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    Posted July 28, 2010 by
    Ann Arbor, Michigan
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    Phosphoric Acid Spill in Ann Arbor, Michigan?


    Ann Arbor, is 2 cycle engine oil for a weed whacker the same as Phosphoric Acid? Do you know you that according to at least one incident report, it was Phosphoric Acid that spilled into the Huron River on July 19th?

    On July 19th, a spill occurred on the Huron River in Ann Arbor, Michigan and Ann Arbor residents were not informed of any environmental or public health risks. I live near the river, I am a resident, I could smell it, I could see it and so I called 911, took photos and have video of it. For two hours I watched as it covered the width of the river and flowed into sunset. I was able to determine that the fire department responded and began containing the spill. The fire department should be thanked. Control of the spill, the cleanup and reporting was transferred to the University of Michigan Occupational Safety and Environmental Health. Not one public warning regarding the health or the environment was issued. Upon further investigation, it was discovered that it came from a pipe located near the University of Michigan Hospital and the substance would cover the river and flow to Gallup Park. When I called to inquire about the spill, I was told that the substance was similar to 2 cycle engine oil, the kind used in weed whackers. A week has gone by, and it is only now that I’m finding out that fire department tests had indicated that it was 88% confidence of phosphoric acid. The fire department made a boom, but that boom was transferred over to UM-OSEH and that boom was compromised, sending stuff downstream.

    According to the Ann Arbor Fire Department incident report, the substance was 88% confidence of Phosphoric Acid. I saw no mention of 2 cycle weed-whacking engine oil. (update -- i saw the mention of it now... it comes from one of the boots that were tested.  but, the original test was of acid at the scene and that sample was taken away.  the 2 cycle oil test came from some oil on someones boot)

    Guess what? The public was never warned of environmental or potential health hazards.

    How common are spills of this size and type? I’m not sure….. Read this:

    it sounds like it was an unreported, one-time, small volume spill and is not a chronic issue” – HRWC

    this type of discharge is more common then you may realize.” – DNRE


    -i just learned that the city of ann arbor was not notified of the Phosphoric Acid... the spill, containment, cleanup and reporting was transfered to UM-OSEH.

    -update.  i was told that if there was an incident report about phosphoric acid, then that is faulty.  however... that sample was split into 2 and it is not clear to me that both sources agree to what was in that sample.  i was also notified that it is very difficult to take a sample of any sheen on water.  i am puzzled.

    -about the photo -- overlooking the phosphoric acid/oil/cylce 2 engine oil spill that the public was not warned about on the Huron River, in Ann Arbor, MI, July 19th, 2010

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