Townships hosting forum on Wolverine settlement

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Wolverine Worldwide's global headquarters. Photo via fb.com

A pair of local townships are hosting a public forum next week on the $69.5 million settlement with Wolverine Worldwide to extend municipal water to homeowners over PFAS contamination.

Plainfield and Algoma townships are finalizing their settlement with Wolverine after ongoing litigation against the Rockford-based footwear and apparel maker and will host a community discussion from 6-9 p.m. Feb. 4 at Frontline Community Church, at 4411 Plainfield Ave. NE in Plainfield Township.

Attorney Doug Van Essen will give a presentation on specifics of the $69.5 million agreement to extend municipal water to about 1,000 homeowners in the two townships after drinking water was contaminated with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, collectively known as PFAS.

PFAS are a family of long-lasting chemicals that were part of a previous formula for 3M’s Scotchgard product that Wolverine used to waterproof its leather shoes beginning in the late 1950s and early ’60s. PFAS have been linked to certain types of cancers and other health issues.

The chemicals were found in concentrations above the safety limit at several former waste dumps in the townships, as well as the former leather tannery site at 123 N. Main St. in Rockford.

Wolverine has agreed as part of the settlement to pay all hookup and connection fees for homeowners whose private drinking wells are in the areas and will be served by the new municipal lines.

Additionally, Wolverine will contribute some funding for a granular activated carbon, or GAC, filtering system for Plainfield’s municipal water treatment plant. The townships expect work will begin in the spring and take at least five years to extend municipal water to all affected homeowners.

Van Essen, along with Cameron Van Wyngarden, Plainfield Township superintendent; Rick Solle, Plainfield Township director of public services; and Kevin Gritters, civil engineering project manager at Grand Rapids Township-based Prein & Newhof, will answer questions from the public at the forum.

Their goal is to answer any and all questions from residents on the settlement. There will be an opportunity at the end for public input.

The settlement documents are available to the public today on the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) website at michigan.gov/egle.

The forum is open to the public and will be streamed live at facebook.com/plainfieldtownship.

 

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