Toxic tap water probe: Erin Brockovich coming Dec. 16

Erin Brockovich
Erin Brockovich speaks on board the Norwegian Escape during day 2 of the Summit at Sea cruise on Thursday, Nov. 10, 2016 in Miami.

PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Famed legal clerk and environmental activist Erin Brockovich is coming to Kent County to meet with property owners impacted by the toxic tap water investigation involving Wolverine Worldwide.

Brockovich told 24 Hour News 8 Tuesday that she’s been hearing from a lot of frustrated Belmont area residents.

“When I wake up and have 50 emails from the same town, we tend to notice something’s gone wrong,” she said.

Brockovich’s plans to visit come after three law firms filed the first federal class-action lawsuit against Wolverine in connection to a likely carcinogenic chemical discovered in residential wells in and around Belmont, which could previously be found in the Scotchgard Wolverine used to waterproof shoes.

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

Scotchgard manufacturer 3M and Waste Management are also named as defendants in the 52-page lawsuit filed Friday, which also claimed Wolverine dumped toxic chemicals at the old Butterworth Landfill within Grand Rapids’ city limits.

Among other things, the twelve-count lawsuit alleges negligence leading to serious health problems, private and public nuisance because of the companies’ reckless behavior and product liability problems. The suit also claims battery, saying the companies “willfully, wantonly and recklessly” dumped toxic chemicals that directly harmed the plaintiffs.

Years ago, Brockovich came to Fennville to fight on the behalf of six families suing Birds Eye Foods for contaminated well water. The problem was traced back to a company plant, which had been spraying waste water on nearby fields.

Brockovich will join the three law firms behind the class-action lawsuit for a community meeting inside Comstock Park High School’s gymnasium on Saturday, Dec. 16 at 2 p.m., according to details posted online Friday.

“We’re coming into a community that’s frustrated and we’re frustrated,” she said. “It just astounds me that this issue continues… this has been going on for a while.”

Four new individual lawsuits were filed against Wolverine Worldwide in the Kent County Circuit Court on Tuesday. Eight other individual lawsuits were previously filed against Wolverine, and lawyers say there will likely be more.

Wolverine has already offered to foot the bill for whole-house water filtration systems for hundreds of homes in Plainfield and Algoma townships where contamination has been detected.

>>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: