perfluorinated chemicals

Water faucet
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Gov. Rick Snyder has signed a $52.8 million supplemental budget bill that includes money to respond to an emerging chemical contaminant found across Michigan.

The law enacted Wednesday allocates $23.2 million to address groundwater contamination from per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, at 28 sites in 14 communities. It's recently drawn scrutiny north of Grand Rapids, where footwear company Wolverine World Wild dumped waste sludge decades ago.

Water faucet
Public domain image / Wikimedia.org

Court records show that a shoe manufacturer reached an agreement with a Michigan township nearly 50 years ago that allowed the company to continue dumping tannery sludge in the area as long as the waste didn't contaminate water.

The Grand Rapids Press reports that attorneys representing local homeowners summarized the 1966 court settlement with Plainfield Township in a lawsuit recently filed against Wolverine World Wide. The lawsuit alleges that the company's old landfill in Belmont contaminated water with perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl.

Biologists with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality are planning to take a second look at fish in the Rogue River due to growing water contamination concerns from nearby tannery dump sites.

The Grand Rapids Press reports that testing from four years ago found elevated levels of toxic industrial chemicals in fish north of the Rockford dam, prompting the state to issue limits to eating those fish in a health advisory.