September 2019 CAG Meeting—Minutes

Wolverine CAG
Full CAG Meeting
Plainfield Township Charter Hall
6161 Belmont Rd, Belmont, MI  49306

Thursday, September 19, 2019  6:00 PM – 8:30 PM

Attendees:  AJ Birkbeck, Jenny Carney, Lance Climie, Kevin GreenElaine Isely, Fletcher Johnson, Tom KonecsniGail Mancewicz, Susan Marschell, Grant Medic, Jonathan Miner, Wendy Ogilvie, Rick Rediske, Diane Russell, Tom Sapkowski, Doug Sarno, Kelly Sheeran, Mike Shibler Rick Solle, Cameron VanWyngarden, Jamie Vaughn, Sandy Wynn-Stelt

Guests:  Laura Gossiaux (no WWW)

Estimated Number of Public Attendees:  25

Media: Garrett Ellison, MLive

Introductions and Agenda Review 

  • Went roundtable to do intros for each and residents

Overview of Eat Safe Fish Program
Laura Gossiaux

  • Presentation 
    • Goals on advisories, health benefits, how to know where they are
    • Testing for PFAS, toxins, high fishing use areas, known contamination in the area
    • There is an “Eat Safe Fish” guide
    • Note that this is an advisory – it’s not legally binding
    • DEQ collects fish to test
    • They fillet fish the same way that particular fish would be eaten (ex: skin on)
    • 5-10yr between tests, could be more often though
    • Refer to guideline booklet for results:
      • Tested = Bostwick, Freska, Myers, Northeast Gravel Ponds, Rogue River upstream of dam, Versluis
      • Testing and awaiting results = Belmont Creek, Lake Bella Vista, Myers, Versluis
      • Need more testing:
        • Brown and Brook Trout need to be tested on the Rogue – they stay long term in the river, the lower are steelhead and walleye are only there a short time
        • Walleye need to be tested in Belmont Park
        • Collection could be found by local fisherman because they know where fish are 
        • Catch, cage or shock the fish?
        • Test also in the tributaries
    • PFOS bioaccumulates more easily than other PFAS’s 
    • Venison is being tested too – 20 deer have been tested for PFOS, found in liver of 3, in kidney in 11 – full report online
    • Full information is on the website:
      • Laura Fossiaux, 517-284-4802
  • Question and Answer:
    • Jon – river not tested since 2013, since a new release can happen with cleanup can it get tested again sooner?  
      • Fish results are more bio accumulative rather than fresh exposure
    • Jon – are other groundwater areas being tested similar to Northeast Gravel?
      • EPA is conducting this and seems like they’re not testing areas that won’t have an immediate impact
      • Karen Vorce – upcoming meeting could have presentation of groundwater testing
    • Jenny – what kind of signage is there near the affected lakes/rivers?
      • Only locations with bans get a sign, advisories can be seen downtown Rockford by the river
    • Sharon – there are signs for other things in the river (like mud snails) that fishers can see
      • We may be able to extend the sign locations to those higher volume locations
    • Grant – what labs are being used – are there going to be variances depending on which lab is used?
      • Abby – MDHHS and DEQ have labs
        • MDHHS does the fish and deer testing, not so much drinking water
          • Could do waterfowl and chickens in the future
        • DEQ does most drinking water because it’s set up with the EPA Method
          • This could open to the public in the near future (end of Oct?)
            • Post the contact information for this on our site
          • 2-3 weeks and costs just over $300 vs 2 months and over $1,000
      • Fresh Water Futures have $60 – recommended as a screening only, the lowest testing level isn’t as low.  Also some false positives have come up.  This could help determine though if you should do the more in depth (and costly) test for admissible levels
    • Grant – Plants/vegetation testing? 
      • Abby – there is world wide study happening that we can find results online, not being done immediately here
    • Public comment:
      • Do we even need to test the fish if we know the water is contaminated, isn’t it a given that they are?
        • Just because the water is high, the fish may not be highly polluted
        • Depends on how long the fish is in the river, where they feed (carp and suckers are the worse since they are taking in the most)
      • There was recently an area wide mailing for a water test (not PFAS), how can we let people know this is not going to tell them what they need to know
        • Websites – with maps and information
          • Hope that residents are somewhat knowledgeable that they are in an area with a possibility and seek out information

Update on Community Involvement Plan
Diane Russell

  • The workplan has been posted, CAG should be reviewing.  Jeff Kimble is unavailable for the next CAG but he will meet with a small group to talk through
  • Create a “Technical Committee”, find a time that would work with that committee and Jeff
  • Workplan ghant chart has been updated – try and get a copy to post on website
    • Dates are not set in stone
  • House St delineation work – GZA is still getting information in, chromium removal is being planned still.  Trees have finished being cleared.  Fence will start to go up week of 9/23/19.
  • Tannery work will begin mid Oct
    • RFP sent out and received responses, 9/19/19 is when the selection was supposed to happen.  They’ve received 3 bids for contractors.  Contractor will firm up dates when hired.  EPA, WWW weigh in.  
    • After contractor is hired
      • Site work will begin – excavation work
        • 6 areas on the site to be excavated
        • Stepped approach or several at once….not sure until contractor is hired
    • What will happen with the vegetation that is being taken out
      • Likely shredded and disposed of
    • Trail closing is permitted to start 9/23/19 or later.  They’ll keep it open as long as possible until it becomes a safety concern. Reopening is unknown. 
    • Businesses and residents are not informed of this.  It’s falling on GZA and WWW to inform. Inform of truck traffic routes
    • Find out where the materials are going to – EPA will oversee this?
  • These will not go out for public comment because this work needs to happen more immediately.  These are posted so the community is aware of the work and timeline
  • Presentation:
    • There is also an At A Glance version
    • Community interviews will still happen in the future
    • Some of the comments collected in interviews that have already happened are jarring (don’t trust government), found that most were pragmatic in their thinking
      • Would be interesting to re-interview those
        • to see if perceptions have changed
        • are there new/different concerns now
        • CAG could coordinate something like this
    • Method of communication – varied greatly, some incorrect and not trusted, many did find reporting from Garret Ellison to be something they could trust
    • Goals: provide information, receive input from the community and find/share resources
      • This group is a little different due to lawsuits – not all information is able to be shared, will share when possible
      • EPA doesn’t always receive input before work is happening
        • Even if the plan has started, EPA has stopped projects when public is against it
      • Some reports are difficult to understand, EPA could provide a technical advisor to assist with the information
    • Method of communication
      • Library in Rockford always has a disc with the most up to date plans that the library can open on their computer for anyone to read (same as what’s found on EPA’s website)
      • Fact sheets and other information at times are mailed to homes
      • Websites (EPA, CAG, DEQ, etc)
      • Possibly do quick videos 
      • News releases / media coverage
        • EPA – ran an ad as well
        • Need the Squire to post information 
      • Local meetings – add this topic to already occurring meetings, regularly schedule CAG meeting the public can attend
      • Events – expo’s, farmer’s market
      • Milestones (proposed clean up plan for example) – EPA will open up “public comment” for the community for a set timeframe
    • Comment period is open until October 19 (send comments to Diane), comments will get integrated, final Community Involvement Plan will get posted fall of 2019, will then implement the plan
      • This is a living document so it can change after this fall too
      • Will not require a response from EPA to commenter
      • Comments will not be posted

Public Comment

  • Would like to have a more detailed map of where the contamination is
    • Trying to find a balance of privacy for residents and also sharing the findings
    • DEQ is creating monitoring well findings map (will show lateral and layers)
      • CAG to provide the link on the website
      • CAG provide insight on how this should look
  • Grant will reach out to the Squire and the City of Rockford 9/20/19 for announcement
    • Will get article to Squire by Monday for Thursday print

Table for October meeting

CAG Committee Reports 
Leadership Team

  • Approve August Meeting Summary
  • Review and discuss revised Draft Charter

Communication Committee

  • Updates on communication activities
  • CAG member comments on Website, FB, Twitter

Membership Committee

  • Review and Discuss membership proposals

Adjourn 8:50pm