Wolverine to Intercept and Treat Groundwater from former Tannery site

As Wolverine Worldwide continues to work with regulatory agencies to monitor our former Tannery site and House Street disposal area, we wanted to update you on our latest efforts to address groundwater issues in our area.

Over the past several months, Wolverine has been developing a plan to intercept and treat groundwater from the former Tannery site that contains PFOA/PFOS, preventing it from reaching Rum Creek or the Rogue River.

We are now working in coordination with MDEQ to expedite this process following a recent test result showing the presence of PFOS in foam in one location in the Rogue RiverThe Kent County Health Department (KCHD) announced the test result today and issued an advisory.  In that advisory, KCHD indicates that people using the river for recreational purposes should avoid ingestion of the foam, but that skin contact does not pose a health risk.

While additional testing will be conducted and sources of PFOS in the river and foam are still being identified, we are doing our part to address it. Wolverine expects that the interception and treatment of groundwater at the former Tannery site will help reduce PFOS levels in this foam.

In water bodies where foam with PFOS is generated, the PFOS is concentrated in the foam and is not reflective of the PFOS level in the underlying river and creek water.  For example, as we shared on our blog last fall, the Rogue River was tested in multiple locations in 2017 and levels ranged from 6.2 – 16.8 ppt for PFOA/PFOS combined.

While not applicable to river water or foam because they are not used for drinking water, the United States Environmental Protection Agency has issued a drinking water lifetime health advisory and the State of Michigan has established drinking water criteria at 70 ppt combined for PFOA/PFOS.  Additional water and foam testing will be conducted in the future in coordination with MDEQ to provide additional data and help identify potential sources.

We are sharing this information because we want residents to know what we know. Our first priority has been and continues to be the health and well-being of the community. We will continue to be proactive and transparent as we work through these issues related to our legacy tannery operations.

Wolverine began closing its tanning operation in Rockford in 2009 through a process monitored by the MDEQ and other government regulators, and we have been working with the MDEQ since then to monitor this site.  We continue to work in collaboration with the MDEQ and other agencies on this issue.  As we develop and deploy this plan and more information becomes available, we will continue to keep our neighbors and the community informed through our blog – www.WeAreWolverine.com

Additional Monitoring Results Demonstrate Continued Effectiveness of Whole House Filters

In our ongoing commitment to provide residents confidence in their drinking water and share information with the community, we are providing the most recent monitoring results for whole house filters installed by Wolverine.

Wolverine summarized the first set of monitoring results in late January, which included results from over 280 homes.  That first group of results demonstrated that the whole house filters effectively reduce PFOA/PFOS to levels far below the EPA’s lifetime health advisory level of 70 ppt.

Wolverine is pleased to report that the latest results are consistent with the earlier results, and continue to demonstrate the effectiveness of the whole house filters.  Wolverine has now collected over 600 monitoring samples from over 500 homes over a period of more than five months.  Some of the highlights of the most recent test results:

  • Samples from homes with the highest concentrations of PFOA/PFOS (over 7,500 ppt) are taken weekly, and the results of the effluent (filtered) water continue to be less than 3 ppt for PFOA/PFOS.
  • Samples from homes with PFOA/PFOS concentrations of 1,000-7,499 ppt are taken monthly, and the results of the effluent (filtered) water continue to be less than 5 ppt for PFOA/PFOS.
  • Samples from homes with PFOA/PFOS concentrations of 71-1,000 ppt are taken quarterly, and the results continue to range from non-detect to less than 8 ppt for PFOA/PFOS.  These results were taken between the two carbon canisters, and the water continues through the second carbon canister of the system for further reduction.
  • Homes with PFOA/PFOS concentrations at or lower than 70 ppt continue to be monitored, and for these homes the water between the two carbon canisters has remained well below 70 ppt for PFOA/PFOS.

To date, Wolverine has paid for the installation, testing, and maintenance of more than 500 whole house filters and 150 point-of-use filters, and additional installations are taking place every week.  Wolverine has also paid for sampling of over 1,500 residential wells, provided bottled water to over 1,200 homes, and installed over 70 monitoring wells.

In late November, Wolverine provided details about the operation and maintenance of the Culligan/Calgon whole house filter systems that Wolverine selected, which have been used to treat water for PFAS in over 1,500 homes around the country and have been demonstrated to effectively remove PFOA, PFOS, and other PFAS, ensuring that these compounds are not returned to the environment.  These filters include at least two granular activated carbon canisters and two sediment filters.  The frequency for carbon canister replacement will be determined based on post-installation testing results, and Culligan will remove and dispose of these canisters when they are replaced.  The sediment filters will be changed by Culligan every four months, and homeowners can place the used filters in their garbage.  Homeowners will be notified by Culligan when either the carbon canisters or sediment filters need to be replaced.

Additional information about this filtration system and a diagram depicting the different filters can be found here.  We will continue to keep the community updated about monitoring results and filter maintenance through our blog at WeAreWolverine.com.  Any residents with questions are encouraged to contact us directly at (616) 866-5627 of HouseStreet@wwwinc.com.

Wolverine Worldwide Releases Test Results From Former Tannery Site, Rogue River & Rum Creek

No Drinking Water at Risk; Experts Say No Health Risk From Swimming or Recreational Contact

Wolverine Worldwide today announced results of the water sampled for testing from its former Tannery site in Rockford. This testing was done to further evaluate the groundwater and surface water – the sources of water sampled at these sites, including the Rogue River and Rum Creek, are not used for drinking water.  The Company has worked closely with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) on this testing, and has already submitted a proposal to the MDEQ outlining next steps to further evaluate the Tannery site.

To read the full press release, click the link below.

Wolverine Worldwide Releases Test Results From Former Tannery Site, Rouge River & Rum Creek

Rogue River Map

Water Test Results Update (Week of November 6)

To maintain transparency and communication with our community, we will be publishing water test results as they become available. We will update the community as more results are received.

  • 292 homeowner well test results have been received to date
  • 270 homeowner well tests have come back below the EPA lifetime drinking water advisory level (70 parts per trillion)
  • 22 homeowner wells have tested above the EPA lifetime drinking water advisory level (70 parts per trillion)

We are still waiting for test results for several wells in the Buffer Zone as well as all of those in the Southeast Expansion Area.

The EPA established a health advisory level for drinking water at 70 parts per trillion for PFOA/PFOS. This advisory level was set for the most sensitive populations including children and pregnant mothers and is based on consuming 2 liters a day for 70 years.

Any residents with questions are encouraged to contact us directly at 616.866.5627 or HouseStreet@wwwinc.com.