Parents: How will tainted water affect daughter’s future?

Wells near old Wolverine Worldwide dump site contaminated with likely carcinogen

Belmont, Wolverine Worldwide, PFOS contamination
Water runs in the kitchen of a Belmont home where wells have been contaminated with a chemical called PFOS. (Oct. 12, 2017)


PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — A family who moved to Kent County last summer is now dealing with contaminated water because of a Wolverine Worldwide dump site.

The Schmidts moved to House Street NE a little over a year ago. In July, someone from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality knocked on their door to tell them the water from their well may be unsafe to drink.

Their home is just down the road from a long-defunct Wolverine Worldwide dump site blamed as the source of contamination in many wells in the Belmont area.

Tests for PFOS, a chemical that Wolverine previously used to waterproof the shoes it manufactures, showed their drinking water had 11 parts per trillion. The Schmidt’s result is far lower than the advisory threshold of 70 parts per trillion set by the Environmental Protection Agency, but they still switched to bottled water and a kitchen filter in August.

“The worst part was remembering, ‘Hey, don’t drink that,'” Randall Schmidt told 24 Hour News 8.

He and his wife Mary have done their best to remain positive about the situation they have no control over. Their biggest concern is for their small dog and 3-year-old daughter.

“My daughter has been consuming the water since she was an infant and it’s just… Her development. What’s going to happen to her down the road?” Mary Schmidt told 24 Hour News 8.

“Children and pets are the most susceptible to these chemicals, so the concern immediately was of (her),” Randall Schmidt added.

PFOS is a likely carcinogen and has been linked to other health problems, including some that affect childhood development.

The Schmidts are concerned about the limited information currently available on PFOS. They said they’ve been told it’s still safe to shower and wash dishes with their well water, but “that’s all based on the data that’s currently available.” They’re worried that in 10 years, they’ll learn showering in the water is dangerous.

>>Online: Health department on House Street disposal area

While they commend Wolverine for accepting responsibility for the contamination — the company has promised to provide whole-house filtration systems for 338 homes around the old House Street dump — they still wonder when exactly the local agencies learned of the problem.

“We just bought this house a little over a year ago. Had we known some of these things when other people may or may not have known them, that could’ve influenced our decision,” Randall Schmidt said.

Wolverine Worldwide says it will be launching an information portal on its corporate website Friday where the community can find updates on the House Street situation, as well as answers to frequently asked questions. Homeowners eligible for whole house filter systems can contact Wolverine Worldwide at 616.866.5627 or at HouseStreet@wwwinc.com.