Twp. stopped using well field in 2016 due to PFAS

Chemical linked to former Wolverine Worldwide dump recently found in homes' wells

Plainfield Township
The Nov. 13, 2017, meeting of the Plainfield Township board.


PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — More than a year ago, Plainfield Township stopped using one of its well fields because it was found to be contaminated with PFAS, a likely carcinogen recently found area wells.

At a Monday evening meeting of the township board, the township’s director of public services outlined the history of the township water system. He focused on the Versluis Well Field that fed the system. In March 2016, tests found elevated PFAS levels in the well field and the township decided to shut it down and rely on other sources.

PFAS was previously used in Scotchgard, which Rockford-based Wolverine Worldwide used to waterproof shoes. Wolverine waste was dumped along House Street NE in Plainfield Township and has been blamed with contaminating wells more than a mile away.

“Our current treatment process, a lime softening plant that we operate, is not effective for removing PFAS compounds. We, along with our engineers and water plant operators, have been researching alternative method available,” director of public services Rick Solle said at the Monday meeting.

Since it stopped using the Versluis wells, the township has tested its municipal water again. According to Plainfield Township’s 2016 water quality report, contaminant levels are well below the Environmental Protection Agency’s advisory limit.

>>PDF: Solle’s presentation

But those at the meeting still don’t trust that it’s safe.

“Would you drink it?” one woman asked the board.

“I am drinking it,” Plainfield Township Trustee Frank Pfaff replied.

“Really? Well, good luck with that,” the woman said.

“It’s a matter of safe. We meet all the standards,” Pfaff said.

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

Residents packed the meeting to express their frustrations about the contaminated water and demand answers about what the township knew and when. They expressed distrust in the information they have received about what the township knew about possible contamination.

“What I find truly appalling is Plainfield Township has been aware of this information,” resident Travis Brown said. “Through your lack of transparency, you have placed the health and safety of the public at risk.”

“You know, when I was on the board I can remember back that I never, never received a report from the water department in the township what our safe water drinking was at,” former Plainfield Township board member Robert Litzan noted.

The township is looking for a new well field to replace the capacity it lost when it closed the Versluis Well Field. Funds to find safe groundwater sources are included in this year’s budget.

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: