Wolverine Worldwide Provides Additional Details on Groundwater Filtration System for Former Tannery Property

Wolverine Worldwide recently submitted a Response Activity Plan outlining additional details on the groundwater filtration system we have been designing and installing at our former Tannery property in Rockford.  The goal of this system is to intercept and filter groundwater underneath the property, preventing PFAS from flowing into the neighboring Rogue River.  The system builds on extensive testing performed over the last few years, which is summarized in reports here and here.

Our plan includes the installation of 19 extraction wells on the former Tannery property – 13 on the south side of Rum Creek and six on the north side of Rum Creek (see well locations on the map below).  Three of these wells have already been installed, along with nine monitoring wells.  The other extraction wells will be installed after approval of the plan.  This well network will capture groundwater underneath the property, which currently flows naturally into the river, while keeping the remaining water table balanced.

Once the groundwater is extracted, it will be sent to a small treatment building to be constructed on the northern edge of the property.  There, the groundwater will be filtered using granular activated carbon (GAC), which has been proven to be highly effective at removing PFAS. The filtered water will be tested regularly to verify the effectiveness of the system, and the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (“EGLE”) will receive regular testing reports as part of its oversight of the system.

After the groundwater has been extracted and filtered for PFAS, it will be discharged to the Rogue River where it would have naturally flowed.  This will require a permit from EGLE, and until that time, the system can operate on a limited basis by discharging treated water to the North Kent Sewer Authority.

EGLE held a public meeting on May 5 to review and receive public comments on the groundwater filtration system detailed in our Response Activity Plan, and is accepting written public comments through May 22.  For more information, please click here to review the full plan.

This groundwater filtration system is only one part of our remediation work on this property, where we also completed a significant excavation and riverbank restoration project in 2019 and 2020.  For more details on that project, please click here and here, and for more details on our other remediation work in the area, please click here.

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.

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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.




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.