Proposal combines multiple remediation methods while preserving significant greenspace that complements the area’s rural character
Wolverine Worldwide recently submitted a Feasibility Study to Michigan’s Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (“EGLE”), outlining a comprehensive plan to address PFAS at our House Street property.
This Feasibility Study and the remediation of our House Street property is just one part of our efforts to address PFAS in the area. Other elements include the extension of municipal water to over 1,000 properties that is currently underway in Plainfield and Algoma Townships, remediation of our former Tannery property in Rockford, and other ongoing remediation efforts outlined in the Consent Decree agreed to between Wolverine and EGLE last year.
Our plan for House Street combines two remediation methods to remove PFAS from the ground and further reduce the impact of PFAS on groundwater. The first method, phytoremediation, is a process where the roots of trees planted on the property will pull PFAS out of the ground over time. The second method, strategic capping, involves installing specially engineered membranes over the thickest areas of PFAS, preventing that PFAS from getting into the groundwater.
This “Phyto-Cap” plan not only addresses the remediation objectives outlined in the Consent Decree, but it also has the added benefit of preserving a 76-acre greenspace in the middle of a rural residential area. Our property would be enhanced by the planting of up to 4,000 new phytoremediation trees, and there is a possibility, either now or in the future, of creating limited use and controlled access nature trails or other recreational features.
Our plan was informed by feedback and suggestions from neighboring residents, community groups, Plainfield Township officials, EGLE, and others we consulted during the preparation of the Feasibility Study. These important conversations resulted in several adjustments to the original concept, including:
- Increasing the number of phytoremediation trees and the strategic cap size
- Adding permanent, attractive gates at the entrances to the property to continue controlling and limiting public access
- Adding trees in strategic locations to provide enhanced screening and privacy for neighboring residents
- Removing a proposed parking lot
- Removing proposed trail loops, while preserving the possibility of limited use nature trails in the future
Our proposal now goes to EGLE for evaluation under the objectives set forth in the Consent Decree. If approved, construction could be completed in 12-18 months with minimal disruption to the surrounding area.
If EGLE does not approve our Phyto-Cap proposal, then the final remedy identified in the Consent Decree is the construction of a surface cap of approximately 30 acres. This option would not remove PFAS from the ground like the Phyto-Cap option, however, and would require the complete and permanent deforestation of over 30 acres of the property. In addition, construction would take approximately 30 months and be more disruptive to the surrounding area.
Addressing the remediation objectives under the Consent Decree will be a long-term process. We believe the Phyto-Cap plan will achieve that while also benefitting the community with a green and sustainable option for our House Street property. We appreciate the valuable feedback provided by community members, local officials, and others as we finalized this plan.
For more information, please see the Feasibility Study, FAQs, and Phyto-Cap rendering linked below.