is currently at 85 ppb. MI used 1 in 1M risk before changes by Gov. Engler Administration, and still is the standard in Ann Arbor.
    • Contrary to MDEQ comments and this standard it has been reported that in census data that MI is the #2 state in the US in 2010 for number of current residents who were born in the state. We are not a transient resident State.
    • Significant changes include the inclusion of exposure to pregnant women, children and vapor intrusion into homes and businesses.
    • ACWG Member Prof. Rita Loch-Caruso UM-SPH and Dr. Trish (Patricia) Koman UM-SPH were instrumental in getting changes to include exposures to pregnant women and children that were not originally proposed. They were two of the very few non-regulated community asked to attend the state taskforce meetings on proposed changes. Dr. Trish Koman attended many Lansing Meetings in support of tougher standards.
    • ACWG did attend the June 1- PART 201 PUBLIC INFORMATION MEETING at Washtenaw Community College, and asked questions and made comment even though comment was not generally allowed at these meetings. Our comment included the notion that with all those in attendance (about 50 including many from the MDEQ) public comment was not going to be allowed was counter productive for public involvement.
    • Other members of the CARD Group also attended and asked questions, including from the County. No local elected officials seemed to be in attendance.
    • Written comment is open from June 17th through July 26th.
    • See MDEQ's Generic Cleanup Criteria Proposed Rules Revisions (posted May 2016) for details and comment information.



    Proposed Agenda and Updates:  

    May 19, 2016


    Pall/Gelman 1,4-Dioxane Contamination



    • The Coalition for Action on Remediation of Dioxane (CARD) meeting this month had a large turnout including representatives from MDEQ and State Attorney General's Office (AG), with about 30 or more attendees.
    • The AG has preformed very poorly in the past in this effort during court appearances due to lack of interest or attention.
    • The meeting was covered, as other recent meetings, by the Ann Arbor News/MLive reporter Ryan Stanton in some detail.
    • MDEQ has agreed to do ongoing tests of groundwater that is at the surface or in basements and test the Allen's Creek up stream 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
    • I'm not sure what is taking the city so long to work with the DEQ. This is the 3rd public meeting they have said they want to test for water in seeps, basements or near basements and Allen's Creek. Our city leaders need to 'get with the program' and move on this. It has taken years of ACWG and CARD comments to get the DEQ to take this seriously, and a lower ppb standard around the corner, let's not drag our feet in working with them. As of the morning of the meeting nothing has been done by the city to support this request while it has been widely published.
    • Dr. Larry Lemke - a west side resident, geologist Associate Professor at WSU and longtime follower of this plume himself and with WSU students presented some results of modeling he and his student conducted.
    • It was said at the meeting today 1,4 Dioxane is probably in the Allen's Creek, in groundwater close to the surface and in the river and, may already be in some basements. It may be very low concentrations currently but we need to get out in front of this and start understanding the potential exposure that has not been addressed or even acknowledged till now.
    • When asked it was said the models presented today did not indicate this plume will not go under the river into Ann Arbor Township as is was not in the models.
    • The models indicate that the plume from the central location of the original site are not expected to go to Barton Pond but the high levels north of the central site have not been modeled and may pose a danger to Barton. Not enough funds have been provided by the polluter to insure our water supply is not at risk. Much of this modeling has been done is an effort of a scientist at WSU Dr. Lenke and his students looking hard for grant money to do these very difficult and complex geological investigations. 
    • The DEQ said at the Town Hall that Barton has a hydro-logic ‘block’, of out flow water into the soils around the pond, that will not allow groundwater to flow into it. That was refuted by Dr. Lemke. He indicated, from his perspective, it is not protected as was said at the Town Hall. Also it was reiterated that when the plume goes north toward Barton once it gets past M14 hydro logically it will be a ‘downhill run’ into Barton. This is why CARD has asked, and DEQ agreed, for more monitoring wells be installed in the northern area where there are few now and Judge Shelton dismissed that as unnecessary so they were not added.
    • He also commented that the Allen's Creek and Honey Creek could be a Sink for flows of the compound and should be tested for this. Honey Creek flows into Barton Pond.
    • 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.
    • Dan Bicknell also presented at the meeting groundwater information that was presented by Pall in the past that showed the rise of groundwater as it moves through the city. It seemed to show very high groundwater table starting at West Park and to the Huron River. This groundwater could be contaminated from the lower levels and should be tested routinely for its presence, the DEQ seemed to agree, as they had previously.
    • Over the past few months there has been discussion by CARD of the option to propose the Pall/Gelman 1,4-Dioxane contamination be turned into a EPA Super Fund 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 Super Fund 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.
    • Barbra Lucus - WEMU Green Room Series of ReportsPart 8 Looks at UofM lack of activity relating to this contamination and, the now off line, 'Risk Science Center' (RSC) funded by Chuck Gelman at UM-SPH. Interviews with the former head of the RSC featured regarding conflicts of interest.
    • The ACWG as part of CARD supports the Super Fund option discussion and what will be a request.



    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 Treat to Life, Health and Property



    Great Lakes Integrated Sciences Assessments (GLISA)
     
    • This detailed report supports the floodplain and floodway development cautions described in the HRWC report sent out in our agenda last month.
    • 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 effect the new owners but also put those up stream at greater risk of flooding, life, health, property loss and major threat to existing city property tax base.


    A new study just out April 25, 2016 Regarding Floodplain Management in Michigan


    • From the May 2nd 2016 issue of U of M University Record: 
      • "Changing climate conditions — including warmer temperatures and an increased frequency of heavy rainstorms — represent 'an emerging threat to public health in Michigan,' according to a new report from university researchers and state health officials."
    • This report by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and the Great Lakes Integrated Sciences Assessments (GLISA) Program—a partnership between the University of Michigan and Michigan State University.
    • Key finding from the Great Lakes Integrated Sciences Assessments Program Report:
      • "Additional changes include an increased frequency of some types of weather extremes such as heavy precipitation events. These changing climate conditions have had an impact on both environmental and human systems, representing an emerging threat to public health in Michigan."
      • Ann Arbor - 29.4% increase in rainfall events over 1".
    • (underline by us)
    • Contributor to this report Dr. Larsen was a invited member of a recent City of Ann Arbor Climate Change Panel Presentation and Discussion and the very first thing she said in her opening statement:
      • 'First don't build in the Floodplains!'
    • Contributors to the report:
    Dr. Larissa Larsen, PhD
    Associate Professor of Urban and Regional
    Planning and Natural Resource, 
    University of
    Michigan - Ann Arbor

    Dr. Marie O’Neill, PhD
    Associate Professor of Environmental Health
    Sciences and Epidemiology, 
    University of Michigan - Ann Arbor



    Allen('s) Creek Greenway Master Plan CAC Started This Month 

     

    ACGC

    • The Greenway Master Plan started early this 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 ACWG will support a robust effort and a Greenway that is both a green space, alternative transportation, flood hazard mitigation design and, economic benefit to the city and region. We will not support a simple strip of pavement as a Greenway Trail as some have suggested.
    • As we have said for years, and the consultants showed at the CAC meeting, other Greenways in Michigan have shown great promise and this Greenway has the potential to be a major landmark, amenity and destination for the city.
    • All CAC meetings materials are available at city hall and online, we are glad to report.
    • 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.
    • Link to City of Ann Arbor Allen Creek Greenway Master Plan Project Web Page
    • Link to Allen Creek Greenway Conservancy ACGC



    Madison Green Street's Rain Gardens Installed This Month - No Notice to ACWG

     

    Miller Ave Rain Garden just after Installation - EWashtenaw.Org

     

    • The city installed the long awaited Rain Gardens on Madison as part of the Green Street Policy with some city funds and help from residents. The ACWG had plans to be of assistance and give notice to our members of this effort.
    • Unfortunately the ACWG was not contacted about the date and time of this effort even though we had been involved from from the beginning in the Green Street Policy.
    • We, with residents and CM Mike Anglin, asked for a meeting with staff to discuss not omitting the Rain Gardens on Madison and got agreement that they would be installed as originally planned.
    • Effective Community Outreach is critical for the city to get community engagement and support, and outside funding, this was not good Community Outreach.  
    • 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 was changed from the original. 
    • 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 then the conventional Gray or Hard Solution.
    • Some comments from residents in the area indicate a big reduction in fresh water (stormwater) runoff in the area with these improvements. Follow up tests to this effect would be very useful in continuing these Green Streets Policy efforts.
    • Springwater subdivision in southeast Ann Arbor latest street reconstruction to get Green Streets treatments.



    Floodplain Overlay Planning Voted Out of the City 2017 City Budget by Majority on City Council, Residential and Business Flood Insurance Rates Negatively Effected 

    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, Sumi Kailasapathy 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 and then voted down.
    • This was a resolution worked on by city staff with graduate students and faculty from UM who did considerable research and work to its end, and whose help had been requested by city staff.


    • Comments by the opposing council members indicated they would consider adding to the 2017 City budget which would be more appropriate avenue to take.
    • Unfortunately the option to include it in the 2017 budget was not supported by the majority on council.
    • 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 and businesses become eligible for larger discounts on flood insurance which is predicted to increase greatly for at least the next decade according to city staff and council comments and, published reports.



    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






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