“GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (CN) – Dangerous levels of toxic chemicals used to waterproof shoe leather have polluted dozens of residential drinking water wells, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality claims, forcing residents to turn to bottled water.

The state agency filed a federal lawsuit on Wednesday demanding that Wolverine World Wide of Rockford, Mich., clean up toxic waste deriving from its footwear operations at the Rockford Tannery leather shoe factory in the mid-1950s through 1970. The site is about 15 miles north of Grand Rapids…

Wolverine sampled 640 residential wells for PFAS originating from a landfill in Belmont and reportedly found that 30 wells have tested above levels that Michigan and the EPA consider safe. The company sampled 549 residential wells at other locations in Kent County and found that 48 residential wells were contaminated at levels the agency says could threaten human health and the environment, according to the complaint.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality says the legal action follows the establishment of new clean-up criteria for fluorochemicals in groundwater at 70 parts per trillion, bringing the state in line with federal environmental regulations.”

Read the full article by Matt Reynolds.