The Green Room

Barbara Lucas / 89.1 WEMU

Good communication between all parties involved is central to productive conflict resolution.  Some say it needs improving when it comes to dealing with Ann Arbor’s dioxane-contaminated groundwater. In this segment of our ongoing series, Barbara Lucas looks at the question:  “What part does communication play in how we move forward?”


Barbara Lucas / 89.1 WEMU

Environmental Protection Agency risk assessments indicate that the drinking water concentration representing a one in a 100,000 cancer risk level for 1,4-dioxane is 3.5 parts per billion, and for a one in a million cancer risk it is .35 ppb.  Only three states still have double-digit drinking water guidelines for dioxane:  New York, South Carolina, and Michigan.  Obviously, what is “safe” is subject to subject to interpretation, and is influenced by many variables.  But there is growing awareness that what is safe for you, may not be safe for your children or grandchildren. 


Barbara Lucas / 89.1 WEMU

A plume of 1,4-dioxane has been spreading under Ann Arbor since the 1980s.  During this time, numerous homes on private wells have had dioxane in their drinking water before being hooked up to city water.  Is that the only source of dioxane to consider when weighing body burdens?  In the 15th of our series on 1,4-dioxane, Barbara Lucas looks at other ways people can be exposed to this chemical of emerging concern.


Barbara Lucas / 89.1 WEMU

Flint’s lead crisis has led to an increased concern about the dioxane plume in Ann Arbor’s groundwater.  In this 14th segment of WEMU’s “The Green Room” series on the Ann Arbor contamination plume, Barbara Lucas considers the dioxane content of bottled and tap water.


Barbara Lucas / 89.1 WEMU

1,4-Dioxane is a suspected human carcinogen and a contaminant of “emerging concern” for the EPA.  It has been found in over a thousand public water supplies across the country, including thirty in Michigan.  Will those who’ve been exposed to Ann Arbor’s contaminated groundwater develop health issues?  It’s a question that may be of concern far beyond our borders, and the focus of our report in "The Green Room." 


Courtesy Image / https://www.epa.gov/

On June 14th a resolution was passed by the Scio Township Board of Trustees aimed at addressing the 1, 4 dioxane plume that has spread from the old Gelman Sciences facility on Wagner Road. It seeks Superfund designation from the United States Environmental Protection Agency. The Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners and City of Ann Arbor are considering similar resolutions.  A meeting is being arranged between all government entities involved, at the local, state and federal levels. Until that meeting takes place, there are many unknowns and much speculation.  In this week’s 'The Green Room' segment, we look at one perspective.


Barbara Lucas / 89.1 WEMU

It’s been over three decades since Ann Arbor’s groundwater contamination was discovered, and throughout this time, citizen science and community advocacy have had a crucial role.  In this edition  of 'The Green Room,' Barbara Lucas looks at the uphill battle from its earliest steps.


Barbara Lucas / 89.1 WEMU

  The National Priorities List is the list of hazardous waste sites in the United States eligible for long-term remedial action financed under the federal Superfund program.  Currently there are 1,171 sites on the NPL, either being cleaned up or waiting for their turn.  Should Ann Arbor’s 1,4-dioxane contamination be “listed” too?  Weighing benefits against potential stigma costs is the subject of this week’s Green Room segment in our ongoing series.


Barbara Lucas / 89.1 WEMU

In 1980 Congress created the Superfund to clean up hazardous waste sites that have passed criteria placing them on the “National Priorities List.” If and when funding becomes available for a site, the EPA works with the state’s DEQ to remediate it.  When polluters can’t be made to pay to clean them up, the Superfund pays, using taxpayer money. In Michigan, there are currently 65 sites on the National Priorities List.  Should Ann Arbor become one of them?

 


wikipedia

The University of Michigan’s research in human and environmental health is of global import.  Should the university “think local” as well?  In this segment of WEMU’s “The Green Room,” Barbara Lucas looks at the University of Michigan and the Ann Arbor area’s 1,4-dioxane contamination. 

 


Barbara Lucas / 89.1 WEMU

For almost thirty years, a “responsible party” (Gelman Sciences, Inc.) has been legally and financially responsible for the 1, 4 dioxane contamination of  groundwater inthe Ann Arbor area.  This is in contrast to many contamination sites where cleanup falls totally on taxpayers. But the plume remains, and some question if enough resources are being devoted to its remediation.  In this installment of WEMU’s “The Green Room,” Barbara Lucas looks at money, and how it impacts Ann Arbor’s contamination problem. 


Roger Rayle / Scio Citizens for Safe Water

Local citizens and scientists have amassed large amounts of information on Ann Arbor’s 1,4-Dioxane plume. Locally sourced information has been invaluable since University of Michigan student Dan Bicknell first discovered the plume.  It has continued with 23 years of data collection by Roger Rayle of Scio Residents for Safe Water.  Has the information been put to good use?  Has it informed decision-makers?  In this installment of WEMU’s “The Green Room,” Barbara Lucas continues her exploration of this ongoing issue. 


Barbara Lucas / 89.1 WEMU

For over ten years, the cleanup criterion for 1,4-Dioxane in Michigan has been 85 ppb.  This is in spite of the fact that in 2010, the EPA in recommended 3.5 ppb as the screening level for a one in 100,000 cancer risk. Finally, the Michigan DEQ has proposed a safer limit:  7.2 ppb.  Today—Earth Day—WEMU’s “The Green Room” looks a how this may affect Ann Arbor’s groundwater cleanup.


Barbara Lucas / 89.1 WEMU

In the past two decades, Michigan’s dioxane standards have seen extremes, going from 3 to 85 parts per billion (ppb).  Now 7.2 ppb is being proposed by the MDEQ.  Other states' standards are all over the map.  The EPA’s current recommended levels for dioxane exposure vary greatly as well, depending on multiple factors.   In this installment of WEMU’s “The Green Room,” Barbara Lucas looks at some reasons why it is so hard to come up with uniform guidelines for safe levels of dioxane.


Roger Rayle / Scio Residents for Safe Water

Since 1995, 4,000 prohibition zones have been put in place in Michigan to “manage risk,” i.e. prevent people from coming into contact with contaminated soil or water.  In this installment of WEMU’s “The Green Room,” Barbara Lucas looks at how the balance between cleaning up pollution versus managing the risk is playing out when it comes to the Ann Arbor area's 1.4 dioxane plume. 


Roger Rayle / Scio Residents for Safe Water

Over the next few months, WEMU's environmental feature, 'The Green Room.' will focus exclusively on the 1,4 dioxane plume that is impacting groundwater in the Ann Arbor area. Following last week's initial report looking at how another major city is handling its dioxane issues, we take the next step in exploring whether solutions in Tuscon, Arizona might work here. 


Barbara Lucas / 89.1 WEMU

80 percent of Americans drink coffee, and global consumption is projected to rise by 25% in the next five years.  Some is sustainably-grown, some isn’t—and impacts can add up.  In this installment of 89.1 WEMU’s “The Green Room,” Barbara Lucas explores how the price of coffee can affect far more than your wallet.  


“Green the Way” Report, Fall 2014: / University of Michigan Urban and Regional Planning Capstone

The Allen Creek Greenway is a three-mile walking and biking trail proposed to run north-south, near the railroad, through downtown Ann Arbor. The city has taken a $200,000 first step, by funding the master plan process. In this installment of 89.1 WEMU’s “The Green Room,” Barbara Lucas explores hopes and dreams for the Greenway, whose proponents say, “It’s about time!” 


Noelle Bowman

While the repeated use of cloth bags makes them a better choice for the environment, the free throwaway bags at checkout are hard to resist.  Is this really a problem?  In this installment of 89.1 WEMU’s “The Green Room,” Barbara Lucas explores why the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners is looking into a reusable bag ordinance.


Mary Ferguson

Now’s the time of year a few Snowy owls might arrive in Michigan, if we’re lucky.  In this installment of WEMU’s “The Green Room,” Barbara Lucas explores a few of Michigan’s owls:  the dangers they face, and why we should care.


The Detroit Free Press looks in to the story behind Paul McCartney's famous Red Wings decal on his Epiphone Texan acoustic guitar, given to him by former EMU student, Mike Kudzia. The Epiphone Texan retailed for $200 in late 1964, was also manufactured at Gibson Guitar’s Kalamazoo factory.

Barbara Lucas / 89.1 WEMU

Whether honeybees or native bees, local or global—bees are in trouble.  And since nearly a hundred of our crops are pollinated by them, their trouble is our trouble! What can we do?  In this installment of 89.1 WEMU’s “The Green Room,” Barbara Lucas talks with a few of the many people in our local area working to save bees.


Barbara Lucas / 89.1 WEMU

Americans spend less of their household budget on food than do citizens of any other country.  Should we spend more, to reduce long-term impacts to the planet?  How do we decide what products are “greenest,” anyway?  In this installment of 89.1 WEMU’s  The Green Room, Barbara Lucas explores two perspectives regarding the sustainability of foods grown right here in Michigan.


Tubby's

You get a business deal with the Tubby Submarine sandwich company buying the Livonia based "Just Baked" cupcake maker.  Terms of the deal were not disclosed, though several "Just Baked" franchises including the one in Ann Arbor are not part of the deal.  

Barbara Lucas / 89.1 WEMU

Driverless Cars are in the news: On July, 20th, the University of Michigan's Mobility Transformation Center unveiled its test track for connected, automated vehicles. Once thought of as fantasy, driverless cars are real and are being researched right here in our backyard. In this installment of 89.1 WEMU's 'The Green Room,' Barbara Lucas looks at the environmental implications of this cutting edge technology. 


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