Not Very Interesting?

Posted by – Steve Cohen, Director of Community Development

Huh?  He said the test results were “not very interesting.”  That’s good, right?

Yes, that’s really good!

Last night, the Planning Commission and Brownfield Redevelopment Authority reported back to the public on the status of the extensive methane gas testing being conducted along Bald Mountain Road.  Our environmental consultant, Bob Lambdin, simply explained that when folks in his line of work look at test results they typically have two reactions to data:  1) “well, that’s interesting!” which is scientist code for “hey, we may have a problem!” or 2) “well, that’s not very interesting” which means “there is really no concern here.”

Mr. Lambdin, flanked by geologist Gregory Barrows representing the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, reassured those in attendance that all indications show that there is no concern for public health or safety at this time.

Bob Lambdin shows City leaders how he personally constructed the 14 monitoring wells used in the testing
Bob Lambdin shows City leaders how he personally constructed the 14 monitoring wells used in the testing

The study was proactively initiated by the City after initial reports indicated that test wells on the former Kensington Church site, located at the southeast corner of Dutton and Bald Mountain Roads, had documented high levels of methane gas.  The finding was a serious concern because if methane gas were to become trapped in an enclosed building it could reach explosive limits and become a hazard to the public.

Since June, the City’s environmental consulting firm conducted 40 monitoring events in 14 permanent wells installed along the right-of-way of Bald Mountain Road and on the Kensington Church site.  The scientific evaluation of the monitoring results indicate that the methane gas appears to be naturally occurring in the area, does not exceed the standards set by the State of Michigan for action, and is not migrating eastward underground from the closed Sanicem Landfill located within the Dutton Corporate Center.  The City will continue to monitor the situation to create a baseline of data for future testing.

So, the good news is that the methane gas situation along Bald Mountain Road is “not very interesting.”  Experts believe the public is safe, which is the best possible scenario we could have found.