Possible contamination forces Rockford East Middle school to shut off drinking water

Oct 12, 2017

Amid fears of contamination, Rockford East Middle School shut off all of their drinking water fountains Thursday until further notice. The source of potential toxic chemicals in the water comes from a former dump site used by Wolverine World Wide about a half mile northeast of the school. Rockford Public Schools Superintendent Michael Shibler says he made the decision to shut off the water at Rockford East Middle School after The Department of Environmental Quality, Kent County Health Department and Wolverine World Wide informed him that the school's drinking water may contain toxic per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances.

“It’s important that the community understands...that we are absolutely setting this as a top priority, the safety of our children," Shibler said. "Today, we are doing the right thing, to make sure that priority is met.”

Water has already been shipped off for testing, and it may take up to a week and half for final results. In the meantime, Shibler says Wolverine World Wide has provided the school with thousands of bottles of water.

The potential contamination stems from an old dump site that Wolverine World Wide used to depose of waste from a tannery. The company at the time waterproofed shoes using Scotchgard, the source of the toxic substances.