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Posted on Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 5:59 a.m.

Pall-Gelman dioxane plume: Ann Arbor officials want stricter cleanup criteria to stop spread

By Ryan J. Stanton


This map produced by the Environmental Health Division of the Washtenaw County Department of Public Health shows the latest estimation of the footprint of the Pall-Gelman 1,4-dioxane plume. Local officials say the contamination is spreading through a system of underground streams, contaminating the groundwater in those areas. Download larger version.

Courtesy of Washtenaw County Department of Public Health

The footprint of the Pall-Gelman 1,4-dioxane plume continues to expand further into Ann Arbor, city officials say, posing risks to human health and the environment.

Two members of the Ann Arbor City Council who are particularly concerned about the problem — Sabra Briere and Chuck Warpehoski — are bringing forward a resolution Tuesday night, urging the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality to establish stricter cleanup criteria.

If necessary, they said, they're willing to have the city petition the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to aid in setting appropriate cleanup criteria for 1,4-dioxane in Michigan.

"This is an ongoing problem — it's not new," Briere said. "We don't have a new emergency. We have a problem, and we would like the state to help us solve this problem."


Sabra Briere, D-1st Ward, is co-sponsoring a resolution with Chuck Warpehoski, D-5th Ward, that will be on Tuesday night's City Council agenda.

Ryan J. Stanton |

She added, "I don't want people exposed to cancer-causing agents we can avoid, and I don't particularly want this sticking around for the next 40 years."

Gelman Sciences, which later became Pall Life Sciences, used the industrial solvent 1,4-dioxane in its processes for the manufacture of medical filters on Wagner Road in Scio Township many years ago.

Between 1966 and 1986, wastewater containing the toxic chemical was sprayed on its lawns and stored in unlined lagoons. The dioxane seeped through soil and rock layers into the groundwater and began to spread, leaving parts of the city and Scio and Ann Arbor townships contaminated.

In order to protect the public, the Washtenaw County Circuit Court issued an order to prevent exposure to groundwater in certain areas, but local officials say the plume is spreading.

"When you look through the maps, you can see how the plume has changed size and how it's grown since this all began," Warpehoski said.

"The fact that Pall has been doing this very minimalist treatment protocol that does not appear to be containing this plume really puts the health, safety and welfare of the community at risk."

Environmental monitoring and remediation efforts are ongoing and are being tracked by the DEQ, even as Pall announced this year it is closing its Ann Arbor business operations.

Pall's official position has been that it's in full compliance with a consent judgment the company entered with the DEQ, which serves as the legal framework for the cleanup, and the ozone-oxidation treatment technology it's using has been approved by the state.

But local officials are concerned they still see the plume spreading, and they don't believe the most effective cleanup methods are being used.


Chuck Warpehoski

"There's a very slow cleanup process," Warpehoski said. "They're pumping water out from the ground, treating it to remove dioxane, and then discharging the treated water into Honey Creek. They're doing the least amount possible to stop the plume from spreading."

The real concern, Warpehoski said, is what happens if the contamination spreads to the Huron River.

About 85 percent of the city's drinking water comes from an intake pipe at Barton Pond on the Huron River, while 15 percent comes from wells located at the city's airport. The city already has had to shut off other wells on the western side of the city because of the plume.

"So we've already lost access to drinking water sources because of this plume," Warpehoski said.

Pall officials and DEQ officials couldn't be reached for comment Friday.

The DEQ's 1,4-dioxane residential drinking water cleanup standard was set a number of years ago at 85 parts per billion for a 1 in 100,000 residual cancer risk.

In 2010, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency published a toxicological review of 1,4-dioxane, recommending a steeper cancer slope factor. Briere and Warpehoski said that effectively set the drinking water residual cancer risk level at 3.5 parts per billion for 1 in 100,000.

"The current EPA standards would be something like 3.5 ppb and we're cleaning to an 85 ppb standard and not even that in some cases, so it's a real interesting problem," Briere said.

When the Pall-Gelman plume was first discovered in the 1980s, the acceptable level of 1,4-dioxane in Michigan was just 3 parts per billion.


Pall Life Sciences at 600 S. Wagner Road in Scio Township.

Melanie Maxwell | file photo

The resolution from Briere and Warpehoski states, "The EPA has categorized 1,4-dioxane as a non-threshold carcinogen. California and Illinois lowered their drinking water guidance levels to 1 part per billion, while Massachusetts set its guidance at 0.3 parts per billion."

Briere and Warpehoski are now calling on the DEQ to set new standards that are in line with the EPA's more recent findings about dioxane, in hopes that the dioxane making its way through underground streams in Ann Arbor will become less of a threat over time.

Briere and Warpehoski said it's clear from looking at mapped data of dioxane readings that the plume is expanding, but it's hard to tell which way it will head next and if or when it will reach the river.

At this point, Briere said, the city has no way to be confident the plume won't eventually contaminate the city's primary drinking water source.

"One of the concerns people have is the plume might go to Barton Pond and that's not an irrational concern," Briere said. "But we don't have any evidence on those plume maps that indicate that's the way it's headed. That doesn't mean it's not. It simply means we can't tell."

Mike Gebhard, an environmental analyst with Washtenaw County, said in 2011 he calculated it could take 10 to 15 years or less for the dioxane to reach the river, though he said there aren't enough monitoring wells in place to get an accurate picture of where the flow is headed and how fast.

Briere and Warpehoski argue additional data and modeling are needed to help define and predict the areas, direction and rate of expansion of the plume.

The city has been unsuccessful in its efforts to be considered by the Washtenaw County Circuit Court as an interested party in a lawsuit brought by the Michigan attorney general on behalf of the DEQ against Pall regarding the dioxane plume and its cleanup.

Briere and Warpehoski argue Pall hasn't been required by the DEQ and the Circuit Court to predict with sufficient accuracy the areas, direction and rate of expansion of the plume.

Their resolution urges the DEQ to "act responsibly and protect the public health and environment of Michigan" and "use the best science now available." They want the state to acknowledge that no level of exposure to 1,4-dioxane is safe.

"Dioxane is a really hideous material," Warpehoski said. "The goal is getting this cleaned up and I'm not satisfied with the current level of cleanup."

Chuck Gelman, the founder of Gelman Sciences, couldn't be reached for comment for this story. He still lives in Sloan Plaza in downtown Ann Arbor.

Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for Reach him at or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's email newsletters.


Kai Petainen

Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 4:49 p.m.

Want to know how much 'respect' Pall gives to the Dioxane issue? They never mention the word 'dioxane' in the annual SEC 10-K filing. To some, that could be considered to be 'material' information. They talk about Ann Arbor in the filing, but they don't say 'dioxane'.


Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 4:38 p.m.

As I recall wasn't it the State of Michigan or the EPA that allowed Gelman Science to spread that garbage on the lawn in the first place? If so, shouldn't those agencies be somewhat responsible for the clean up?

glenn thompson

Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 4:38 p.m.

The proposed resolution states "RESOLVED, That the City of Ann Arbor City Council urges the MDEQ to act responsibly and protect the public health and environment of Michigan under the authority delegated to the State under the Clean Water Act;" Do the authors really believe that the MDEQ is intentionally acting irresponsibly? Is this inflammatory rhetoric helpful in getting cooperation? I would suggest that the resolution be removed from Mondays consideration and be rewritten to less demanding and to stress a single point. Maybe the best thing at this time would be ti just request all MDEQ and Pall data be publicly available on a timely basis. Pall seems to be working hard to suppress the data showing their cleanup is not effective. Perhaps the city can offer to use its extensive GIS data capability to make the extent of the problem more easily understood. Offer to cooperate, don't just accuse the people you want to help you of irresponsible behavior and expect their cooperation.


Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 4:28 p.m.

There may be something to this. Their lawn always looks beautiful there. :)

Charles Curtis

Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 4:12 p.m.

Long ago I remember the city went to court to stop a larger higher volume treatment from happening and now people are upset? Gelman wanted to start quicker and do more than what ended up being the course of action after many court battles. The city got a court order to stop the cleanup at one point. Maybe Ryan can dig into archives and quote some of the articles from when much of this began.


Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 4:11 p.m.

The graphic is truly a work of art in the classic sense that it exists for no useful purpose.


Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 4:29 p.m.

Its fabrication and they even call it an Estimation. I also think airborne when I think PLUME. Poor choice of wording there.


Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 3:40 p.m.

I wonder if all the developers out there in Scio township are mentioning this plume to prospective buyers of their properties......doubtful. Hopefully, any new resident will do their due diligence and research carefully before buying property in this area.


Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 4:30 p.m.

Yeah. Right on. Or does Mr. Ranzini tell buyers and families when he loans them money to buy in the PLUME.


Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 3:35 p.m.

"About 85 percent of the city's drinking water comes from an intake pipe at Barton Pond on the Huron River, while 15 percent comes from wells located at the city's airport. The city already has had to shut off other wells on the western side of the city because of the plume." This intake pipe at Barton Pond should be identified on the map included with this article. Is the red dotted line the expected expansion of this contaminated plume?


Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 4:41 p.m.

Strange commenters here. I suggest that the main water intake for the city of AA at Barton Pond be identified on the map with this article so it can be seen how close it is to the plume and projected path of the plume, and this gets voted down? Must be someone working for Pall in the comment section today.....

Eduard Copely

Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 3:34 p.m.

I worked actively on campaigns back in the late 80s and 90s to help reduce the dumping of 1,4-Dioxane into Lake Superior by the Pulp and Paper industry along Lakes Superior and Michigan. Here is some of our research that may shed more light on why we have this plume under the Old West side to begin with: Ethoxylation, a cheap short-cut companies use to provide mildness to harsh ingredients, requires the use of the cancer-causing petrochemical Ethylene Oxide, which generates 1,4-Dioxane as a by-product. 1,4-Dioxane is considered a chemical "known to the State of California to cause cancer" under proposition 65, and has no place in "natural" or "organic" branded personal care products. 1,4-dioxane is also suspected as a kidney toxicant, neurotoxicant and respiratory toxicant, among others, according to the California EPA, and is a leading groundwater contaminant.

glenn thompson

Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 3:51 p.m.

In the Pall/Gelman case the dioxane was not a by product. Gelman purchased almost a million pounds of dioxane from Dow Chemical. One of the reasons they used dioxane is because it is miscible in water. They could, and did, just wash it away and then dump the waste water into ponds on the property.

Tom Joad

Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 3:32 p.m.

The Huron River ultimately receives water from all streams and tributaries that cross the city. Has 1,4-dioxane been detected in the Huron River and at what levels? This solvent is highly miscible in water, that's why it's such a major ecological disaster for the city. Cases like this only highlight industry profiting by shifting their environmental impact and clean-up costs on society. What is desperately needed is a environmental awakening to recognize that we can't continue to foul our nest for the purposes of economic prospects when those activities create a substantial burden on society to mitigate its deleterious effects.

Alan Goldsmith

Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 3:30 p.m.

"Sabra Briere, a Democrat, faces two Independent challengers in November — Jaclyn Vresics and Jeff Hayner. " Oh not political at all huh? Didn't Hayner bring up this issue at a City Council meeting? Did the dot com cover that? And the fact Ms. Briere suddenly became interested in the issue after all these years when her opponent brought it up during the public comments time during the Council meeting? Anyone thinking the two aren't connected is being very naive.

Eduard Copely

Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 3:21 p.m.

I didn't realize that the Old Westside was sitting on what amounts to a toxic Pall-Gelman 1,4-dioxane plume. Well, so much for looking to move there, I think we'll stay put. Ryan, thanks for the excellent reporting and the map.

Basic Bob

Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 4:36 p.m.

The contamination, if any, is deep underground. It is completely safe to live there. You are more likely to die from crossing the street without looking.


Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 3:06 p.m.

Barton Pond, where the city's main water intake pipe is located, is north of the plume on the included map. If it took 30 years for the plume to spread this far, it will be at least another 30-50 years before it even gets close to Barton Pond. By then, I'm sure that we'll have found some funds to buy a longer pipe to get water from further up river, since at some point the current pipe will need to be replaced. As mentioned in the article, the minor city water intake is from a well by the airport, south of the map. It really does not appear that the plume is moving in that direction. While it might be possible to clean the pollutants, it seems like a logistical nightmare. Pump out water. Where do you put it and clean it? How does it get there? Then once the water is cleaned, where does it go? You can't put it back in the same place or it will get dirty again. Then, where do you put the pollutants after they're taken out of the water? How do they get to that location?


Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 3:05 p.m.

Any news on the guy, politician, that drank water with dioxane at a meeting to show there was nothing wrong with it? Was that the mayor? This was quite some time ago and i have always wondered if he has any bouts with cancer? I was horrified when the individual did this at a meeting as there was little evidence to prove that the stuff was safe.


Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 3:37 p.m.

Totally stupid act. Drinking contaminated water today doesn't cause cancer tomorrow. Cancer develops over years of being exposed to contaminants. What a stupid stunt.

Vivienne Armentrout

Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 3:01 p.m.

Part of the history is that the City of Ann Arbor sued Pall (Chuck Gelman sold the company to Pall Corp. nearly 20 years ago) to recover money for shutting the Northwest well (formerly known as the Montgomery Well). This well taps into the E aquifer and a very low concentration (last I heard it was about 2 ppb) of dioxane was discovered in it. The City (rightfully) has a zero tolerance of dioxane in its drinking water. But they imprudently sued Pall for monetary damages. This led to a settlement agreement that actually solidified Pall's position regarding cleanup. I'm not sure that the makers of this resolution have really read the lawsuit settlement details. It specifies that the city will not contest an inferior method of cleanup involving the use of bromates. It specifies that the city will not contest NPDES permits for dumping the partially cleaned up material into the Huron River at Honey Creek, which is above our Barton Pond intake for most city water. Contesting NPDES permits was formerly one of our few legal outlets. Basically, the city tied its own hands in this lawsuit settlement. I've been involved in this issue since 1997 and citizens like Roger Rayle and Vince Caruso have been involved longer, and more intensively. Many local officials have been involved, though in the case of the City of Ann Arbor it has fallen almost exclusively into the laps of staff. The Mayor and former council members did not want to be involved. It is rather frustrating to read in the words of the resolution the implication that the situation has not been addressed to date. The other lawsuit of consequence was what is called the "contested case". This was a lawsuit by the State against Pall/Gelman that resulted in a settlement. Under that settlement, Judge Donald Shelton has been calling the shots for more than 15 years. He has in most instances found to the benefit of the company and frustrated the efforts of MDEQ in cleanup.

glenn thompson

Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 3:59 p.m.

If you look at the documents attached to the current proposed resolution Council has passed 15 pages of resolutions on the Pall/Gelman ground water contamination. Perhaps it would be better to try to work cooperatively with the MDEQ and others rather than telling them what to do by reslolution.

Vivienne Armentrout

Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 2:44 p.m.

It is nice that these two council members recognize that we have a problem. But their resolution does not acknowledge the history of long involvement of other local officials and citizens in trying to resolve the problem. Here are some useful links: Good recent review of history: Scio Residents for Safe Water website: CARD (coalition hosted by Washtenaw County) site:

Basic Bob

Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 2:44 p.m.

Warpehoski is clueless about groundwater contamination, but that should not prevent him educating himself about the issues. In this case he prefers to make inflammatory remarks to the media. While it is sad that this contamination was allowed to occur, scare tactics will not make it disappear. Chuck, please use your position to educate people, not just scare them. Why don't you protest in front of Charles Gelman's home? He is responsible, even if he paid Pall Corp. to fix it. Are you afraid of Gelman's influential friends? "you can see how the plume has changed size and how it's grown since this all began" Yes, that's what happens to groundwater contamination. It always spreads in the direction of groundwater flow. It will continue to spread until the sun dims and the universe collapses. "They're pumping water out from the ground, treating it to remove dioxane, and then discharging the treated water into Honey Creek. They're doing the least amount possible to stop the plume from spreading." This is the mitigation plan recommended by EXPERTS. There is no other way to do it. Would you rather they dig up half of Ann Arbor hundreds of feet deep? That would not make it go away any faster. "So we've already lost access to drinking water sources because of this plume," That is one well that was shut down. How many homes have been removed from city water because of it? NONE.


Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 2:17 p.m.

Brieir has been on council for how many years? She's just now bringing up this issue? Oh right, voting day is coming up. How nice that her friend Chuck is helping her.


Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 2:52 p.m.

Yes, if they wanted to reach Mr. Gelman for comment, they should have gotten his number from Ms. Briere, since he has contributed to her campaign. And now he gets to contribute again, by supplying the basis for her political posturing, 20 and 6 years too late.

Vince Caruso

Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 2:16 p.m.

The resolution is something after years of inaction by the city, but it would have been more effective to have done a better job vetting the resolution. It has some errors and really doesn't ask for much. Would have helped to reached out to other in the effort. We have three things that indicate the plume is moving toward Barton Pond. The Prohibition Zone shortly after it was established was enlarged in that direction, a MSU geologic study and preliminary results from a WSU geological study both indicate it moving in that direction. We need to get it out of Judge Shelton's court and back into the MDEQ and USEPA's hands, who actually know current toxicology, geology and chemical cleanup technologies. The rewrite of the state's Part 201 Environmental Cleanup standards guiding this 'cleanup' has also been a major failure of the state. It was very bad before but is either not going to be done in time to meet the already extended deadline or be a much weaker standard. EPA is watching these developments closely and could step in where the state is woefully ineffective. You would think Governor Rick Snyder would have some interest, in what he calls his home city, than to set us drift off into Super Fund Status. This is what happens when you have a very short sighted business first at all costs Republican administration.


Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 2:15 p.m.

This is a long term problem that requires reawakening awareness. Thank you to our council members who are doin just that


Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 2:05 p.m.

Something really needs to be done about the plume, but he DEQ and state government are so deep in the pockets of business I find it highly unlikely. Chuck Gelman should be ashamed of himself. He poisoned the water for millions of people and cost the tax-payers dearly for many years to come.


Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 2:01 p.m.

After all of these years, there should be some cancer statistics that have accumulated. Such a graph would show whether this is a snake oil pitch or a danger to society. Show me the facts. And, there should be a computer generated video of the start, middle and ending of this plume throughout the years. This would hint at the intensity levels and locations for future concerns. Where's that? Its just a map in motion. Has the current treatment done any good or is it just a feel-good patch. Again, the map history video could reveal this.

Vivienne Armentrout

Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 4:53 p.m.

Cancer risk assessment is a very complex science. There have been a number of cases where occupational exposure has led to a high incidence of specific types of cancer. Mesothelioma as a result of asbestos exposure is a good example. But often residents of an area where there is exposure to toxicants will have a variety of cancers and it is more difficult to assign causation from one compound to the individual case. Much cancer risk assessment is done with animal studies. The EPA recently increased its estimation of the cancer risk from 1,4-dioxane based on these studies. Here is a website that details the studies and the risk assessments by the EPA. Because of these results, the EPA has lowered its "Drinking water risk" estimate to 3.5 ?/l (3.5 ppb) for one chance in 100/000 of contracting cancer from this compound. There are technical reasons, including the slope of the dose-response curve. The cancer most observed was liver cancer in mice. We are lucky and happy that there has been no human cancer cluster associated with the local exposure. Maybe part of that is that we have moved to minimize human exposure since the problem was discovered in 1986 and Scio Township residents started drinking bottled water.


Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 3:22 p.m.

I can chime in with an un-scientific tale of the possible effects. I have a friend who grew up immediately east of the Gelman/Pall facility. He would swim everyday in the Sisters Lakes, for those who don't know these are in the Dolph Park area, off Lakeview and Liberty near the intersection with Wagner. All that area is glacial deposits, sand and gravel, and these gravel pits and small lakes are formed out there. Anyway, he and his brother swim and play in this lake almost everyday after school, for years, and then as he gets older he swims there on his work breaks, so he is in that lake all the time. Now they both have leukemia.


Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 2:06 p.m.

Science and facts need not apply. This is totally politics.

glenn thompson

Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 1:39 p.m.

The city already has had to shut off other wells on the western side of the city because of the plume. "We've had drinking water wells that are now in the prohibition zone, so we've already lost access to drinking water sources because of this plume," Warpehoski said. These statements are a bit misleading. The Ann Arbor city supply well is not in the prohibition zone. Its use was voluntarily discontinued. I believe there were a few private residential wells on the western edge of the city that are now in the prohibition zone.

Ryan J. Stanton

Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 2:02 p.m.

Thanks for chiming in, Glenn. If you look at the map, you'll see the offline Northwest Supply well area is just barely outside the prohibition zone, but still within the estimated plume area. One could argue the city didn't have much choice but to shut it down given the potential risks, but you're correct that it wasn't court-ordered. I'm taking out Warpehoski's statement about the prohibition zone to be more accurate.


Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 1:05 p.m.

Maybe the city could actually "do" something about the issue. Let's brainstorm: Why not run the high-contaminate 1,4 water through the Hieftje folly fountain as part of the UV treatment?


Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 2:05 p.m.

The paint might come off the fountain.


Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 1:09 p.m.

What? And get it wet??

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 1:02 p.m.

The Mayor, who claims to be a green environmentalist, has been asleep at the switch for 13 years. I asked him at his State of the City speech at the Chamber of Commerce what more could or should be done about the Pall toxic plume creeping underground towards our water supply and he basically said the city is doing everything it could do and there was nothing else that could be done! Without a change, the cancer causing plume will reach Barton Pond and our city will not have any safe water supply and our water treatment plan will have to be shut down. Because this Dioxane can pass through unbroken skin, it won't be safe for future generations to swim, canoe or kayak down the Huron River unless the clean up is accelerated. We must take additional steps to accelerate the clean up an urgent priority!


Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 4:27 p.m.

When you make a home loan to a family in the area do you notify them the groundwater is contaminated?


Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 4:26 p.m.

Everythings an issue with you but you sit in your big bank office and whine. This has been going on for years. If you think it's so easy and obvious why don't you run for mayor?


Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 4:24 p.m.

When are you going to stop politicking from the cheap seats and take some responsibility unto yourself?

Basic Bob

Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 3:06 p.m.

Per Ann Arbor's 2012 Annual Water Quality Report: Your Ann Arbor tap water contains up to 8.3 ppb bromate, which is a byproduct of ozone disinfection. The EPA limit is 10 ppb. So you are concerned about adding bromate to Honey Creek? I would be more concerned about what the city is adding to your drinking water!


Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 2:36 p.m.

Which government entity should enforce your plan? How do they make Pall perform their duties? The DEQ is in the pocket of business, not the environment.


Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 2:13 p.m.

I am pro tougher cleanup but your facts aren't right

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 2:07 p.m.

@Steve Bean wrote: "Any specific suggestions, Stephen?" 1. Double the amount of water per hour being filtered, which currently is 1,200 gallons per hour. This will remove the dioxane at twice the rate. 2. Go back to using the method originally being used to destroy the dioxane, Ultraviolet Oxidation (UVOX), which costs $3 per 1,000 gallons. This process results in H20 (water) and CO2 (carbon dioxide), or sparkling water. A few years ago they switched to the cheaper method called Ozone Oxidation, which causes bromate to form, a powerful carcinogen, which is being poured into the environment with the remediated water. Ozone Oxidation costs about $1.5 per 1,000 gallons. Overall, the extra cost, which should be borne by the Pall Corporation, would be an extra $1 million per year.


Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 2:01 p.m.

What do you want to see done. Where would you get the money from?

Steve Bean

Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 1:16 p.m.

Any specific suggestions, Stephen?


Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 1:09 p.m.

So he's "comfortable" that we're doing all that we can?

Kai Petainen

Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 1:01 p.m.

From my understanding, the DEQ and Pall are meeting in September. Pall wants to loosen the requirements. Which makes it very odd... that an environmental public company wants to loosen environmental requirements.

Kai Petainen

Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 12:58 p.m.

Ryan, thanks a lot for covering this. I might write something too and reference your article.

David Cahill

Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 12:46 p.m.

The big deal here is that the plume is at about 85 parts per billion - which is roughly 24 times the EPA's new recommended level.


Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 2:58 p.m.

Mr. Thompson is correct, the density in the plume varies greatly in relationship to it's distance from the source wells and initial ground contamination locations.

Ryan J. Stanton

Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 2:10 p.m.

From the reports I've read, up to 2,799 ppb is allowed in the groundwater in the prohibition zone.

Steve Bean

Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 1:22 p.m.

David, are you sure that that number is accurate? If so, there would be no legal need to treat it. My understanding is that the levels are much higher than that in most of the plume.

glenn thompson

Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 1:20 p.m.

I do not think it is accurate to say the plume is at 85 ppb. That is the current cleanup standard. The concentration in the plume varies greatly. The leading edge of the plume on map with this article is the estimated 3 ppb boundary, however a well at the core measured over 100,000 ppb about a year ago.

Silly Sally

Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 1:12 p.m.

Wrong, quite wrong. The plume is not at 85 PPB, but actually much, much higher. The water is being pumped out from the plume and treated to 85PPB and then dumped into a creek that feeds the Huron River. My question is if the creek in up river or down river from Barton Pond. The plume on its own will be down river when it finally reaches the Huron River.

Great Lakes Lady

Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 12:28 p.m.

This city has more PhD's, intellectuals, educated, etc....per capita than probably any other city in the state......but can't get this horrific public safety issue resolved???


Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 12:24 p.m.

And why does anyone think more pressure now is going to fix or change anything?


Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 1:57 p.m.

Why does anyone think less pressure is going to change anything?

Ryan J. Stanton

Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 12:36 p.m.

They're essentially trying to light a fire under the DEQ. From the resolution: "The MDEQ missed its self-imposed deadline of December 2012 to set new standards or cleanup criteria for 1,4-dioxane, which were to be based on the EPA toxicological review. The MDEQ's deadline for revising the cleanup criteria administrative rules was extended until December 31, 2013; however it appears to be unlikely that the MDEQ will meet that deadline."

Ryan J. Stanton

Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 12:34 p.m.

The sponsors of the resolution believe the EPA's toxicological review of 1,4-dioxane recommending a steeper cancer slope factor gives the city new leverage to push for upping the state standard for dioxane cleanup. After the state standard is changed, it likely would involve additional court action to make the new standard applicable to the Pall-Gelman cleanup.

Linda Peck

Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 12:19 p.m.

This is an important issue, political or not, and I am pleased that it is being re-addressed. There is nothing more basic than our water and earth and air quality.


Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 10:44 a.m.

Oh, yes: a new political resolution for this decades-long cleanup dogfight! This will certainly help solve the problem that began 47 years ago, and has been embattled in court proceedings. Must be re-election time for someone that needs additional "impressive" campaign promo material?


Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 2:15 p.m.

So does Sabra and Chuck have any comment on the raw sewage the city dumped into the Huron river? what clean up efforts are they willing to undertake to correct what the city is responsible for. It does ring hollow at election time to create some drama while not dealing with something the city did while they are at the wheel. just saying

Steve Bean

Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 1:20 p.m.

a2grateful, the city very well could have to further treat the water from the river someday, but the plume hasn't gotten there. Any suggestions for what to do in the meantime that our representatives could pursue?


Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 1:07 p.m.

"Sabra-rattling". Very nice.


Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 12:52 p.m.

Sure, raise the hypothetical cleanup standard to the moon. It costs nothing to do so. It also fixes nothing. It's a great, feel-good political idea, especially at election time. Unfortunately, the "new political standard" will do nothing to enhance actual cleanup. As most following the issue know, the actual cleanup is incredibly complex and expensive. However, the city could institute a truly useful tactic regarding this issue. Treat 1,4-dioxane directly at our water treatment plant, if water is obtained from affected wells. This is the only way local officials can protect a2 citizens from the 1,4 threat, assuming that drinking water is unavailable from other "pure" sources. This issue deserves true action from our leaders. Show us action, and not silly, impotent "sabra-rattling" resolutions.

Ryan J. Stanton

Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 12:29 p.m.

Sabra Briere, a Democrat, faces two Independent challengers in November — Jaclyn Vresics and Jeff Hayner. Chuck Warpehoski is not up for re-election. I get the sense from talking with Briere and Warpehoski that both are sincerely concerned about this issue and see a real potential to raise the cleanup standard.


Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 11:43 a.m.

THANK YOU, Sabra and Chuck, for staying on top of this. This contamination is a huge concern for me, and I agree that we need to push hard for better clean up.