Before the PFAS-related consent decree takes effect, the public can comment at hearings and online

Before the PFAS-related consent decree takes effect, the public can comment at hearings and online
February 7, 2020 Natasha Blakely

Before a judge approves the consent decree involving Wolverine Worldwide, the state and two townships with contaminated drinking water, the public will have a chance to weigh in about the PFAS-related agreement.  Wolverine Worldwide announced the proposal earlier this week. Read it HERE.

The pact, involving the state of Michigan, Plainfield Charter Township and Algoma Township, will be subjected to a public comment period before being submitted to U.S. District Judge Janet T. Neff for approval.

Interested parties can email AG-WolverineCD@michigan.gov or comment in person at a meeting scheduled for 6:30-8 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 10, at Rockford High School.

PFAS—per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances— have affected communities throughout Michigan and neighboring states. Various lawmakers have introduced legislation aimed at regulating PFAS levels in water supplies and cleaning up contaminated sites.

PFAS is found in common items like food packaging, waterproof fabrics and firefighting foam, and one known source of that contamination is in the Rockford and Belmont areas of Michigan, where a former tannery and waste dump of Wolverine Worldwide sits. The contaminants have entered the groundwater and affected residents.

Watch Great Lakes Now’s documentary about this community:

The state of Michigan and municipal leadership for months were discussing settlements and remediation efforts with Wolverine Worldwide before finally settling on the current agreement.

Under the decree, Wolverine plans to provide $69.5 million from 2020 to 2023 based on the work contracted to extend Plainfield Township’s municipal water system to more than 1,000 properties in Algoma and Plainfield townships.

The decree also involves continued maintenance of filters installed for homeowners, resampling of some residential wells, environmental remediation efforts such as cleanup and groundwater filtration, and further investigation into the presence of PFAS in groundwater.

“We are pleased to reach a Consent Decree and move forward with our efforts on behalf of the community,” Blake W. Krueger, Wolverine Worldwide chairman and CEO, said in a statement. “We have said from the beginning we are committed to being part of comprehensive water quality solutions for our friends, families, and neighbors, and this agreement provides the right framework for that to occur.”

Rick Solle, director of public services for Plainfield Charter Township’s water department, directed questions to attorney Doug Van Essen, who did not immediately return telephone calls from Great Lakes Now.

“We’re going to reserve comment on it until Monday. We’re still taking public comment,” EGLE Strategic Communications Advisor Scott Dean said.


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