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Evan Pratt

Barbara Lucas / 89.1 WEMU

Over the last half-century, PFAS chemicals have been added to the formulation of innumerable products we use on a daily basis.  The manufacture and disposal of these products releases them to our environment, where they can get into our food and water.  Unfortunately for us, they can be harmful to our health, and they don’t biodegrade.  These “forever chemicals” have become pervasive in our lives.

Evan Pratt
Washtenaw County

Amid PFAS contamination, controversial oil and gas pipelines, and lead contamination, another water safety issue in Washtenaw County sometimes drops out of the public discourse.  The expanding 1,4 dioxane plume in the Ann Arbor area has again reared its head.  In this week's "Issues of the Environment," WEMU's David Fair talks to Washtenaw County Water Resources Commissioner Evan Pratt about the steps being taken after recent testing revealed much higher levels of the chemical in the waters in Ann Arbor's West Park. 

Courtesy Photo / U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Whether crude oil or natural gas, once these fossil fuels are extracted from the ground, they can present flammable and toxic hazards.  Safely transporting them is a major challenge.  In this installment of "The Green Room," we have the second in our series on pipelines. 


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

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?”


Washtenaw County

 

Officials are increasing pressure on the state to stop a dangerous underground dioxane plume before it reaches the Huron River, Ann Arbor’s main water source.


State Farm/ Flickr

Wet basements are a problem this time of year. If you don't work to prevent water and moisture from getting in, the bills for remediation escalate quickly. In this week's 'Issues of the Environment',  Washtenaw County Water Resources Commissioner Evan Pratt offers up some tips for you. 


Robert Lawton / en.wikipedia.org

Washtenaw County Water Resources Commission to determine the most efficient way to keep drainage operational.

Commission's goal is to get more properties in the area certified.

Water
Source USDA NRCS Photo Gallery

The federal government and area farmers could help improve the quality of water flowing through area rivers and streams. 


Ann Arbor
Andrew Cluley / 89.1 WEMU

New construction projects in Ann Arbor may soon need to do more about capturing rainfall on-site. The Ann Arbor City Council Monday will consider the first reading of changes to the stormwater management ordinance.  The changes are required to remain in line with the Washtenaw County Water Resources Commissioner's rules.


Kingsley Rain Garden
Andrew Cluley / 89.1 WEMU

Rain gardens are a valuable tool in Washtenaw County's efforts to keep pollution out of the Huron River. Over two million gallons of storm water will be filtered this year by the 160 rain gardens installed by individuals that have taken a class though the county.  The program is expanding so communities across Michigan can benefit.