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State supports Superfund status for Gelman groundwater plume in Ann Arbor

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer this week cleared the way for federal Superfund status for the Gelman Sciences contaminated groundwater plume in Ann Arbor, sending a letter concurring with the transfer to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Groundwater under more than three square miles of Ann Arbor and Scio Township is contaminated with industrial solvent 1,4-dioxane resulting from discharges from Gelman’s manufacturing operations from the 1960s through the 1980s. The site has been managed by EGLE since the discovery of the contamination in 1985.

Local officials and advocates asked that the site be included on the National Priorities List (Superfund) to bring more resources to bear on site monitoring and remediation.

“Placing the Site on the NPL is the most viable alternative for addressing the issues with the source contamination remaining on‑site and the contaminated groundwater on and emanating from the Site,” read Gov. Whitmer’s letter to the EPA.

EGLE Director Phil Roos said the agency has worked closely with EPA on managing the site and will ensure that the transition to Superfund status is seamless and effective.

“We welcome all available resources to address what is a very complex site of legacy contamination,” said Roos, who lives in Ann Arbor. “We’ve listened to the community and concur with their wishes to ask the EPA to make this a priority site. We’ll continue to work with the community and EPA to ensure residents are protected.”

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell, who has worked for years to expedite work on the Gelman site, praised the move.

“Including the Gelman Plume on the National Priorities List is critical to help finally end this decades-long nightmare for the residents of Ann Arbor, Scio Township and the surrounding communities,” Dingell said. “I thank Governor Whitmer for her continued partnership and commitment to getting this site cleaned up.”

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