Officials confirmed Monday that the number of dump sites being checked for PFAS contamination has risen to 75.
State Department of Environmental Quality officials confirmed 18 additional sites were being investigated for PFAS contamination in Kent County - up from the previous count of 57 - citing tips provided by concerned residents. The additional sites include a deep ravine about 1,000 feet from House Street NE, where officials found partially exposed barrels and mounds of moss covered leather. In response, Wolverine Worldwide stated it would be testing 175 wells in the Wolven area for PFAS between 10 Mile Road and 11 Mile Road.
Wood TV 8 is also reporting that testing of a residence on Elstner Ave. revealed a high level of PFAS. According to reports, several of the sites being investigated include farmland where the sludge dumped by Wolverine was used as fertilizer.
Officials have not disclosed the exact location of the private well, but did confirm that the water showed a combined PFAS level of 2,430 parts-per-trillion. The Environmental Protection Agency’s advisory limit for drinking water containing PFAS is set at 70 parts-per-trillion (PPT). However, it may be worth noting that many states have adopted much lower acceptable safety levels. Vermont’s advisory limit is 20 PPT and in New Jersey the limit is 14 PPT.
Concerns over groundwater contamination became widespread earlier this year when it was revealed that shoe manufacturer Wolverine Worldwide disposed of chemicals containing PFAS in unprotected dump sites scattered around Kent County in the 1960s and 1970s. The chemicals, which are especially resistant to heat, water, and chemical breakdown, were once used in the waterproofing agent known as Scotchgard before being banned due to health concerns. It is believed that the chemicals can contribute to a number of potentially life-threatening complications, including increased risk of fibromyalgia, suppressed immune systems, thyroid problems, and certain types of cancer.
If you are concerned that your home’s well may be contaminated by PFAS, officials recommend contacting the Michigan Department of Environmental Assistance Center at 1-800-662-9278. Affected residents who would like to discuss their legal options can submit the contact form below to be connected with an attorney handling the ongoing litigation.