Wolverine Worldwide to Conduct Cleanup Work at Former Tannery Site

Wolverine operated a tannery in downtown Rockford from the early 1890s until it was closed in 2009. The facility was then decommissioned and demolished, and environmental testing was conducted under EPA and MDEQ supervision. Wolverine has been working diligently with regulators during the past two years to conduct additional testing at the former tannery. These efforts have included more than 900 groundwater, surface water, pore water, sediment, soil, and vapor gas samples, along with the  installation of over 45 monitoring wells and more than 150 soil borings. Results of this testing were posted in November 2017 and March 2019.

This fall, based on the testing completed to-date, Wolverine will be excavating and removing certain sediments, soils, leather scraps, and hides from the former tannery property, the White Pine Trail, and the banks of the Rogue River. The work is depicted on the maps shown below and here, and is expected to include:

  • Excavation of sediments from two areas along the Rogue River
  • Excavation of soils from four locations south of Rum Creek
  • Excavation of soils, leather scraps, and hides from two areas north of Rum Creek
  • Backfilling excavation areas and stabilizing/restoring the banks of the Rogue River as needed, including plantings in the Spring

Wolverine is currently finalizing the selection of a contractor, obtaining permits, and preparing revised work plans and schedules for review and approval by the EPA, which will be on-site overseeing the work. We expect to begin in early October, with work continuing through the rest of the year. We will share a detailed schedule of all phases of the work once it has been finalized and approved.

As part of this cleanup and restoration, it will be necessary to temporarily close the White Pine Trail along the length of the former tannery property. During this closure, trail traffic will be rerouted through downtown Rockford as it has in the past, and part of the trail will be resurfaced. The timing and specific plans for this re-route are being finalized now and will be shared with the public as soon as possible.

During the course of the work, Wolverine and its contractors will strive to limit impacts on neighboring residents, surrounding businesses, and the broader community. Truck traffic routes will be posted and managed carefully, the site will be fenced, wash stations will be used for trucks and equipment leaving the site, and EPA-approved plans and procedures for air monitoring and health and safety will be in effect.

Wolverine will also strive to keep the community informed as the work progresses in the weeks and months ahead. Regular progress updates with more detailed information will be posted to Wolverine’s blog, www.WeAreWolverine.com, and information will also be available at kiosks and in other locations accessible to the public. In addition, residents with questions are encouraged to contact Wolverine directly at HouseStreet@wwwinc.com or (616) 866-5627.