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A health report released Tuesday indicates a significantly higher than expected rate for prostate cancer in Northern Kent County private drinking wells tested for PFAS.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and the Kent County Health Department released cancer incident data as it pertains to PFAS found in two Northern Kent County combined zip codes private drinking wells. Think Belmont and Rockford where Wolverine World Wide dumped waste.

A footwear manufacturer that's working to clean up dump sites in western Michigan says it expects to spend $40 million addressing groundwater issues.

Wolverine World Wide said Thursday it expects to spend as much as $35 million for ongoing testing and monitoring of groundwater and providing bottled drinking water and water filter systems for people affected by groundwater problems.

It says the remaining estimated costs are associated with consulting and other expenses this year.

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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.

Michigan officials say the state's investigation into old tannery waste disposal has expanded. The state Department of Environmental Quality says it's now investigating 75 sites for toxic industrial chemicals that were used by Wolverine World Wide to waterproof shoes.

Department spokesperson Mel Brown says about 26 locations have been referred to the shoe manufacturer for further testing. State officials say the latest testing area includes about 100 homes in Rockford.

Rockford East Middle School cleared of contaminated water scare

Oct 26, 2017

Drinking water tested at a western Michigan middle school has shown no signs of hazardous chemicals from a decades-old tannery waste dump site. Rockford Public Schools turned off drinking fountains at East Rockford Middle School two weeks ago as a precaution after leather and rubber scraps were found near the school. The district says the school's drinking water shows no presence of perfluorinated chemicals from the Wolverine World Wide dump site. 

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Two West Michigan State Representatives are asking residents impacted by water contamination in Northern Kent County to access new websites providing updated information.

State Representatives Chris Afendoulis whose district includes Plainfield Township and Rob VerHeulen, whose district includes Rockford, are following developments on Wolverine World Wide’s House Street Disposal site and ground water contamination discovered there. The representatives have issued a joint statement assuring their top priority is the health and safety of affected residents. 

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Students might need to change their Labor Day weekend plans. This fall, 50 school districts will have a new, earlier start date.

Since 2005, the state has banned public schools from starting before Labor Day without a waiver.

But a new mandate means an extra week of school next year. And some districts worry that will mean meeting further into the hot summer months.

Now, 50 school districts have the OK to start before Labor Day.