The 1,4-dioxane contamination is not a new problem. From 1966 until 1986, Gelman Sciences (later Pall Corporation and now Danaher) used 1,4-dioxane in their manufacturing process at their facility on Wagner Road. Gelman's wastewater, containing 1,4-dioxane, was disposed of onsite during that time. In 1985, 1,4-dioxane was discovered in residential drinking water wells in the area. Unfortunately, 1,4-dioxane does not break down quickly in water and large plume still exists underground in the soil and water, even after all this time.
1,4-dioxane is a man-made compound that mixes easily in water. It is used in industry as a solvent to manufacture other chemicals and it is a by-product in many items, including paint strippers, dyes, greases, antifreeze and aircraft deicing fluids. It also is found in other chemicals that are used to manufacture cosmetics, detergents, deodorants and shampoos.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer has determined that 1,4-dioxane is 'possibly carcinogenic' to humans because it is a known carcinogen in animals. USEPA states that it is likely to be carcinogenic to humans. More information on exposure to 1,4-dioxane and its health effects is available via a Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Fact Sheet (PDF). The USEPA does not have a promulgated drinking water standard or maximum contaminant level for 1,4-dioxane. The Michigan residential drinking water cleanup criteria for 1,4-dioxane is 7.2 parts per billion (ppb).
There is an area in Washtenaw County where a 1,4-dioxane plume is underground. A plume is a volume of contaminated groundwater that extends downward and outward from a source. The 1,4-dioxane plume is moving through groundwater; the direction and speed of the contamination plume is affected by the local geology. The plume area includes parts of Scio Township and western Ann Arbor. This contamination is a concern because wells near the area draw groundwater for use in homes and businesses.
There are currently over 250 monitoring wells located in and around the plume that are used to track water levels and 1,4-dioxane concentrations. If you have one or more monitoring wells on your property and have questions about the access agreement(s), please contact Jim Brode at (269) 993-7585.
See the map of the 1,4-dioxane plume.
The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) also collect annual surface water samples from the plume area. Surface water sampling locations include the Sister Lakes, Smith Ponds, unnamed tributary of Honey Creek, Honey Creek, the Huron River at Maple Rd, Little Lake and the West Park pond. For more information on surface water sampling please contact Dan Hamel with EGLE at (517) 745-6595.
Residential Well Monitoring
The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (ELGE) contracts with the Washtenaw County Health Department to monitor drinking water wells along the plume edges. The approximately 220 wells included in this program are sampled either twice per year, once per year, or every-other year depending on their location.
If your well is not included in the EGLE sampling and you would like to have your water tested for 1,4-dioxane, these local laboratories provide 1,4-dioxane analysis at the expense of the homeowner/resident. Please contact the laboratories for information regarding pricing, detection limits, obtaining bottles and sampling procedures. For more information on testing your drinking water for 1,4-dioxane, please see our Testing Drinking Water for 1,4-Dioxane fact sheet.
- Washtenaw County Health Department's 1,4 Dioxane Fact Sheet
- Plume background/history presentation to the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners (June 2019)
- EGLE's Gelman Sciences, Inc. Site of Contamination Information Page