- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 22, 2016

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) - Ann Arbor Township plans to request a federal cleanup of a dioxane plume that’s been spreading for years through the area’s groundwater, and the city of Ann Arbor is considering whether to do the same.

Ann Arbor Township’s Board of Trustees on Monday approved a resolution in support of petitioning the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for Superfund status, The Ann Arbor News (https://bit.ly/1S37Sso ) reported. The Ann Arbor City Council also on Monday informally agreed to have the city’s Environmental Commission review whether the city should seek a federal Superfund cleanup.

The resolution indicates that the township believes the agency would contain and eliminate the dioxane, and require the polluter, Gelman Sciences, to pay for residential well sampling and dioxane analysis at homes.

The industrial solvent was used by Gelman Sciences at its former facility in Ann Arbor and dumped into the surrounding environment between the 1960s and 1980s.

Officials with the state Department of Environmental Quality estimate that the plume has contaminated three square miles of groundwater, and it continues to slowly spread every year.

Pall Corp, which acquired Gelman Sciences in 1997, is operating under a consent judgment that was hashed out over the years in Washtenaw County Circuit Court, doing some pump-and-treat remediation to remove dioxane from the ground.

But many local officials and residents want to see a more aggressive cleanup.

Ann Arbor City Councilwoman Sabra Briere said it’s her understanding that Ann Arbor Township doesn’t intend to seek a Superfund designation for the dioxane plume on its own, but rather that it would put its support behind a petition from the city or county.

County Board Chairwoman Felicia Brabec said the county is researching the potential pros and cons of pursuing a Superfund because of the lack of responsiveness from the state.

The state Department of Environmental Quality is considering enforcing stricter dioxane standard after years of pressure from local officials and activists.


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

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