EGLE seeks public comment on proposed amended consent judgment for Gelman Sciences

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 31, 2020
EGLE Media Office, EGLE-Assist@Michigan.gov, 517-284-9278

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) is seeking public comment and has scheduled an online public meeting from 6-8 p.m. Sept. 14 regarding a proposed Fourth Amended and Restated Consent Judgment for the Gelman Sciences site in Ann Arbor and Scio Township.

The Gelman site involves a groundwater contamination plume of 1,4 Dioxane released from the former manufacturing facility. Gelman used the chemical in its manufacturing operations from 1966 until 1986. The plume has impacted approximately 3.5 square miles of the city of Ann Arbor and Scio Township. Impacted areas within Ann Arbor are served by municipal water. Currently, there are no known health risks associated with the plume.

Remediation of the contamination is governed by a Consent Judgment, which was first entered in Washtenaw County Circuit Court in 1992 and has been revised multiple times since then through amendments and court orders. This proposed Fourth Amended and Restated Consent Judgment provides for implementation of the revised groundwater cleanup criteria for 1,4-Dioxane.

EGLE Director Liesl Clark highlighted the improved remediation under the revised Consent Judgment and encourages interested persons to provide comments on it to EGLE.

“The collective efforts of the state and local parties have resulted in substantial enhancements to the cleanup and monitoring efforts at the Gelman site and EGLE looks forward to overseeing implementation of the revised Consent Judgment. I encourage participation in the public comment process,” Clark said.

Attorney General Dana Nessel commended EGLE, the intervening local governments, and Gelman for finding common ground and for bringing the proposal to the public for comment. "The hard work of the local government intervenors alongside the state has produced a shared proposal for more work at the site that all of the parties agree on," Nessel said. "Now the public will have the chance to weigh in on that shared proposal, a step I applaud on the part of both EGLE and the local governments.”  

The public review copy of the proposed Fourth Amended and Restated Consent Judgment is posted in the “What’s New” section on the EGLE Gelman Sciences web page.

The proposed Fourth Amended and Restated Consent Judgment will replace the 85 parts per billion (ppb) drinking water cleanup criterion for 1,4 Dioxane with the current 7.2 ppb criterion and 280 ppb criterion for groundwater venting into surface water (down from 2,800 ppb). EGLE and Gelman have in practice implemented the 7.2 ppb drinking water criterion since October 2016.  

In addition to updating the criteria, other changes to the Consent Judgment incorporate additional safeguards to protect human health and the environment. These updates include increasing the number of contaminated groundwater extraction wells, the number of  monitoring wells in Ann Arbor, the number of compliance monitoring wells in Scio Township and source removal efforts on the Gelman property; in addition to preparing advance contingency plans to extend municipal water to four areas that rely on wells for drinking water if data and information indicates that the plume will expand into these areas.

Meeting registration information

Register here to attend the online public meeting. After registering, participants will receive a confirmation email containing information about how to join the meeting.

For those who would like to participate by phone, call (213) 787-0529 or toll-free at (888) 808-6929, and use conference code 881478.

Pre-registration is not required to attend the meeting. Individuals interested in attending can join the meeting when it begins at 6 p.m.

Those who wish to remain anonymous can click on the meeting link at the start of the event, and enter a first name and last name initial. Registrants who do not want to enter an email address, enter eglemeeting@mi.gov in the email field.

EGLE will collect public comments on the Fourth Amended and Restated Consent Judgment from Aug. 31 through Sept. 21. EGLE will only be taking comments, there will not be a question and answer session after the presentation. Interested parties may provide comments in the following ways:

  • During the Sept. 14 public comment session.
  • In writing by email: EGLE-RRD-Gelman@Michigan.gov
  • In writing through U.S. Mail: Dan Hamel, RRD project manager, Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy, Jackson District Office, 301 East Louis Glick Highway, Jackson, MI, 49201-1556.

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