Wolverine aids in testing contaminated Belmont tap water
BELMONT, Mich. — Residents in parts of Belmont could be without clean drinking water for as long as two years while DEQ officials investigate the presence of a little known but potentially dangerous contaminant that made its way into people’s wells.
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, commonly referred to as PFAS, are a large group of man-made chemicals that have been in use since the 1950s.
Before the EPA tightened dumping regulations in the 1970s, Wolverine World Wide, a West Michigan-based shoe manufacturer used PFAS in materials used to waterproof their shoes.
Of the 21 homes already tested for PFAS in the Belmont area, 13 were found to have shown the presence of the chemicals and 7 homes showed results above the EPA lifetime recommended level of 70-parts-per-trillion, some exhibiting as much as 65-times that level.
They issued FOX17 the following statement: "For more than a century, Wolverine Worldwide has been committed to the communities in which its employees live and work, especially the Rockford and Greater Grand Rapids area.
Consistent with this commitment, Wolverine is currently working closely with state and local officials to collect data from our former tannery in Rockford and the House Street area to better understand the possible presence of PFOA and PFOS at these two sites.
Immediately after Wolverine first learned that PFOS may have been present in the 3M Scotchgard® applied to leather at its former tannery site in Rockford, the Company developed and submitted to the Department of Environmental Quality a proposed plan to voluntarily sample this site for not only PFOS, but also for PFOA and other PFAS compounds.
Earlier this summer, Wolverine learned that PFOA and PFOS were detected in water from a well in the House Street area, near property owned by Wolverine.
This property, which Wolverine formerly operated as a disposal area licensed and regulated by the State, has not been determined to be a source of either PFOA or PFOS, but given our longstanding commitment to this community Wolverine has been working with the DEQ and Kent County Health Department over the past several weeks to test samples from the area.
Consistent with its long history in the community, Wolverine is committed to working with all appropriate agencies in their efforts to determine the status of these sites, and to keep the community informed along the way."