- Associated Press - Friday, February 5, 2016

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) - The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality will closely monitor a dioxane plume that’s been slowly expanding in Ann Arbor as it moves closer to the Huron River, according to the agency.

Currently, agency officials are limited by state law and court orders on what they can do from an enforcement standpoint. The department can’t force Pall Corp., which dumped large amounts of the chemical into the environment from 1966 to 1986, to do a full-scale cleanup, and the pollution is still spreading despite ongoing pump-and-treat remediation efforts to reduce the amount of dioxane in the groundwater.

The agency is trying to minimize the risk of human exposure to dioxane as the plume continues to spread, The Ann Arbor News (https://bit.ly/1nLQIHL ) reported.

Local officials want to ensure the plume doesn’t reach Barton Pond, where the city gets most of its drinking water. But some uncertainty remains about where and how the plume might spread.

This week, officials from the Department of Environmental Quality discussed the situation with city officials and residents at a meeting of the local Coalition for Action on Remediation of Dioxane.

“Part of the long-term monitoring plan to track the plume within this prohibition zone includes identifying where it’s going,” said Mitch Adelman, district supervisor for the agency’s Remediation and Redevelopment Division.

If the Department of Environmental Quality has any reason to believe the state isn’t being protective of public health and the environment, the agency will be “prepared to engage,” he said.

But many local officials and residents want to see more proactive cleanup measures now rather than waiting until it gets too close to the Huron River.

On Monday, the Ann Arbor City Council voted unanimously to approve a resolution calling on the state to follow the law and to adopt stricter standards for the cleanup of dioxane.

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.

Under current state law and court orders, the plume is allowed to continue to spread and contaminate more groundwater and eventually reach the Huron River.

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

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