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07/21/2014 - DEQ Settles for $500K - may reduce public data

In June 2014, the DEQ formally agreed to settle its February 2000 and July 2001 motions against Pall Corporation in exchange for a one-time payment of $500,000 from Pall.  The $500K is about 1/10 of the ~$5M in fines that Circuit Court Judge Donald Shelton has held in abeyance since 2001.    Here is a copy of the settlement.

Section V. DATABASE AND WEBSITE of the agreement contains two curious items:

A. Gelman Database. The Parties will engage in good faith discussions and attempt to
resolve the State's request for direct access to Gelman's internal water quality database
regarding the Site. This commitment does not guarantee a particular result or that the
Parties will reach an agreement on this issue.

B. State Website. Within a reasonable time after the Effective Date of this Agreement, the
State will make a good faith effort to evaluate and reduce the volume of information and
documents available on the State's Website for the Gelman Site
(http://www.michigan.gov/deg/O, 1607.7-135-3311 4109 9846-71595--,00.html)
consistent with the DEQ's internal policy and procedure Internet Posting of Place-Based
Information (as it may be amended from time to time) and to make the level of detail
available more consistent with the State's websites for other sites of contamination in the
State taking into consideration the nature, complexity, and public interest in the Gelman
Site. This commitment does not guarantee any particular result or volume of information
to be reduced.

Part A continues the unfruitful negotiations to re-establish DEQ access to Pall's sampling database that has been closed since 2011... thus preventing the public's access to the "official" database of Pall's dioxane in our Waters of the State.

Part B signals Pall's desire for the DEQ to restrict sharing other information about the site... something that the DEQ may already be implementing. 

Without timely, accurate and up-to-date information, bad things can happen without being detected.  Unfortunately for this site, information has been "hidden" before which delayed recognition of  certain problems, e.g. the belated discovery of the deep E unit contamination..