We know that you are busy during this holiday season, but we are asking you to take five minutes to send a note to the US EPA to ask that agency to take the most appropriate action to prevent a ground water contamination plume from harming Grand Traverse Bay.
The Watershed Center recently learned that ground water contamination from a Superfund site in Greilickville has reached Grand Traverse Bay. This was discussed at a US EPA public meeting on November 29 where various cleanup options were presented for the former Grand Traverse Overall Supply (GTOS) company, an industrial dry-cleaning facility located on Cherry Bend Road. We have since been communicating with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) in order to get a better sense of DEQs water quality monitoring results at the site.
DEQ has detected low levels, below the drinking water standard, of cis 1,2 dichloroethylene entering the Bay down gradient from the site. According to EPA, long-term human exposure to high levels of cis 1,2 dichloroethylene, above the drinking water standard, can cause damage to the liver, and to the circulatory and nervous system. DEQ has also been monitoring for other chemicals that are part of, or suspected to be part of, the ground water plume including tetrachloroethylene, trichloroethylene, vinyl chloride and trans 1,2 dichloroethylene. These have not yet been detected entering the Bay.
The fact that even low levels of contamination have reached the Bay is a significant concern. Between the mid-1950s and 1977, the operators of GTOS discharged wastewater from laundering and dry cleaning operations into a dry well and lagoons on the site. This indicates the potential for 20+ years worth of contamination in the groundwater and we are likely just now seeing the beginning of that plume reach the Bay.
EPA is seeking public comment on the most appropriate method to clean up the site and comments are due by December 31. EPAs recommended cleanup method is groundwater extraction and treatment and The Watershed Center supports this recommendation. However, EPA staff must take this recommendation to a Superfund panel within EPA that must approve this option and allocate funding ($1.8 million) to implement this option.
This is why public comment is so important! We must show EPA that there is significant public support for groundwater extraction and treatment so that the agency does the right thing.
Please send a letter or e-mail to US EPA.
Here are some key points to include in your comments:
Ask EPA to implement the groundwater extraction and treatment option at the Grand Traverse Overall Supply Superfund site in Greilickville, Michigan (labeled as Ground Water Cleanup Alternative 3 in EPAs proposal for the site).
Ask EPA to design the cleanup to ensure that the entire volume of the contamination plume is treated and therefore the risks to ground water, Cedar Creek and Grand Traverse Bay are significantly reduced.
Ask EPA to enhance its monitoring activities on site to ensure that the cleanup is successful.
Ask EPA to discharge the treated ground water to the local public sewage treatment system, and not to Cedar Creek.
Personalize your comments, such as explaining why Grand Traverse Bay is important to you, and include your name and address. You can mail, e-mail or fax your comments. Send your comments by midnight on December 31 to:
Remedial Project Manager
US EPA Region V (SR-6J)
77 W. Jackson Blvd.
Chicago, IL 60604
More information about this issue, including links to EPAs project website, may be found on The Watershed Centers homepage at www.gtbay.org. Look under Current Hot Topic. Lets give the gift of clean water to the Bay this holiday season. Please spread the word and ask your friends and family to also submit comments to EPA.
Andy Knott, executive director;
The Watershed Center Grand Traverse Bay