Wolverine devoting $40M to PFAS response

Plainfield Township, House Street NE, illegal dump site
Crews prepare to clean up an illegal dump site along House Street NE in Plainfield Township. (Oct. 11, 2017)

ROCKFORD, Mich. (WOOD) — Wolverine Worldwide says it will commit $40 million over the next several years to dealing with the toxic tap water crisis in northern Kent County.

The Rockford-based shoe manufacturer said $30 million will go toward well testing and monitoring and providing bottled water and whole-house filtration systems for affected homes. The rest of the cash will go toward consulting and other costs.

Wolverine tannery waste dumped decades ago has been blamed for PFAS contamination in hundreds of residential wells in Plainfield and Algoma townships. In some cases, the level has been found to be far above the federal and state standard for drinking water.

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

PFAS is a likely carcinogen that has also been liked to several other illnesses. The chemical has been found in high concentrations in the blood of a woman who lives across the street from a former Wolverine landfill on House Street and also a toddler who lives nearby.

Earlier this week, about 40 people lined up for tests to find out how much PFAS is in their blood. Health officials don’t recommend those tests, but residents say they want more information so they can make educated health decisions.

Wolverine Worldwide is facing nearly 80 civil lawsuits and a federal class-action suit in connection to the toxic tap water. Three of the lawsuits blame a death on the contamination.

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: