State testing lakes near Rockford-area contamination sites

plainfield township, wolverine worldwide, contaminated water
A well in Belmont that was contaminated, likely by chemicals from an old Wolverine Worldwide dump site. (Sept. 26, 2017)


ROCKFORD, Mich. (WOOD) — The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality is asking for the public’s help in testing lakes that may have been contaminated in the Rockford area.

State and local health officials have been working to determine the scope of contamination caused by dumped chemicals from Wolverine Worldwide. The chemical of concern, PFAS, is used in the shoe-making process and is believed to cause cancer when too much of it is consumed by humans.

Authorities are continuing to test water at homes near the contamination sites to determine what needs to be done to rectify the problem. On Friday, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality officials said there was no evidence that Wolverine Worldwide had broken any laws as regulations surrounding dumping may have come long after the area was contaminated.

>>PDF: Kent Co. Health Department update on groundwater

The MDEQ is now testing lakes in the area to determine whether they have been impacted by the contamination. Officials are asking those who fish in the lake to participate in their investigation.

The state is asking participants to collect 10 of any one type of fish in any one lake in the area. Those fish can then be submitted to the DNR for testing.

Those interested in participating can contact Jay Wesley of the DNR’s fishery division at WesleyJ@michigan.gov.

Local officials have also begun to investigation what it would take to permanently switch water sources for those impacted. Plainfield Township has started investigation what it would take to extend water infrastructure into the impacted areas.