Wolverine World Wide

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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.

State of Michigan suing Wolverine Worldwide

Jan 10, 2018

The state of Michigan has sued Wolverine World Wide over chemical contaminants in drinking water, saying the lawsuit is needed to formalize the footwear company's response to the contamination and to reimburse the government for past and future costs. The suit was filed Wednesday in federal court. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality says while the Rockford, Michigan-based company has been cooperative, a judge should still order Wolverine to prevent endangerment to public health, abate the contamination and pay state enforcement and other costs. 

Water faucet
Public domain image / Wikimedia.org

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.

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.

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.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has given a shoe manufacturer a deadline to handle the scope of a toxic chemical plume leaking through the groundwater from the company's landfill.

The Grand Rapids Press reports that the department sent a letter to Wolverine World Wide on Friday regarding the fluorochemicals coming from the Belmont landfill. The agency is giving Wolverine until the end of January to comprehensively model the plume amid a long list of work deadlines associated with both the Belmont plume and the former Rockford tannery.

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. 

Another Wolverine Worldwide dump site discovered

Oct 17, 2017

Another leather tannery waste dump site has been found in Belmont, prompting worries that chemical-laced debris may be in a wider area than previously known. 

Tedd Ryfiak, who lives near a former Wolverine World Wide dump site in the Belmont area, says he's found waste including two rusty metal drums on his property and he's concerned there may be more. Wolverine said Monday it wasn't aware of the waste at Ryfiak's property but the company would remove it.