Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances

The Social Discovery of a Class of Emerging Contaminants

Kent County (Belmont, Plainfield Township, and Rockford), MI

Wolverine Worldwide dumped sludge from tanning pigskin for shoes in an unlined dump/landfill in Belmont near Rockford. A 1964 State Water Resources Commission memo indicates that Wolverine began disposing waste at House Street site in 1939. Wolverine started using PFASs in Rockford in 1958. In the 1970s, Wolverine dumped tannery sludge at Northeast Gravel Co., which has been redeveloped into the Boulder Creek Golf Club in Plainfield Township. Wolverine also dumped tannery waste at the State Disposal Landfill in Plainfield Township.

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MDEQ PFAS investigation map. Click here to navigate.

In 1966, Wolverine reached an agreement in court with Plainfield Township allowing them to continue dumping tannery sludge at House Street site, as long as the waste didn’t contaminate nearby water supply. Nearly two years prior, in July 1964, Plainfield Township had formally told Wolverine to stop dumping sludge at the House Street site.

As of January 8, 2018, Wolverine has sampled 640 residential drinking water wells for PFAS due to concerns over the possible migration of PFAS from the House Street Disposal Site…

On information and belief, Wolverine has offered bottled water to all residents whose wells it has sampled for PFAS. In addition, as of January 8, 2018, Wolverine has installed 90 point-of-use filtration systems and 410 point-of-entry filtration systems based on PFAS sampling results. Wolverine has also begun a remedial investigation of the House Street Disposal Site groundwater plume to define the horizontal and vertical extent of PFAS contamination as well as potential PFAS impacts to surface waters…

As of January 8, 2018, Wolverine has sampled 549 residential wells forPFAS in association with locations in Kent County, other than the Rockford Tannery and the House Street Disposal Site, where Wolverine tannery wastes may have been disposed and released PFAS into the environment.

Rockford Citizen Science group Concerned Citizens for Responsible Remediation of Rockford (CCRR) contacted Michigan Dept. of Environmental Quality with concerns about Wolverine Worldwide waste dump. Wolverine Worldwide voluntarily paid for and conducted testing with DEQ oversight.

Township Board voted to approve $400k in emergency funds to upgrade water treatment to remove PFAS in December of 2017.

Kent County Health Department is launching a large cancer cluster study focused on homes located on House Street NE, as well as two other possible Wolverine Worldwide dump sites: 12 Mile Road NE near White Pine Trail (north of Rockford) and Boulder Creek Golf Club near Cannonsburg Road NE (south of Rockford). Study will include examination of cancer rates for the last 25 years and a survey to send to current residents.


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Full citations are available on the second page of the full contamination site tracker. We ask for your additions, changes, questions and comments be sent to pfasproject@gmail.com.

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