Wolverine Remains Committed to the Community During Litigation Process

Wolverine Worldwide would like to underscore its commitment to developing long-term groundwater water solutions for the community.  We’ve said from the start that we plan to see this issue through to the end, and our goal continues to be providing the residents of our hometown the confidence they deserve in their water.  We believe our voluntary and diligent actions to date are evidence to our past and on-going efforts to “do the right thing.”

These actions include providing water to residents as they wait for test results, paying for more than 1,500 groundwater tests, installing over 70 monitoring wells, and installing more than 500 whole-home filters – the vast majority of which are in homes with non-detects for PFOA/PFAS or with levels well below the Michigan criteria and federal advisories of 70 ppt for PFOA/PFOS.  In addition, we continue to work diligently with local, state and federal regulators, and recently announced that we’ve pledged $40 million towards our continuing efforts to address these issues for our community and our friends, families, and neighbors who live here.

At the same time, we’re entering a new chapter, and we are forced to defend ourselves in various legal proceedings.  While we intend to remain a good partner and corporate citizen, and ultimately to be a part of the solution to the issues facing our community, we will simultaneously protect and vigorously defend Wolverine against these lawsuits.  For a company that has been around for over 140 years and both a leader and contributor to this community, no one should expect anything less from us.

The bottom line is that many of the allegations made by plaintiffs’ attorneys in the state court lawsuits are misleading and simply not supported by the facts.  There is no imminent danger to the health of anyone involved in these lawsuits, and the vast majority of these plaintiffs had safe drinking water even before Wolverine voluntarily provided them with alternate water solutions.  Those that exceeded the Michigan criteria and federal advisories of 70 ppt for PFOA/PFOS have all been provided bottled water and/or water filters at Wolverine’s expense.

Wolverine also believes certain issues raised in the federal class action lawsuit should be addressed before proceeding with individual state court lawsuits and, because of this, we have asked the Kent County Circuit Court to put the individual state court lawsuits on hold.

We started this blog to speak directly to the community and to help keep the facts straight, and we intend to do just that.  Any residents with questions are encouraged to contact Wolverine directly at (616) 866-5627 or HouseStreet@wwwinc.com.

We Are Wolverine.

Wolverine to Sample Wolven Northeast Study Area

Wolverine Worldwide will soon begin sampling approximately 100 residential wells for PFOA and PFOS in the Wolven Northeast Study Area – an area newly-established by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) and located in the vicinity of 11 Mile Road between Wolven Avenue and Summit Avenue.  Wolverine and its environmental engineers, Rose & Westra/GZA, began notifying homeowners on February 5, 2018, and sampling is expected to begin later this week.  Homeowners are being provided with bottled water while waiting for their results, which we expect to be available within four weeks after sampling.  We will post a map of this study area on our Maps section when one becomes available.

We will continue to keep the community updated about this issue through our blog at WeAreWolverine.com.

Retesting Results Demonstrate Effectiveness of Whole House Filters

In our ongoing commitment to provide residents confidence in their drinking water, Wolverine Worldwide has been providing whole house filters to residents in the MDEQ-defined House Street, Jewell, and Wolven Study Areas that have confirmed test results with any detection of PFOA or PFOS. While the extent of any impacted area has not been determined, and sources are still being identified, we remain committed to the community and doing what we believe to be the right thing for our friends, family and neighbors.

To date, Wolverine has paid for the installation, testing, and maintenance of approximately 460 whole house filters, and additional installations are taking place every week. Last year, Wolverine selected the Culligan/Calgon filtration system, which relies on dual canister granular activated carbon (“GAC”) adsorption. This system has been demonstrated to effectively remove PFOA, PFOS, and other PFAS, and ensures that these compounds are not returned to the environment. The Culligan/Calgon filtration system has been used to treat water for PFAS in over 1,000 homes around the country. More information on the Culligan/Calgon filtration system can be found here.

In late November, Wolverine provided details about the operations and maintenance of the whole house filters, including the timing and process for sampling water after the installation of whole house filters.

We have now received retesting data from over 280 homes, which demonstrates that the whole house filters effectively reduce PFOA/PFOS to levels far below the EPA’s very conservative lifetime health advisory level of 70 ppt. More information about PFOA, PFOS, and this advisory level can be found in our blog post.

In our continuing efforts to share information and be transparent with the community, we wanted to provide some highlights of the retesting results:

  • Homes with the highest concentrations of PFOA/PFOS (over 7,500 ppt), are tested weekly after the whole house filters are installed.  As a result, we have the most data for these homes, and after a brief break-in period, all results for the filtered water are less than 3 ppt for PFOA/PFOS.
  • Homes with PFOA/PFOS concentrations of 1,000-7,499 ppt are tested monthly after the whole house filters are installed, and for these homes the filtered water after the brief break-in period are less than 3 ppt for PFOA/PFOS.
  • Homes with PFOA/PFOS concentrations of 71-1,000 ppt are tested quarterly after the whole house filters are installed, and for these homes the water between the two carbon canisters ranges from non-detect to less than 10 ppt for PFOA/PFOS.  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.

All retesting results either have been or are in the process of being communicated to homeowners and the MDEQ. For those who have not yet received retesting results, it can take up to five weeks to receive them from the laboratory, so we appreciate the community’s patience during this process.

We will continue to keep the community updated about these results and this issue through our blog at WeAreWolverine.com. Any residents with questions are encouraged to contact us directly at (616) 866-5627 of HouseStreet@wwwinc.com