95.3 / 88.5 FM Grand Rapids and 95.3 FM Muskegon
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Emails: Michigan DEQ didn't immediately act on water warning

picture of DEQ logo

Emails indicate the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality may not have immediately acted on a warning regarding groundwater contaminated by waste from a footwear manufacturer.

Emails obtained by The Grand Rapids Press show that state geologist Mark Worrall told the department in April that homes south of Wolverine World Wide's sludge dump should be tested for toxic chemicals.

The emails indicate the department didn't begin testing homes in that area until July. Many weren't looked at until September.

The department's slow-moving investigation accelerated when the Michigan National Guard found elevated levels of chemicals in well water.

Wolverine buried tannery sludge containing perfluorinated chemicals at the site for years. Studies suggest the chemicals affect fetal development, disrupt hormonal functions, damage fertility and immune systems, and boost the risk of cancer.