89.1 WEMU

Pall Corporation

City of Tucson

At a September work session, Ann Arbor City Council members asked city staff if the current water treatment plant could accommodate equipment to remove 1,4 dioxane,  just in case it becomes necessary in the future.  In this installment of 89.1 WEMU’s “The Green Room,” we look at what such a water treatment process looks like in action.


Barbara Lucas / 89.1 WEMU

Ann Arbor’s dioxane plume is rather unusual, in that it emanates from just one source. That source is the old Gelman Sciences facility on Wagner Road in Scio Township. Other area's of dioxane contamination around the country, such as  the KL Avenue Landfill in Kalamazoo, have many “Responsible Parties” contributing to the contamination problem. Even with a single source, assigning responsibility for clean-up remains complicated in Ann Arbor.  In this installment of "The Green Room"  we try to untangle the confusing web of who is who when it comes to liability. 


Barbara Lucas / 89.1 WEMU

The cast of players involved with Ann Arbor’s dioxane problem has changed many times over in the thirty years since the contamination was first discovered.  Some say that’s part of the problem:  it’s hard to stay motivated to tackle problems that go on seemingly indefinitely. Luckily, there are a few people in the community who have stuck with it, keeping the issue in the public forum.  In this segment of WEMU’s “The Green Room,” we talk with one of them.


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. 


the green room
Barbara Lucas - the Green Room / 89.1 WEMU

"Declare the Pall-Gelman 1, 4 dioxane plume a federal Superfund site."  That’s the message from the Sierra Club of Huron Valley.  The Sierra Club has passed a resolution urging the City of Ann Arbor and Washtenaw County to seek Superfund designation from the US Environmental Protection Agency. 

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. 


Yousef Rabhi
Patrik Holubik / 89.1 WEMU

There is a long road ahead to adequately address an expanding 1,4 dioxane plume in the Ann Arbor area. The plume has contaminated wells in Scio township and Ann Arbor and is slowly moving towards the city's municipal water supply at Barton Pond. In this month's '1st Friday Focus on the Environment',  Liza Wozniak talks with Washtenaw County Commissioner Yousef Rabhi about the next steps in the journey.  


Roger Rayle / Scio Residents For Safe Water

In the United States, approximately 10 million pounds of 1,4-dioxane are produced each year.  It is being detected in groundwater at dozens of sites across the country.  Once thought to be relatively benign, new science says otherwise.  Costs to clean it up are high, and communities are grappling with how to deal with it.  In this installment of  “The Green Room,” WEMU  explores the experiences of two cities:  Ann Arbor, Michigan, and Tucson, Arizona.