Tuesday, May 24, 2016


Troubling news came out last week regarding the dioxane plume. Apparently, there is a strong possibility that the dioxane 1,4 plume may have already reached the Huron River in Washtenaw county. Not good. Thanks a lot Gelman Services, or should I say, Pal Life Services, or is it Pall Gelman Sciences? Every time I research this company they have a different name! Apparently the company closed the Ann Arbor office in 2013. Hmm. I wonder why. Anyway, a Wayne State professor by the name Larry Lemke stated earlier in the week to MLIVE that, "As far as 1,4 dioxane transport to the Huron River, it's probably already there, and it's going to persist for many decades to come." Lemke is a hydro geologist (Don't ask ME) and director of the Environmental Science Program at Wayne State. Sounds like a smart guy.

When, where and how did this whole situation begin? Well, here's a brief re cap of the story. From 1966 to 1986  Gelman Services used a solvent called dioxane1,4 at it's Scio Township location  on Wagner Road. It was used in the manufacture of medical filters. Yikes. It sounds like the filters needed a filter! Apparently, waste water containing the chemical was stored in unlined lagoons which are kind of like storage ponds for liquids. From what I have read these storage "ponds" or lagoons are supposed to be lined with clay and another type of liner. I must admit that this technical info is way over my head.

Apparently over time the dioxane basically leaked into the ground soil and started to spread. And that is where the story began. What a mess.

At first glance I was surprised to learn that Pall stated to MLIVE that it has been in compliance with the Department of Environmental Quality as far as the clean up, but on second thought, as someone who moved here to Ypsi from Flint 11 years ago,  I don't particularly trust the DEQ anymore.

So what the heck is dioxane 1,4? Well, according to the EPA and I'm quoting, them directly from their EPA Technology Transfer Network-Air Toxins web site. " 1,4 dioxane is used as a solvent. Acute inhalation exposure to high levels of 1,4 dioxane has caused vertigo, drowsiness, headache, anorexia, and irritation to eyes, nose, throat and lungs in humans. " It may also irritate skin. Damage to the liver and kidneys has been observed in rats chronically exposed in their drinking water." Lovely.

What does this all mean for us folks living here in Ypsilanti? I really don't know for sure. I don't think anyone really does know. I do know one thing, though. I'm not going to eat any fish my son and I might catch from the Huron River when were down at Riverside Park. What a disconcerting and disturbing mess this is.

Jeff Brown
Editor in Chief/Publisher
Purple Walrus Press
 Huron River Ypsilanti, Mi.  Copyright Purple Walrus Press.

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