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'A win for the people' as Wolverine Worldwide agrees to pay for municipal water lines

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It was Wolverine Worldwide’s disposal of toxic chemicals nearly 60 years ago that contaminated the private drinking water wells of hundreds of homes in Plainfield and Algoma Township. The discovery of polyflourinated chemicals, commonly referred to as PFAS, made national news and outraged homeowners, many who had been drinking the water for years. 

Plainfield Township Attorneys argued that the only solution would be to install municipal water lines to those homes, and that Wolverine should be the ones to that foot the bill. Wolverine initially agreed, but then changed its mind, refusing to pay for it, and arguing that home filtration systems would suffice. Plainfield Township officials called it then “a stab in the back.”

A federal judge then ordered Wolverine Worldwide and township officials to settle their differences, and on Tuesday the company announced a consent decree had been reached; and that the shoemaker would provide $69.5 million over a multi-year period towards the installation of municipal water lines to over 1000 homes in Algoma and Plainfield Township. 

“This is a win for the people of Plainfield and Algoma Townships who are affected,” Plainfield Township Attorney Doug Van Essan said. “We have always believed that municipal water was the best solution for our residents.”

Wolverine refused interview requests, but Blake W. Krueger the Chairman and CEO of Wolverine issued this statement “We are pleased to reach a Consent Decree and move forward with our efforts on behalf of the community, the state is hosting a public comment forum at 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Monday, February 10, at Rockford High School.

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