Friday, October 28, 2016


A town hall meeting was held in Ann Arbor Thursday regarding the ever lingering reality of the dioxane plume that has been creeping underneath the Ann Arbor region for years. Many residents in Ann Arbor, as well as Ypsilanti are understandably very concerned about dioxane plume. Apparently, many who attended Wednesdays town hall left disappointed and frustrated from the responses made by DEQ Deputy Director Bob Wagner who spoke at the event. To summarize, and or, paraphrase quotes from Wagner that were reported Friday in an mlive article Wagner said, in regard to dioxane clean up, that before a decision by the DEQ will be made they need to see accumulate more information. Further, as reported in mlive, and I'm paraphrasing, the state of Michigan is currently holding discussions that are private with Gelman Sciences.

First, a little background on the dioxane plume. Several months ago Purple Walrus Press did a story  relating to, at the time, new information on the plume. In spring of 2016 I wrote about a Wayne State Professor Larry Lemke who had 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 years to come." Lemke is a hydro geologist and director of the Environmental Science program at Wayne State. Sounds like a smart guy to me.

Here is what I learned after doing a bit of research on the matter at hand. From 1966 to 1986 Gelman services used a solvent called dioxane 1,4 at its Scio Township location on Wagner Road. It was used in the manufacture of medical filters. 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 some other type of line. Over time the dioxane basically leaked into the ground soil and began to spread. That is where the story began.

What is dioxane? According the the EPA technology transfer Network Air toxins website ( A mouth full) "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.Damage to the liver and kidneys has been observed in rats chronically exposed in the drinking water." This information is all from the EPA website mentioned above,

As far as the DEQ stating that it needs more information before deciding how to handle the cleanup, that is an unacceptable response. It also sounds familiar. Of course, I'm talking about my hometown of Flint. Snyder, the State of Michigan, and all of the powers that be continually said they "needed more information" before acting on and addressing the on going water crisis. Equally unacceptable is the fact that the State of Michigan is holding PRIVATE  talks with Gelman Sciences. This is an issue of public health. Private discussions? This sounds disconcerting to residents of the area.

Many people left the dioxane plume town hall in Ann Arbor unsatisfied and rightfully so. Residents of the Ann Arbor/ Ypsilanti area deserve more answers.

Jeff Brown
Purple Walrus Press
The Huron River. Ypsilanti, MI. Photo Purple Walrus Press.

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