Additional Testing to Begin at Former Tannery Site

Wolverine Worldwide has been working diligently with regulators to collect data and develop long-term water solutions for our community, and we promised to keep you informed about our ongoing efforts.

Consistent with this commitment, we want to tell you about additional groundwater, surface water, sediment and soil sampling that will take place over the next few months at our former tannery in Rockford.  Wolverine operated the tannery from the early 1900s until it was closed in 2009, then decommissioned beginning in 2010 under agency supervision.

Wolverine has already conducted testing at the former tannery site, including many soil samples, drilling 42 on-site monitoring wells, and taking more than 165 groundwater samples from the monitoring wells.  Wolverine reported preliminary results from this earlier testing in our blog in November.

The upcoming work is being performed by Wolverine and its consultants pursuant to work plans submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ).

Work kicked off this week with site preparation activities and will take place primarily over the next three months, with a second round of testing this fall.  The work will be overseen by the EPA and MDEQ.  We anticipate that approximately 100 soil samples, 100 groundwater samples, 14 surface water samples and 35 to 70 sediment samples will be taken and assessed for organic compounds, metals, PFAS, and other compounds.  Up to 10 additional monitoring wells may also be added to the site.

Over the next three months, you may see trucks, work crews, warning signs and equipment at the site, which will be fenced off for the duration of the work.  There will also be some work in the White Pine Trail for approximately a week.  We will attempt to complete this work with as little disruption as possible.

In addition, even while testing is still taking place, Wolverine is already moving forward with a plan announced earlier this month to intercept and treat groundwater from the former Tannery site that contains PFOA/PFOS to prevent it from reaching Rum Creek or the Rogue River.  Wolverine expects that the interception and treatment of groundwater at the former tannery site will help reduce PFOA/PFOS levels and is working with MDEQ to develop that plan.

The efforts announced today are examples of Wolverine’s commitment to work diligently with regulators, our neighbors and the surrounding community to address groundwater issues.  Residents with questions or concerns are encouraged to visit our blog at www.WeAreWolverine.com, or to contact the Company directly at 616.866.5627 or HouseStreet@wwwinc.com.

Additional Testing to Begin at Former House Street Disposal Area

Wolverine Worldwide has been working diligently with regulators to collect data and develop long-term water solutions for our community, and we promised to keep you informed about our ongoing efforts.  Consistent with this commitment, we want to tell you about additional groundwater and soil sampling that will be taking place over the next few months at our former state-licensed House Street disposal area.  This was a location where byproducts from Wolverine’s leather tanning operations were disposed of during the 1960s and until 1970.

Wolverine has already conducted extensive testing at the House Street disposal area, including 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.  Wolverine posted preliminary results from this earlier testing on its blog.

The upcoming work is being performed by Wolverine and its consultants pursuant to a work plan that was submitted by Wolverine and approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  It will kick off this week with site preparation activities, and take place primarily over the next two months with a second round of testing this fall.  The work will be overseen by the EPA and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), and we anticipate that as many as 250 soil samples, 50 groundwater samples, and also soil gas samples will be taken and assessed for organic compounds, metals, PFAS, and other compounds.

Residents near the House Street site have been notified about this work, and over this time you may see trucks, work crews, warning signs and equipment at the House Street site.  We will attempt to complete this work with as little impact on and disruption to the surrounding neighbors as possible.

The upcoming testing is another example of the Company’s commitment to work diligently with regulators and the community to address groundwater issues.  We anticipate implementing a work plan at Wolverine’s former tannery site this summer as well, and will share additional details about that work on this blog as they are available.  Residents with questions or concerns are encouraged to visit our blog at www.WeAreWolverine.com, or to contact the Company directly at 616.866.5627 or HouseStreet@wwwinc.com.

Wolverine Worldwide Releases Preliminary Testing on House Street Disposal Area

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.

Wolven Avenue Sampling Update

Beginning this week, Wolverine will be sampling approximately 175 wells for PFAS in the vicinity of Wolven Avenue between 10 Mile and 11 Mile Roads.  The sampling will be conducted by Rose & Westra/GZA, Wolverine’s environmental engineers.

This sampling is being conducted because the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) received reports that liquid tannery byproducts were used by a few farmers in this area in the 1950s or 1960s.  Reports indicate that these farmers applied the byproducts to their fields, and that they valued the lime content in particular as a fertilizer.  According to experts, soil that has been amended with liquid tannery byproducts poses no health impacts to humans or animals, including vegetation that may have been grown in this type of soil.

Wolverine began notifying homeowners on November 13, 2017, and sampling is expected to begin later this week.  All homeowners in this area are being provided with bottled water while waiting for their results, which we expect to be available within four weeks after sampling.

Wolverine continues to work with the MDEQ to identify and test possible sites. Every resident whose water is being tested has a water solution until they have answers.  While the science is not conclusive, we’re working proactively to develop solutions, share information with you, and restore our community’s confidence in its drinking water.