Bioremediation Possible for Southeast Park

Matt Naud, the city’s environmental coordinator, solicited a recommendation from the Ann Arbor park advisory commission at its Oct. 18, 2011 meeting regarding whether to pursue a bioremediation pilot test in a section of Southeast Area Park, a 26.5-acre city park at Ellsworth and Platt roads. The test would determine if technology to remove an existing vinyl chloride plume is effective.

The plume resulted from vinyl chloride being released from the now-closed city landfill into groundwater on the south side of Ellsworth Road. Currently, extraction wells are used to pull the groundwater and contaminants back to the extraction wells where the water is discharged to the sanitary sewer for treatment.

The pilot project would test a different type of remedial process called bioremediation, where naturally occurring microorganisms are given food and nutrients to encourage the metabolic breakdown of the contaminant. [.pdf of bioremediation proposal] According to Naud’s report, the park would be affected for three days. The park would remain open, but a portion of it would be fenced off while testing is conducted.

Naud assured commissioners that no park users would be exposed to hazardous materials – the plume is at least 25 feet underground. PAC unanimously passed a resolution supporting the project, directing city staff to inform and educate neighbors in the area about the project before starting, and asking staff to provide updates to PAC on its progress.

This brief was filed from the city council chambers at city hall, located at 301 E. Huron St. A more detailed report will follow.