Another tannery waste dump site found in western Michigan

Posted at 6:42 AM, Oct 17, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-17 21:31:55-04
BELMONT, Mich.  — Another leather tannery waste dump site has been found in the backyard of a local family's home, prompting worries that chemical-laced debris may be in a wider area than previously known. Tedd Ryfiak, who lives near a former Wolverine World Wide dump site on House St. NE, says he's found waste including two rusty metal drums on his property and he's concerned there may be more.Wolverine said Monday it wasn't aware of the waste at Ryfiak's property but the company would remove it.

Ryfiak and his ex-wife, Beatriz are raising their three kids at the home on House St. NE. After having their well tested, they've found dangerously high levels of PFAS chemicals once used to scotchguard shoes.

The waste is in addition to two already known illegal dump sites in the area.

Waste sludge from the Rockford-based global footwear company's tannery was dumped into unlined trenches and lagoons during the 1960s. The waste is blamed for high levels of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, in area groundwater.

The family has signed on as one of at least 75 clients at Varnum Law, threatening legal action against Wolverine. They're demanding clean drinking water and long-term medical monitoring.

The Associated Press contributed to this report