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HEALTH CONSULTATION

AMERICAN SYNTHETICS
SUPERIOR TOWNSHIP, WASHTENAW COUNTY, MICHIGAN


DISCUSSION

Residents in the site area use groundwater from private wells for all household uses, however, there is little information available on groundwater quality in the site area. There are private wells serving the two properties adjacent to the site, the residence west of the site mentioned above and a landscape and nursery to the east. These wells were installed relatively recently, since 1980. Water from each well was analyzed when the wells were installed, and neither sample contained any contamination (19). The subsurface geology in the region includes a thin soil layer underlain by a thick, heavy clay layer. This clay layer is believed to impede any migration of contaminants from surface spills to the groundwater beneath it. There is not sufficient groundwater above the clay layer to support a residential well. In addition, good well-drilling practice would require that any drinking water well be drilled through such a clay layer to protect the well from surface contamination.

MDEQ collected 10 samples of surface soil (0-8 inches deep)(4) from the site in October 1996 (8). None of the samples contained any chemicals at concentrations (Table 1) above the MDEQ Generic Clean-up Criteria for Industrial or Commercial Use (10). Two surface soil samples contained arsenic concentrations above the MDEQ Generic Clean-Up Criteria for Residential Use (11). The arsenic concentrations in the surface soil samples were within the range of background concentrations found in Michigan (12). The surface soil on the property does not pose any apparent public health hazard.
Table 1. Concentrations of chemicals in surface soil samples collected at the American Synthetics site, October 1996.

MDEQ collected 6 samples of subsurface soil (8 feet deep) from the site in October 1996 (8). None of the samples contained any chemicals at concentrations (Table 2) above the MDEQ Generic Clean-up Criteria from Industrial or Commercial Use (10). All of the subsurface soil samples contained arsenic concentrations above the MDEQ Generic Clean-Up Criteria for Residential Use (11). The arsenic concentration in one subsurface soil sample slightly exceeded the range of background concentrations found in Michigan (12).

MDEQ collected 4 samples of sediment (0-12 inches deep) from the creek flowing west and south of the site in October 1996 (8). None of the samples contained any chemicals at concentrations (Table 3) above the MDEQ Generic Clean-up Criteria from Industrial or Commercial Use (10). One sediment sample contained arsenic concentrations above the MDEQ Generic Clean-Up Criteria for Residential Use (11). The arsenic concentrations in the sediment samples were within the range of background concentrations found in Michigan (12).

The site poses physical hazards typical of an abandoned residential lot. Access to the property is not restricted and there is a history of reported trespass, including within the building. Inspection of the main building from the outside while MDEQ and MDCH personnel were on the site on October 8, 1996, found it to be reasonably intact, though, over time, deterioration and vandalism might make the interior unsafe. The rear window remained open, allowing access into the building. The area behind the building had a large number of deep ruts attributed to heavy equipment traffic during the mid-1995 removal operation. Some of these ruts were not visible due to the heavy vegetation.

The population in northwestern Wayne County east of the site is growing rapidly. As of the 1990 U.S. Census, 5,759 persons lived in the 5 census block groups (one in Washtenaw County, four in Wayne County) covering the majority of the area within a 3 mile radius of the site.(5) The population in the area is predominantly non-Hispanic white (Table 4). The highest population density (on a census block group basis) is to the southeast of the site. Half the population in the 5-group area was in the two block groups to the southeast, a quarter in the two to the northeast and a quarter in the single block group in Washtenaw County to the west (13).


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