Wolverine Worldwide Submits Comprehensive PFAS Remediation Plan for House Street Property

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.

WOLVERINE WORLDWIDE HOUSE STREET FEASIBILITY STUDY FAQs

WOLVERINE WORLDWIDE FEASIBILITY STUDY

WOLVERINE WORLDWIDE PHYTO-CAP RENDERING

House Street Feasibility Study

Wolverine Worldwide is preparing a Feasibility Study to evaluate options and next steps for our House Street property. This process is part of the comprehensive PFAS remediation plan agreed to last year in the Consent Decree between Wolverine Worldwide, the State of Michigan, and Plainfield and Algoma Townships.

As part of our work on the Feasibility Study, we have met with neighbors on and around House Street, as well as Plainfield Township officials, EGLE staff, and the Community Advisory Group.  During these meetings, we shared information about an option to preserve our heavily wooded property and enhance it with additional trees and recreational trails. This nature preserve option would also include scientifically proven methods to accomplish environmental remediation in accordance with the Consent Decree.

To learn more about the Feasibility Study for our House Street property, including the nature preserve option outlined above, please review these slides

We will be submitting the Feasibility Study to EGLE on February 19, 2021.  Between now and then, we will be evaluating the feedback already received and any additional feedback that we receive in the next couple of weeks.

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.

White Pine Trail to be Temporarily Re-Routed Next Week Due to Tree Planting at Former Tannery

Since completing excavation work earlier this year at the site of its former Tannery in Rockford, Wolverine has been placing and grading clean topsoil, re-seeding the banks of the Rogue River with native grasses and flowers, installing erosion control devices, and repaving the White Pine Trail. For pictures and more details on this restoration work, please click here and here, and see some recent pictures at the end of this post.

Wolverine will complete this work next week by planting approximately 70 trees and shrubs along the banks of the Rogue River and adjacent to the White Pine Trail. Planting locations are shown on the approved plans, and species include Sugar Maple, Hackberry, White Pine, Kentucky Coffeetree, Swamp White Oak, Burr Oak, Red Oak, Black Tupelo, Buttonbush, Silky Dogwood, and American Planetree.

To accomplish these plantings, it will be necessary to temporarily re-route the White Pine Trail along the length of the Tannery property. We expect this to commence on Monday, October 12, and last for approximately seven to ten days. During this time, we anticipate this portion of the trail being re-routed from approximately 8:00 am through 5:00 pm each weekday, as shown in red on this map.

Wolverine and its contractors will strive to limit the impact of this work on neighboring residents, surrounding businesses, and the broader community. We will also continue keeping the community informed through regular updates on our blog, www.WeAreWolverine.com, and through information at kiosks and in other locations accessible to the public.

As always, residents with questions are encouraged to contact Wolverine directly at HouseStreet@wwwinc.com or (616) 866-5627.

Update on Restoration Work at Former Tannery

Over the past two months, Wolverine Worldwide has been performing restoration work at the site of its former Tannery in Rockford. This has included placing and grading clean topsoil, replanting the banks of the Rogue River with native grasses and flowers, repaving the White Pine Trail, and installing erosion controls. Several photographs of the recent work are included at the end of this post.

For complete details on the grasses and wildflowers we recently planted, and the shrubs and trees we plan to plant this fall, please click here for the approved restoration plans. In addition, we wanted to share some statistics and insights gathered by the experienced landscape architects and wetlands scientists who helped us develop and implement the plans:

Statistics

  • Repaved approximately 1,800 linear feet of the White Pine Trail with new asphalt
  • Imported and spread approximately 2,800 cubic yards of clean topsoil
  • Planted over 750 pounds of grass and wildflower seed
  • Planted 9,100 native grass and flower seedlings along the banks of the Rogue River
  • Planning to plant over 50 trees this fall

Insights

  • All the new plants along the riverbank are native to this area and will create significant wildlife pollinator habitats.
  • All the new plants along the banks of the riverbank are pollinated by some type of insect, not by wind deposition. This helps reduce hay fever, asthma, and itchy eyes.
  • 33 different species of native plants were planted along the riverbank, split into several planting zones based on proximity to the river.
  • Native plants spend their lives growing roots, which can reach anywhere from 5 to 20 feet deep.  Each plant has a different root architecture so that they do not compete for moisture and nutrients.
  • In time, the plants along the riverbank will together create over one million miles worth of roots.

These restoration activities are part of the remediation agreed upon by Wolverine and the EPA, and follow the excavation work Wolverine completed this year.  We are committed to 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 are encouraged to contact Wolverine directly at HouseStreet@wwwinc.com or (616) 866-5627.

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