Water tested at East Rockford MS negative for toxin


ROCKFORD, Mich. (WOOD) — No toxic chemicals were detected in the well water tested at a Rockford middle school.

In an Oct. 25 letter to parents, Rockford Public Schools Superintendent Michael Shibler said the test samples taken at East Rockford Middle School have come back negative for PFAS.

“That doesn’t mean we’re not going to test it in the future,” Shibler told 24 Hour News 8. “I’m going to ask for advice from health officials: How often should I have this building retested in the future? Every year? Every six months?”

He added the district will have to pay for future testing.

“I want to be sure that in all cases, our parents, our staff, our students feel the water they’re drinking is healthy, isn’t contaminated,” he said.

The school had stopped using its well water after a former Wolverine Worldwide dump site near Ramsdell Drive NE was  identified.

Waste from the Rockford-based shoe manufacturer is suspected to be the cause of unsafe levels of a chemical that used to be using waterproofing shoes in Belmont wells. The chemical, PFOS, is a likely carcinogen and has been linked to other illnesses.

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

Wolverine Worldwide had been providing bottled water to students pending the results of the water tests. Since the test have come back negative for PFAS, the district says students and staff at East Rockford Middle School can start using well water again.

Samples of water from Crestwood, Cannonsburg and Lakes elementary schools have been sent in for testing. The results for those schools have not come back yet.

No one yet knows how big the scope of the problem may be or how much the response could cost. The company has already promised whole-house filtration systems for homes within a certain distance of a dump on House Street NE in Belmont — likely to the tune of about $1.7 million — and a Wolverine Worldwide executive previously told Target 8 the company will take responsibility for its waste.

>>App users: Interactive map of toxic tap water

Rockford Public Schools Superintendent Michael Shibler released the following letter to parents and staff Wednesday:

“Dear RPS Parents and Staff:

I have received the analytical report from Rose & Westra, the laboratory assigned to test the water quality at East Rockford Middle School. I am happy to report that there were no PFAS detected in the water at ERMS. This is great news!

Beginning Wednesday morning, the water at ERMS will be reinstated and there will be no need to continue the use of bottled water.

As a precautionary measure, we have had samples of water from Cannonsburg, Crestwood, and Lakes elementary schools sent in for testing. The reason being, like ERMS, those three schools also use wells for water. I will notify you as soon as I receive those test results.”

RESOURCES FOR BELMONT RESIDENTS:

If you are eligible for a whole-house water filtration system from Wolverine Worldwide, you can call 616.866.5627 or email HouseStreet@wwwinc.com.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality Environmental Assistance Center can be reached at 1.800.662.9278.

Websites with additional information on the contamination: