Question and Answer Session for Gelman 1,4-Dioxane Plume Litigation Settlement Agreement
The Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners hosted a question and answer session and heard public comment on the proposed settlement agreement in the Gelman 1,4-dioxane Plume litigation on September 24, 2020.
Dr. Larry Lemke, Professor of Environmental Geology at Central Michigan University, and Mr. Fred Dindoffer, lawyer at Bodman PLC, delivered presentations to answer community-submitted questions.
Proposed Settlement Documents
The ongoing legal process regarding the contaminated Gelman Sciences, Inc. site has reached the point where the proposed settlement documents are available to the public. On Aug 31, 2020, the Court Confidentially Order dated March 23, 2017 was lifted.
Documents are now available to the public at: www.a2gov.org/gelmanproposedsettlementdocs
At this time, all documents at the above link are proposed and have not been approved by the intervening parties.
A virtual public meeting was held on September 14, 2020 with the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE). Link to video recording of meeting.
How to submit public comments on the proposed settlement agreement
1,4-dioxane is a man-made compound that mixes easily in water. It is used in industry as a solvent to manufacture other chemicals and it is a by-product in many items, including paint strippers, dyes, greases, antifreeze and aircraft deicing fluids. It also is found in other chemicals that are used to manufacture cosmetics, detergents, deodorants and shampoos.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer has determined that 1,4-dioxane is 'possibly carcinogenic' to humans because it is a known carcinogen in animals. USEPA states that it is likely to be carcinogenic to humans. More information on exposure to 1,4-dioxane and its health effects is available via a Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Fact Sheet (PDF).
There is an area in Washtenaw County where 1,4-dioxane plume is underground. A plume happens when a chemical is moving underground in soil or water. In this case, the chemical 1,4-dioxane is moving through groundwater. The plume area includes parts of Scio Township and western Ann Arbor. This contamination is a concern because wells near the area draw groundwater for use in homes and businesses.
The 1,4-dioxane contamination is not a new problem. From 1966 until 1986, Gelman Sciences (later Pall Corporation and now Danaher) used 1,4-dioxane in their manufacturing process at their facility on Wagner Road. Gelman's wastewater, containing dioxane, was disposed onsite during that time. In 1985, 1,4-dioxane was discovered in residential drinking water wells in the area. Unfortunately, 1,4-dioxane does not break down quickly in water. A large plume still exists underground in the soil and water, even after all this time.
See the map of the 1,4-dioxane plume.
EPA Proposed Superfund Meetings
A meeting with EPA Region V was held on July 15, 2016. This meeting summary was reviewed by EPA staff and their changes from the original version are shown.
A joint special session Q & A with EPA & EGLE officials on the Gelman Dioxane Plume was held on January 16, 2020:
Coalition for Action on Remediation of Dioxane (CARD)
The Coalition for Action on Remediation of Dioxane (CARD) is a partnership of local governments and citizens that look at strategies to address the groundwater contamination from the industrial solvent 1,4-dioxane, released by Gelman Sciences, Inc.
Visit the CARD site for more information, and to get involved.
- Washtenaw County Health Department's 1,4 Dioxane Fact Sheet (PDF)
- June 2019 presentation (PDF) to the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners
- City of Ann Arbor Gelman 1,4-dioxane Litigation information page
- Gelman Proposed Settlement Documents
- Site Timeline
- Ann Arbor City Wet Basement Testing for 1,4-dioxane