In 1984, a UM SPH student just happened to discover abnormal concentrations of a known carcinogen, 1,4-Dioxane, in the Third Sister Lake in UM’s Saginaw Forest (just west of Ann Arbor). This prompted subsequent discovery of dioxane in the area’s groundwater at various levels from the surface all the way down to bedrock, some places more than 200 feet deep.
1,4-Dioxane is an industrial solvent and stabilizer that is fully miscible in water. It doesn’t adhere to soils like many other industrial pollutants, but goes whereever water goes.
For 20 years, from 1966 to 1986, Gelman, Sciences Inc (now Pall Life Sciences) used a reported 800,000 pound of dioxane manufacturing high tech filters and allowed an unknown amount of the toxic substance to get into groundwater surrounding their property on Wagner Road.
Multiple lawsuits, cleanup efforts and backroom deals later, several plumes of the stuff still continue to exist, with the major ones moving at about one foot per day through Ann Arbor towards the Huron River and maybe even Barton Pond (where Ann Arbor gets 80% of its water for 150,000 people in the area.).
Listen for an in-depth discussion of past and future of the clean water struggle and remediation efforts with Roger Rayle, Co-Chair of Scio Residents for Safe Water. Roger has dedicated 15 years of his life to addressing this problem, making AMAZING maps of the plumes, and protecting our water!
Check out their Google Group for more detailed maps and info.
Who was that anonymous caller?