89.1 WEMU

groundwater contamination

Michigan Capitol
Wikipedia Media Commons / wikipedia.org

Lansing’s lawmakers won’t return to the Capitol until next week.  But they’ve already got big plans for 2018.


Water
Environmental Protection Agency / epa.gov

Money might be on the way to help fight perfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, in Michigan. 


There are roughly 48,000 on-site septic systems in Washtenaw County, according to the Washtenaw County Environmental Health Division.  State statistics show that at any given time 10% of those systems are leaking and in need of repair.  In this week’s "Issues of the Environment," WEMU’s David Fair talks with Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s David Cotton about the growing number of these systems and how to protect our land and waterways.


Jorge Avellan / 89.1 WEMU

For decades, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has been working with Gelman Sciences to clean-up the 1,4 Dioxane chemical the company released in certain parts of Ann Arbor.  To this day, the DEQ continues to say the levels are below their precautionary standards and are not harmful. To give voice to concerned residents, city, county and state officials put together Thursday night's town hall forum. 


In our previous 18-installments on the Ann Arbor area’s 1, 4 dioxane plume, we’ve heard from citizens, scientists, and government officials; both locally and from other dioxane sites around the country. Meanwhile, requests for interviews with the “Responsible Party”—Gelman Sciences, Pall Corporation or Danaher, are all met with silence.  In this episode of “The Green Room,” we learn, that wasn’t always the case. 


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

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. 


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.