Township may extend municipal water to more homes near dump site
Township trustees agreed to pay for $266,000 in additional engineering and survey work from Prein & Newhof to explore three additional areas near House Street and U.S. 131 affected by Wolverine World Wide’s tannery waste dumps.
That’s under the advice of the state agency investigating the dumps, township officials said.
Residents in the neighborhood drink water from their own wells.
Tests of their water have turned up elevated levels of toxic PFAS — per- and polyfluoroalkyl chemical substances — used by Wolverine in the 1960s to waterproof shoe leather.
"As this saga of PFAS contamination is unfolding, new areas are being identified as having significant levels of this nasty chemical and need a long-term solution," said Township Manager Bob Homan.
The DEQ does not share the test results from private wells with township officials – but the state does suggest areas that the township should consider surveying for public water mains, Van Wyngarden said.
"We want to make sure that they’re provided with drinking water," Van Wyngarden said.
Though the township may be fronting the cost for the survey and engineering work, it has hired a lawyer, Doug Van Essen, to hold Wolverine responsible for both the survey work and for the ultimate construction cost of the new water mains.
The latest test of the township’s water in September showed a combined level of types of PFAS — PFOS and PFOA — at 10 parts per trillion (ppt).
In the past several months, the issue has reignited in Plainfield Township due to a mushrooming investigation into former tannery waste dump sites from Wolverine World Wide.