Toxic tap water investigation: How to test your water


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Contamination concerns involving former Wolverine Worldwide dump sites are leading to a lot of questions from Rockford area residents, including how to get their water tested.

If you are outside the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s current testing zone, you can pay to have your water checked on your own.

Wolverine Worldwide, House Street, buffer zone
Map: The “buffer zone” around a long-defunct Wolverine Worldwide dump believed to be causing well water contamination.

The EPA has approved labs around the country to do water testing, but less than two dozen are actually capable of testing for PFOS, the chemical at the center of the toxic tap water investigation. Those approved labs are listed on the Kent County Health Department’s website. Labs with an “X” under the “EPA 537” column are approved to conduct PFOS testing.

Friday, Target 8 talked to one of the labs that offer test – Accurate Environmental Labs in Oklahoma. Technical Director Danny Chance walked us through the process.

>>Inside woodtv.com: Complete coverage of the toxic tap water investigation

“It’s a very low level test. It looks down to very low level concentrations, so if your sample comes back clean, I would have no concerns about the water whatsoever,” Chance said.

Each home test costs $425, but offers peace of mind to homeowners outside the designated buffer zone concerned for their health.

The test comes in a cooler along with specific instructions and a paper for the homeowner to fill out.

“Really all they need (to do) is (write down the) date and time, the address they’d like on the report and then a relinquish signature,” Chance explained. “You’re going to fill up each one of (the) containers. We’ll probably send you three or four depending on what we need.”

Chance said you should let your water run for a couple minutes before taking each water sample.

“You basically just flush the lines for a few minutes, fill [the container] up. (It’s) something anybody easily could do at their own home,” he explained via Skype.

From there, the containers are packed into a bag included in the cooler. The homeowner then needs to fill the bag with ice before tying it off tight and placing it back in the cooler.

Once the completed test is sent back to the given lab via overnight delivery, homeowners will have their results within two weeks.

Wolverine Worldwide has launched an information portal on its corporate website where the community can find updates on the House Street situation, as well as answers to frequently asked questions.

Owners of the 338 homes in the testing and buffer zone that are eligible for whole house filter systems can contact Wolverine Worldwide at 616.866.5627 or at HouseStreet@wwwinc.com.

Belmont area residents can also contact the DEQ Environmental Assistance Center online or at 1.800.662.9278.