- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 2, 2016

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) - The city of Ann Arbor wants the state of Michigan to adopt stricter cleanup standards for the chemical dioxane.

City Council members raised concerns Monday night about an underground dioxane plume that’s been slowly spreading through the city for decades. The council voted unanimously to approve a resolution calling on the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and state Legislature to follow through on updating the state’s cleanup standards as required by law, The Ann Arbor News (https://bit.ly/1SCb2qE ) reported.

The resolution asks the state to reduce the permissible levels of dioxane in groundwater from 85 to 3.5 parts per billion, reflecting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 2010 findings that the cancer risks from dioxane are greater than previously believed.

“Our state standard is so far out of whack with the acceptable science that this change is a considerable change for the state to make,” said Ann Arbor Councilman Chip Smith, who introduced the resolution. “This will give us the ability to get the attorney general into court and give us greater ability to influence the outcome of this cleanup. It is a beginning point, not an end point.”

In light of the water crisis in Flint, where lead has tainted the city’s water supply, there’s heightened attention surrounding the potential long-term threat that the dioxane plume poses to Ann Arbor’s drinking water.

“What’s happening in Flint is a tragedy. We also don’t want to have a tragedy here that’s caused by not trying to work with the (Department of Environmental Quality),” Smith said.

City officials and residents are concerned that the plume could taint Ann Arbor’s drinking water supply if it reaches Barton Pond, where the city gets most of its drinking water.

The City Council plans to hold a special work session on Feb. 29 to address the dioxane plume. The council members also are considering holding at least one town hall meeting to discuss the issue with residents.

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Information from: The Ann Arbor News, https://www.mlive.com/ann-arbor

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