GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The Wolverine Worldwide toxic tap water crisis is now being investigated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which is expected to begin sampling water in northern Kent County next week.
Having the EPA take an active role in the PFAS crisis is something many have wanted to see for a long time.
On Saturday, the federal agency confirmed they are here to help.
Cody Angell is an IT professional who helps run the Facebook Page “Demand Action from Plainfield Township,” which with nearly 4,500 members has become a clearing house for information about the ever-growing contamination area that resulted from decades of Wolverine Worldwide’s disposal of contaminated sludge.
Angell said he was delighted to hear that the EPA has confirmed that it will begin taking samples to verify data that Wolverine World Wide has provided to the public.
“So this is a blessing, this is obviously the Federal Government coming in, hopefully they’re more organized than what the DEQ is, hopefully they have more funds and hopefully we get an idea of how big this really is,” said Angell, a Plainfield Township resident.
>>Inside woodtv.com: Complete coverage of the toxic tap water investigation
Many residents, the Kent County Health Department and Michigan’s congressional delegation have been wanting the EPA to become more involved.
The EPA has been advising the State of Michigan, but this is a much more hands-on involvement by the federal government.
Earlier this month, Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters, along with GOP members of the House signed a letter calling for the EPA to step in.
Slated to begin next week, the EPA will take samples from several existing monitoring wells and at least 15 residential wells in the area.
The samples will be tested by independent laboratories selected by the EPA to see if the levels they find match those results from Wolverine and the Michigan DEQ.
“I’m hoping with the federal oversight, that things tend to get a lot more organized and more information is put out for the residents to understand,” Angell said.
Angell said he hopes the EPA is here for the long haul and that the scope of the investigation goes on to include more than just PFAS.
But so far, the EPA has not indicated that it will be taking a long-term hand in this investigation.
“At the end of the day, all we want is clean water,” Angell said.
At last count, there are 35 lawsuits filed in Kent County Circuit Court against Wolverine World Wide.
On its website, the company says it welcomes the EPA involvement and will cooperate fully.
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: