Test finds highest PFAS level yet tied to Wolverine

Level 842 times higher than state standard found in well on 11 Mile in Algoma Twp.

A well in the area of Elstner Avenue NE in Algoma Township. (Nov. 14, 2017)


ALGOMA TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — A new highest level of PFAS found in a private well in West Michigan is not next to Wolverine Worldwide’s former House Street dump.

The state said Tuesday that tests found more than 58,930 parts per trillion of PFAS in a private well in Algoma Township, on 11 Mile Road NE east of US-131.

That’s 842 times the state’s 70 ppt standard for drinking water.

The previous high was reported at nearly 38,000 ppt of the likely carcinogen at a home directly across the street from the House Street dump, where Wolverine dumped sludge laced with PFAS until 1970.

“We were of course surprised to see a number come back that high,” Michigan Department of Environmental Quality spokeswoman Melanie Brown told Target 8 Tuesday. “It’s certainly the highest for this area so far.”

PFAS, once found in the Scotchgard used by Wolverine for waterproofing shoes, has spread from the House Street NE dump in Belmont to wells mostly to the south.

The DEQ is trying to determine if the PFAS in the Algoma Township area — on either side of US-131 and north of 10 Mile Road NE — came from spreading Wolverine sludge on farm fields decades ago or dumping it in a gravel pit.

State officials said privacy laws prohibit them from identifying the home with the recent high test.

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

So far, of the 338 well tests in the Algoma Township zones, 136 have tested with at least some PFAS. Of those, 56 tested over the state’s limit of 70 ppt for drinking water. That includes the home with 58,930.

The numbers in Algoma Township have now eclipsed those in the original House Street area, where 30 homes are over the state’s drinking water limit.

The state on Tuesday also announced test results in the area of North Childsdale and 10 Mile Road: 10 of 18 wells with results came back positive, with two of those over the state limit. The highest was 701 parts per trillion.

It also announced it has included the area of 12 Mile Road NE and the White Pine Trail in its testing area. Tests so far have found low levels of PFAS. Wolverine has said it had nothing to do with that area, but a former truck driver told Target 8 he dumped the company’s sludge at an old dump there in the 1960s.

On Monday, new tests found high levels of PFAS around the North Kent Landfill on 10 Mile Road NE, prompting the county to provide bottled water to nearby residents. It also will lead to more well tests in that area.

As of Tuesday, Wolverine faces 73 lawsuits in Kent County Circuit Court linked to the toxic tap water crisis. It also faces a federal class-action suit. On Monday, it asked that that suit be dismissed.

Wolverine released a statement addressing the test results Tuesday evening:

“Wolverine Worldwide is aware of these test results and shares the community’s concern.  We installed a whole house filter at this home within days after these results were received, and will be re-testing that filter soon.  We continue to work closely with the DEQ to identify possible sources, while at the same time implementing solutions that give the community confidence in its water.”

RESOURCES FOR PLAINFIELD AND ALGOMA TOWNSHIP 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: