Scientists want to use an unconventional method to remove pollution from former General Motors properties near Lansing where an underground plume of chemicals is creeping toward drinking water wells.

The Lansing State Journal reports that the trust that controls the sites is proposing a method called “biosparging,” which removes pollution by injecting air into groundwater. This encourages bacteria to consume 1,4-dioxane, a chemical the GM plants used to clean oil off car parts.

Engineers say it could take six to 12 years to fully clean the water.

Empty containers that hold nontoxic fluids when crews need to use them while working are seen on Thursday, April 11, 2019, at the RACER Lansing Plant 2. (Nick King/Lansing State Journal via AP)
Empty containers that hold nontoxic fluids when crews need to use them while working are seen on Thursday, April 11, 2019, at the RACER Lansing Plant 2. (Nick King/Lansing State Journal via AP)

The pollution was discovered after the Revitalizing Auto Communities Environmental Response Trust took over the GM sites following the company’s bankruptcy reorganization in 2009.

The trust will need state approval to pursue the pollution removal plan.

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The building holding the pilot propane biosparge system used to clean up 1,2 dioxane from underground photographed on Thursday, April 11, 2019, at the RACER Lansing Plant 2. (Nick King/Lansing State Journal via AP)
The building holding the pilot propane biosparge system used to clean up 1,2 dioxane from underground photographed on Thursday, April 11, 2019, at the RACER Lansing Plant 2. (Nick King/Lansing State Journal via AP)
A exhaust pipe from the pilot propane biosparge system used to clean up an underground 1,4 dioxane plume photographed on Thursday, April 11, 2019, at the RACER Lansing Plant 2 in Lansing, Mich. (Nick King/Lansing State Journal via AP)
A exhaust pipe from the pilot propane biosparge system used to clean up an underground 1,4 dioxane plume photographed on Thursday, April 11, 2019, at the RACER Lansing Plant 2 in Lansing, Mich. (Nick King/Lansing State Journal via AP)
Dave Favero, deputy cleanup manager for the RACER sites, talks about the proposed 1,4 dioxane clean up on Thursday, April 11, 2019, at the RACER Lansing Plant 2 in Lansing, Mich. (Nick King/Lansing State Journal via AP)
Dave Favero, deputy cleanup manager for the RACER sites, talks about the proposed 1,4 dioxane clean up on Thursday, April 11, 2019, at the RACER Lansing Plant 2 in Lansing, Mich. (Nick King/Lansing State Journal via AP)
Dave Favero, deputy cleanup manager for the RACER sites, left, talks about the proposed 1,4 dioxane clean up on Thursday, April 11, 2019, at the RACER Lansing Plant 2. (Nick King/Lansing State Journal via AP)
Dave Favero, deputy cleanup manager for the RACER sites, left, talks about the proposed 1,4 dioxane clean up on Thursday, April 11, 2019, at the RACER Lansing Plant 2. (Nick King/Lansing State Journal via AP)
Dave Favero, deputy cleanup manager for the RACER sites points to an explanation of the propane biosparge system while talking about the proposed 1,4 dioxane clean up on Thursday, April 11, 2019, at the RACER Lansing Plant 2. (Nick King/Lansing State Journal via AP)
Dave Favero, deputy cleanup manager for the RACER sites points to an explanation of the propane biosparge system while talking about the proposed 1,4 dioxane clean up on Thursday, April 11, 2019, at the RACER Lansing Plant 2. (Nick King/Lansing State Journal via AP)
An inside look of the pilot propane biosparge system used to clean up an underground 1,4 dioxane plume on Thursday, April 11, 2019, at the RACER Lansing Plant 2. (Nick King/Lansing State Journal via AP)
An inside look of the pilot propane biosparge system used to clean up an underground 1,4 dioxane plume on Thursday, April 11, 2019, at the RACER Lansing Plant 2. (Nick King/Lansing State Journal via AP)

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