Update on Tannery Work Plan

Earlier this month we submitted an Addendum to our Response Activity Plan (RAP) for the design and installation of a remediation system intended to prevent groundwater from impacting the Rogue River at our former Tannery property in Rockford.  The Addendum proposes design and system changes to the RAP that we submitted on March 31, 2022.

In April and May, after EGLE approved the RAP, we performed extraction well performance testing at the property, also known as pump testing.  Those pump tests showed that our initial system plan and design, calling for 22 extraction wells on the property, likely would not function as intended and meet the performance standards for the system. 

Based on these pump test results, we determined modifications to our EGLE-approved design were needed.  However, designing those modifications would take time, and installing the modified system would alter the timeline from the one we proposed in our initial RAP. 

Rather than proceed with installing an approved but potentially ineffective system on schedule, we discussed the results of our pump tests with EGLE and the impact those results could have on system design and timing.  On September 27, we proposed making improvements to the system and committed to submitting a revised RAP to make sure the system we install is as effective as possible given the new information available to us from the pump tests.

Our RAP Addendum proposes to revise the groundwater interceptor system by utilizing groundwater collection trenches plus extraction wells.  Our proposal to install over 2,000 feet of groundwater collection trenches and paired extraction wells is a larger project than initially designed, and we believe it will provide the most effective means of preventing groundwater from reaching the Rogue River. 

Designing, installing, and tuning a groundwater extraction system is an iterative, complex process.  We know there will need to be further adjustments along the way, but we want to do everything we can to do it well the first time.  So, we have decided to proceed in phases, first by installing the trenches and extraction wells and testing them for efficacy while using a temporary treatment system.  Assuming that system works as intended, we would then construct a more permanent treatment building. 

These system design and schedule impacts are included in detail in the RAP Addendum, specifically on pages 22-24. Groundwater treatment will begin upon completion of Phase One of the RAP Addendum schedule, which is projected for Spring of 2024.  This 8-month difference from the projected groundwater treatment date of the March 31, 2022 RAP accounts for the significant aquifer evaluation and the major design and construction changes of the interceptor system.  The extensive, 2,000 linear foot trench and capture well system will be constructed expeditiously to meet a similar construction timeframe as the extraction well network.  Groundwater treatment and control of PFAS will begin as soon as construction and permits allow and will continue throughout the Performance Monitoring period while the final on-Site treatment system and building are refined and completed.

Update on House Street Work Plan

On May 26, 2022, we submitted a Work Plan for the final remedy for our House Street Property.   We proposed installing three separate engineered caps that will cover approximately 27 acres of the House Street property and help prevent the infiltration of PFAS into groundwater.  EGLE approved our Work Plan on October 18, 2022, and we immediately got to work.

So far, we are moving ahead of schedule. We have already applied for the permits we will need clear vegetation at the property, and we expect to begin clearing as early as January 2023.  We will provide bid documents to bidders by March 2, 2023, and we still expect construction of the caps to begin by Fall 2023. A detailed construction schedule will be determined as part of the contractor bidding process, but the overall project is still expected to take at least three years to complete. We have notified neighbors near the property about the project schedule and will continue to provide regular updates as work progresses and before significant site activities.

We will continue keeping the community informed through updates on this blog, www.WeAreWolverine.com, and through information posted at kiosks and in other locations accessible to the public.  As always, residents with questions or feedback are encouraged to contact Wolverine Worldwide directly at HouseStreet@wwwinc.com or (616) 866-5627.

Wolverine Worldwide Receives Approval on House Street Work Plan

On May 26, 2022, Wolverine Worldwide submitted a Work Plan for Final Remedy (Work Plan) for its property on House Street to Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE).  The Work Plan proposed to install three separate engineered caps that will cover approximately 27 acres of the House Street property and help prevent the infiltration of PFAS into groundwater.

This week, EGLE issued a letter notifying Wolverine that it has approved the Work Plan with conditions. Now that the Work Plan has been approved, construction activities can commence, with the overall project still expected to take at least three years to complete.  A detailed schedule will be determined as part of the contractor bidding process, but the following summary is what we currently anticipate for pre-construction activities:  

·         Permit submittals by January 31, 2023.

·         Vegetation clearing will begin within 30 days of receipt of permits from the governing agency(ies).  

·         Bid documents provided to potential bidders by March 2, 2023. 

·         Bid submittals due by May 1, 2023.

·         Contract award to contractor by July 30, 2023. 

·         Construction-phase work will begin by October 28, 2023.    

We will continue keeping the community informed about this work, including the cap construction at our House Street property, through regular updates on this blog, www.WeAreWolverine.com, and through information posted at kiosks and in other locations accessible to the public. As always, residents with questions or feedback are encouraged to contact Wolverine Worldwide directly at HouseStreet@wwwinc.com or (616) 866-5627.

Wolverine Worldwide Submits Work Plan for Caps on House Street Property

On April 26, Wolverine Worldwide submitted a comprehensive Final Remedy Work Plan (the “Work Plan”) to the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE), outlining the next steps to address PFAS at our House Street property.  This Work Plan expands on our Feasibility Study that EGLE approved in 2021, after receiving feedback and input from community members and local officials.

The primary feature of the Work Plan and Feasibility Study is the construction of three separate engineered caps that will cover approximately 27 acres of the property, which was a State of Michigan licensed and regulated disposal site from the mid-1960s through 1978 and was used by Wolverine until 1970.

Our Work Plan includes detailed sections on engineering, construction and monitoring, along with supporting figures, charts and graphs. It is available for your review by clicking HERE, and you can review the Feasibility Study by clicking HERE.

After the Work Plan is approved, we expect that it will take two or three months to obtain permits and select contractors. We estimate construction will then take about 30 months to complete, with the final schedule determined by the approved contractors. The hours of operation will follow Plainfield Township ordinances and be limited to between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

The first steps after construction commences will include clearing vegetation and trees from approximately 30 acres of the property. The material will be safely processed, retained on-site, and placed beneath the constructed caps. Once clearing is complete, the contractors will construct the caps and associated improvements on the property.

Existing soil from the property will be used as much as possible, but the project will require bringing in additional soil and topsoil, along with other materials like sub-base stone, riprap, geotextile, capping membrane, and gas vent piping. During construction, air and dust will be monitored at the property boundaries and stormwater and soil will be properly managed, in accordance with best practices and EGLE oversight. 

An aerial view rendering that shows what the House Street property will generally look like after construction is complete and new vegetation has been planted and taken root is depicted below:

This Work Plan at our House Street property is just one part of our ongoing efforts to address PFAS in the area, as outlined in the Consent Decree agreed to between Wolverine and EGLE in 2020.

We will continue keeping the community informed about this work, including the cap construction at our House Street property, through regular updates on this blog, www.WeAreWolverine.com, and through information posted at kiosks and in other locations accessible to the public. As always, residents with questions or feedback are encouraged to contact Wolverine Worldwide directly at HouseStreet@wwwinc.com or (616) 866-5627.

Wolverine Worldwide Provides Additional Details on Groundwater Filtration System for Former Tannery Property

Wolverine Worldwide recently submitted a Response Activity Plan outlining additional details on the groundwater filtration system we have been designing and installing at our former Tannery property in Rockford.  The goal of this system is to intercept and filter groundwater underneath the property, preventing PFAS from flowing into the neighboring Rogue River.  The system builds on extensive testing performed over the last few years, which is summarized in reports here and here.

Our plan includes the installation of 19 extraction wells on the former Tannery property – 13 on the south side of Rum Creek and six on the north side of Rum Creek (see well locations on the map below).  Three of these wells have already been installed, along with nine monitoring wells.  The other extraction wells will be installed after approval of the plan.  This well network will capture groundwater underneath the property, which currently flows naturally into the river, while keeping the remaining water table balanced.

Once the groundwater is extracted, it will be sent to a small treatment building to be constructed on the northern edge of the property.  There, the groundwater will be filtered using granular activated carbon (GAC), which has been proven to be highly effective at removing PFAS. The filtered water will be tested regularly to verify the effectiveness of the system, and the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (“EGLE”) will receive regular testing reports as part of its oversight of the system.

After the groundwater has been extracted and filtered for PFAS, it will be discharged to the Rogue River where it would have naturally flowed.  This will require a permit from EGLE, and until that time, the system can operate on a limited basis by discharging treated water to the North Kent Sewer Authority.

EGLE held a public meeting on May 5 to review and receive public comments on the groundwater filtration system detailed in our Response Activity Plan, and is accepting written public comments through May 22.  For more information, please click here to review the full plan.

This groundwater filtration system is only one part of our remediation work on this property, where we also completed a significant excavation and riverbank restoration project in 2019 and 2020.  For more details on that project, please click here and here, and for more details on our other remediation work in the area, please click here.

We will continue keeping the community informed through regular updates on this blog, www.WeAreWolverine.com, and through information posted at kiosks and in other locations accessible to the public.  As always, residents with questions or feedback are encouraged to contact Wolverine Worldwide directly at HouseStreet@wwwinc.com or (616) 866-5627.


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