Wolverine Worldwide has been working diligently with regulators to collect data and develop long-term water solutions for our community and we have promised to keep you informed about our ongoing efforts.
Over the past year, Wolverine has conducted extensive testing at its former House Street disposal area in Plainfield Township, a state-licensed disposal site where waste from Wolverine’s leather tanning operations was disposed of during the 1960’s and until 1970. This testing included taking many waste and soil samples, drilling 12 on-site monitoring wells, drilling 18 off-site monitoring wells, and taking more than 25 groundwater samples from the monitoring wells.
In February, Wolverine submitted a report to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) including preliminary findings from this testing. The report Wolverine submitted, known as a “Conceptual Site Model” or “CSM,” provides an analysis of the compounds present in the waste, soil, and groundwater samples taken at the House Street site. To date, this testing suggests that with the exception of PFAS compounds like PFOA and PFOS, metals and compounds in tannery waste disposed of at the House Street site are not migrating into soil or groundwater at unacceptable levels.
As noted by Mark Westra of Rose & Westra, a division of GZA, “Sampling performed for the Conceptual Site Model identified tannery waste as expected, containing copper, lead, chromium, mercury, zinc, PFOA, PFOS and other compounds. While additional investigation is pending, soil samples collected underneath the waste to date did not contain any non-PFAS compounds at concentrations greater than Michigan’s generic cleanup criteria for soil, suggesting that the non-PFAS compounds are not leaching significantly from the waste. In addition, materials typically associated with tanning operations, such as chromium, were not detected in groundwater at the House Street site.”
In addition to the testing Wolverine has done at the House Street disposal area, MDEQ has tested groundwater at surrounding properties for metals and other non-PFAS compounds, and received no results above state and/or federal guidelines. This is further evidence that, with the exception of PFAS compounds, tannery waste does not pose a threat to area groundwater, health or the environment.
We will continue working with EPA and MDEQ to analyze this data, and will be collecting additional data in the coming months pursuant to a work plan Wolverine proposed that is currently being reviewed by EPA. We anticipate providing information about the upcoming work on this blog within the next couple of days.
Also, now that MDEQ has completed its analysis and redacted personal information, the preliminary House Street CSM can be found here.
All of these actions announced today underscore how seriously Wolverine is taking this issue and our continued commitment to see it through the end. Residents with questions or concerns are encouraged to contact the Company directly at 616.866.5627 or HouseStreet@wwwinc.com.