Environmental Investigation Update

For the past several years Wolverine Worldwide has been conducting environmental investigation and remediation work in northern Kent County related to PFAS, a family of chemicals that were used in Scotchgard and a variety of other industrial and consumer products. We have used this blog to provide updates on our work, which includes environmental remediation at our House Street property, installing a groundwater interception system at our former tannery property, funding a municipal water system expansion, and sampling soil, groundwater, and pore water.

We recently began some additional environmental investigation work in the area, at our Rockford headquarters and at a former warehouse across the street that now houses footwear repair and warranty operations. Earlier this year a purchaser of property to the south of the warehouse conducted a routine prepurchase inspection and identified PFAS in shallow groundwater at that property.  Upon receiving those results the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) began sampling nearby residential wells for PFAS, and we began a focused investigation at our headquarters and warehouse properties.

We previously sampled groundwater at our headquarters property for PFAS and the results were all below criteria. We are now conducting additional PFAS sampling on that property and also sampling the warehouse property. We prepared the plan for this expanded work in consultation with EGLE, and are awaiting sampling results.  The data will be used to help inform ongoing investigation efforts in the area, and when we receive the results we will coordinate with EGLE to determine what, if any, next steps are appropriate.

In addition to this groundwater sampling, we have also engaged our environmental consultant to review records and files and perform additional onsite investigation work at our properties.  Included in this work is a review of historic permits issued by EGLE to occasionally dredge sediment from the Rogue River in front of our former tannery to ensure proper operation of the water intake pipes. Pursuant to these State-issued permits, some of the dredged sediment was placed at the headquarters property in the 1980s and early 2000s. We are actively working to identify and delineate the sediment, and will coordinate with EGLE to determine any next steps.

We will continue to use this blog to keep the community informed as our investigation and related work progresses in the weeks and months ahead.  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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