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EPA to conduct primary investigation into 1,4-dioxane plume in Ann Arbor, Scio Township

Scio Residents for Safe Water
Map shows the extent of the underground 1,4-dioxane plume under Ann Arbor.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says it will begin an examination into the Gelman 1,4-dioxane plume spreading through the groundwater of Ann Arbor and Scio Township. The EPA will determine if the pollution qualifies for federal Superfund cleanup.

Yesterday, Scio Township, which borders Ann Arbor to the west, joined the existing lawsuit against the polluter as a plaintiff. Scio Township joins the city of Ann Arbor, Washtenaw County and the Huron Valley Watershed Council in the lawsuit. 

Democratic Congresswoman Debbie Dingell released a statement praising the EPA's decision to examine the 1,4-dioxane plume. 

"This will take time and it is not a silver bullet, but it is critical to explore all options available to the community to ensure this contamination is properly remediated and families and the environment are protected. It is important that the stakeholders stay coordinated and work together to ensure this process moves forward as quickly and efficiently as possible," Dingell said.

Dingell says action to prevent the spread of 1,4-dioxane is long overdue. A petition by the plaintiffs was submitted to the EPA last November; however, complaints about the pollution date back decades. 

The plume is traced back to the Gelman Sciences plant, formerly located in Scio Township, which used 1,4-dioxane in its manufacturing process. The plume itself was discovered in the 1980s and has slowly spread since. 

The EPA classifies dioxane as a probable human carcinogen. 

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