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Pall/Gelman Database Changes

At the April 27, 2011, CARD Technical Group meeting today, there were a couple of startling revelations. 

First, DEQ's Sybil Kolon revealed that Pall has been working for about a year on moving their 1,4-dioxane sampling database from their own computers to one hosted at Wayne State University (WSU).  That helps explain why there hasn't been a database update from Pall/Gelman via the DEQ to the public since December 2010. 

Why Wayne State?  WSU researcher Larry Lemke, who, like the other non-DEQ people at the meeting, was surprised by the news, then revealed that it might just be a coincidence, but Pall's Corporate Vice President of Sustainability, Safety & Environmental Engineering in charge of the cleanup, Farsad Fotouhi, has a brother, Farshad Fotouhi, who was chair of the Department of Computer Science at Wayne State University prior to having been appointed dean of the University's College of Engineering in December 2010.  The brother connection revelation surprised Sybil and the other people present.

Now, instead of getting an Excel spreadsheet update from Pall/Gelman once a month, the DEQ has to spend more time extracting, downloading, and manipulating the well and sampling data before it releases the data to the public.  That is, if Pall/Gelman doesn't take the DEQ to court to oppose making the data public, which the DEQ seemed to think was a distinct possibility.  The DEQ didn't seem concerned that there might not be any more public data.  But Larry Lemke and Scio Residents for Safe Water Vice-Chair Roger Rayle were adamant that such data continue to be public. 

Without access to the raw data, independent analysis of Pall/Gelman's conclusions would be impossible. 
Roger requested that the DEQ immediately download all of the sampling history from Pall/Gelman's WSU database and work with the CARD Technical Group to verify that all data from the prior database are in the new database.  When Pall/Gelman set up the prior database, they failed to transfer some important sampling results from an earlier data base, e.g. the pre-1995 sampling data from monitoring well MW-30d.

It's troubling that it took a year for the DEQ to tell the public about Pall's database change plans.