Methane Gas Investigation Planned

Posted by – Steve Cohen, Director of Community Development

The City of Auburn Hills has scheduled an informational meeting on Tuesday, May 12th at 7:00 p.m. at the Robert W. Grusnick Public Safety Building on the City’s campus to discuss a planned methane gas investigation.  The update will be jointly hosted by the Planning Commission and Brownfield Redevelopment Authority.

Location Map

Location Map

The reason for the investigation is to evaluate the potential source and distribution of methane gas documented at the southeast corner of Dutton and Bald Mountain Roads.  Experts recently found increased methane readings in subsurface wells on the property.

It’s the City’s goal to make all efforts to investigate this matter transparent with the general public.  In the months ahead, environmental testing is anticipated to occur in the vicinity to determine the extent of gas migration.

At this time, experts believe this situation is not dangerous, but should be studied to better understand what conditions exist, locate the source of the methane, and determine if any remedial action is required to ensure safety.

Upon learning this information, the City of Auburn Hills took the precaution to contact and ask the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) to look into the matter.  Methane (CH4) is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, and potentially flammable gas that is widely distributed in nature.  Methane is produced whenever organic material is decomposed by bacterial action in the absence of oxygen.  In rare circumstances, methane can become dangerous and cause explosions and/or asphyxiation.  Like radon gas, methane can migrate significant distances under the ground surface and be forced into enclosed spaces in adjacent buildings by pressure.

Potential Exposure Pathways to Methane Gas (Source: ATSDR)

Potential Exposure Pathways to Methane Gas (Source: ATSDR)

All interested persons are encouraged to attend the informational meeting.  A representative from the MDEQ and the City’s environmental consultant are scheduled to be present to discuss the investigation and answer questions.