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Officials investigating spread of 1,4-dioxane in Ann Arbor storm drains

Map showing the spread of the 1,4-dioxane plume

State and local officials are conducting new tests to check the spread of the 1,4-dioxane plume in groundwater in Ann Arbor's West Park area.

Dan Hamel is with the Department of Environmental Quality. He says a current consent agreement between the DEQ and the company requires Gelman Sciences to prevent the spread of the suspected carcinogen.

Hamel says the chemical plume originated from the former manufacturing plant.

“Right now they are currently, actively remediating the groundwater plume,” he said.

Hamel says the company uses a process called pump-and-treat to clean up contaminated water.

Officials said the chemical compound was first detected in Ann Arbor’s West Park area in December of 2017.

“We have not determined yet whether it is related to contaminated groundwater associated with the Gelman plume,” Hamel said.

Water samples from seven Allen Creek storm drain locations were collected this week for lab analysis. Hamel said the tests will be repeated once a month for six months.

Over the years, a number of homes were taken off well water after detectable levels of the chemical compound were found.

The 1,4-dioxane plume has been slowly spreading from the site of the former manufacturing plant since the 1980s. It now covers an area more than three miles long and a mile wide.

Paulette is a digital media reporter and producer for Michigan Public. She started as a newsroom intern at the station in 2014 and has taken on various roles in that time, including filling in as an on-air host.
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