Wolverine doubles whole-house filtration program

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)


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Wolverine Worldwide announced Wednesday it is expanding its program to provide whole-house water filtration systems near its former House Street NE landfill, nearly doubling the number of homes eligible.

Homes in the southeast expansion area, which stretches south from House Street to Rogue River Drive and east to the river, can get a filtration system if any PFOA or related compound PFOS is found in their wells.

The southeast expansion area includes approximately 300 homes with wells. Wolverine previously said each system would cost about about $5,000, which means it could spend some $1.5 million in the expansion area.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s advisory limit for PFOS in drinking water is 70 parts per trillion. Wolverine says even houses that test below that level ware eligible for a filtration system.

“From the beginning, we have said that Wolverine is committed to doing the right thing and we want residents to have confidence in the safety of their water,” Chris Hufnagel, Wolverine’s senior vice president of strategy, said in a statement as the program expansion was announced. “Today’s announcement is just another step towards that effort.”

The chemical is a likely carcinogen that has also been linked to other illnesses. It was formerly found in Scotchgard, which Rockford-based shoe manufacturer Wolverine used for waterproofing. Wolverine waste was dumped at its landfill along House Street in Belmont before 1970.

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

After wells in the area were found to be contaminated earlier this year, Wolverine said it would foot the bill for whole-house filtration systems for homes in the original study area. With 338 homes in that area, that cost could reach nearly $1.7 million.

Wolverine said Wednesday that 76 Culligan/Calgon systems have been installed so far; 30 more will be installed by the end of the week.

The company is also paying for bottled water and well testing at a number of homes in at least three neighborhoods. It said it expects to spend some $3 million on contamination response this quarter alone.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality is investigating reports of possible Wolverine waste at 75 locations, though not all of those have been confirmed. The state has not released a list of those locations.

>>App users: Interactive map of toxic tap water

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: