1,4-Dioxane on The Green Room

The Green Room's Barbara Lucas tackles the issue of 1,4-Dioxane in our community.  Links to the radio broadcasts follow below.  

For additional information on this issue visit the website http://dioxanea2.blogspot.com/ which is a tool to complement the radio series. It provides an outline for quick overviews, and transcripts in sequence for the full story. 

October 28, 2016: Ann Arbor's 1,4-Dioxane Plume (Part 25)
For two decades the State of Michigan's "containment" policy has allowed polluters to leave contamination in place rather than clean it up.  4,000 such “prohibition zones” exist in the state.  In our ongoing look in the Ann Arbor area's 1,4 dioxane plume, we look at the ramifications of that kind of policy.

October 21, 2016: Ann Arbor's 1,4-Dioxane Plume (Part 24)
As concern rises and detection methods improve, 1,4-Dioxane is being discovered in water sources across the country. Central to formulating remediation plans is determination of the safe level of exposure to this probable human carcinogen. What constitutes a true hazard as opposed to an "acceptable risk?" 

October 14, 2016: Ann Arbor's 1,4-Dioxane Plume (Part 23)
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. 

September 30, 2016: Ann Arbor's 1,4-Dioxane Plume (Part 22)
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 areas 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. 

September 23, 2016: Ann Arbor's 1,4-Dioxane Plume (Part 21)
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. 

September 9, 2016:  Ann Arbor's 1,4-Dioxane Plume (Part 20)
While the federal advisory level is 3.5 parts per billion (ppb), the amount of dioxane the State of Michigan allows in drinking water is 85 ppb, one of the highest standards in the country. High levels mean less extensive remediation plan; a boon to industries responsible for the cleanups. But, could the resulting water pollution negatively impact other businesses, and the local economy in general?

August 26, 2016:  Ann Arbor's 1,4-Dioxane Plume (Part 19)
In our previous 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.  

August 19, 2016:  Ann Arbor's 1,4-Dioxane Plume (Part 18)
When considering the expanding 1,4 dioxane plume in groundwater in the Ann Arbor area, money plays a significant role. Further determinations need to be made on how best to clean up the pollution. In this 18th installment on the dioxane plume, Barbara Lucas explores what the clean-up goals should be, how much money is needed and who should pay.   

August 12, 2016:  Ann Arbor's 1,4-Dioxane Plume (Part 17)
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?”

July 29, 2016:  Ann Arbor's 1,4-Dioxane Plume (Part 16)
Environmental Protection Agency risk assessments indicate that the drinking water concentration representing a one in a 100,000 cancer risk level for 1,4-dioxane is 3.5 parts per billion, and for a one in a million cancer risk it is 0.35 parts per billion. Only three states still have double-digit drinking water guidelines for dioxane: New York, South Carolina, and Michigan. Obviously, what is "safe" is subject to interpretation, and is influenced by many variables. But there is growing awareness that what is safe for you, may not be safe for your children or grandchildren. 

July 22, 2016:  Ann Arbor's 1,4-Dioxane Plume (Part 15)
A plume of 1,4-dioxane has been spreading under Ann Arbor since the 1980s. During this time, numerous homes on private wells have had dioxane in their drinking water before being hooked up to city water. Is that the only source of dioxane to consider when weighing body burdens? In the 15th of our series on 1,4-dioxane, Barbara Lucas looks at other ways people can be exposed to this chemical of emerging concern.

July 8, 2016:  Ann Arbor's 1,4-Dioxane Plume (Part 14)
Flint's lead crisis has led to an increased concern about the dioxane plume in Ann Arbor’s groundwater. In this segment of WEMU’s 'The Green Room' series on the Ann Arbor contamination plume, Barbara Lucas considers the dioxane content of bottled and tap water.

June 24, 2016:  Ann Arbor's 1,4-Dioxane Plume (Part 13)
1,4-Dioxane is a suspected human carcinogen and a contaminant of “emerging concern” for the EPA. It has been found in over a thousand public water supplies across the country, including thirty in Michigan. Will those who’ve been exposed to Ann Arbor’s contaminated groundwater develop health issues? It’s a question that may be of concern far beyond our borders, and the focus of our report in 'The Green Room.'  

June 17, 2016:  Ann Arbor's 1,4-Dioxane Plume (Part 12)
On June 14th, a resolution was passed by the Scio Township Board of Trustees aimed at addressing the 1, 4 dioxane plume that has spread from the old Gelman Sciences facility on Wagner Road. It seeks Superfund designation from the United States Environmental Protection Agency. The Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners and City of Ann Arbor are considering similar resolutions. A meeting is being arranged between all government entities involved, at the local, state and federal levels. Until that meeting takes place, there are many unknowns and much speculation. In this week’s 'The Green Room' segment, we look at one perspective. 

June 10, 2016:  Ann Arbor's 1,4-Dioxane Plume (Part 11)
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. 

May 27, 2016:  Ann Arbor's 1,4-Dioxane Plume (Part 10)
The National Priorities List (NPL) is the list of hazardous waste sites in the United States eligible for long-term remedial action financed under the federal Superfund program. Currently there are 1,171 sites on the NPL, either being cleaned up or waiting for their turn. Should Ann Arbor’s 1,4-dioxane contamination be “listed” too? Weighing benefits against potential stigma costs is the subject of this week’s Green Room segment in our ongoing series.

May 20, 2016:  Ann Arbor's 1,4-Dioxane Plume (Part 9)
In 1980 Congress created the Superfund to clean up hazardous waste sites that have passed criteria placing them on the “National Priorities List.” If and when funding becomes available for a site, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) works with the state’s DEQ to remediate it. When polluters can’t be made to pay to clean them up, the Superfund pays, using taxpayer money. In Michigan, there are currently 65 sites on the National Priorities List. Should Ann Arbor become one of them?

May 13, 2016:  Ann Arbor's 1,4-Dioxane Plume (Part 8)
The University of Michigan’s research in human and environmental health is of global import. Should the university “think local” as well, when it comes to the 1,4-dioxane plume?

May 6, 2016:  Ann Arbor's 1,4-Dioxane Plume (Part 7)
For almost 30 years, a “responsible party” (Gelman Sciences, Inc.) has been legally and financially responsible for the 1,4 dioxane contamination of groundwater in the 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. 

April 29, 2016:  Ann Arbor's 1,4-Dioxane Plume (Part 6)
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. 

April 22, 2016:  Ann Arbor's 1,4-Dioxane Plume (Part 5)
For over ten years, the cleanup criterion for 1,4-Dioxane in Michigan has been 85 ppb. This is in spite of the fact that in 2010, the EPA in recommended 3.5 ppb as the screening level for a one in 100,000 cancer risk. Finally, the Michigan DEQ has proposed a safer limit:  7.2 ppb. Today - Earth Day - WEMU’s “The Green Room” looks at how this may affect Ann Arbor’s groundwater cleanup.

April 15, 2016:  Ann Arbor's 1,4-Dioxane Plume (Part 4)
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.

April 8, 2016:  Ann Arbor's 1,4-Dioxane Plume (Part 3)
Since 1995, 4,000 prohibition zones have been put in place in Michigan to “manage risk,” i.e. prevent people from coming into contact with contaminated soil or water. In this installment of WEMU’s “The Green Room,” Barbara Lucas looks at how the balance between cleaning up pollution versus managing the risk is playing out when it comes to the Ann Arbor area's 1.4 dioxane plume. 

April 1, 2016:  Ann Arbor's 1, 4 Dioxane Plume (Part 2)
Following last week's initial report looking at how another major city is handling its dioxane issues, we take the next step in exploring whether solutions in Tuscon, Arizona might work here. 

March 25, 2016:  Ann Arbor's 1, 4 Dioxane Plume (Part 1)
Gelman Life Sciences on Wagner Road stopped using dioxane 30 years ago. But despite efforts to contain it, the 850,000 pounds they dumped have been spreading throughout the groundwater. Tuscon, Arizona also has been dealing with dioxane contamination. This installment explores the experiences of two cities.