ROCKFORD, Mich. – Wolverine Worldwide announced new test results of water near their former tannery in Rockford, Michigan.
The company tested water in the Rogue River and Rum Creek. The water in those locations is not used for drinking.
The company says that groundwater samples taken from existing monitoring wells at the tannery site ranged from a concentration of 12,700 parts-per-trillion to a single high spot of 490,000 parts-per-trillion for PFOA and PFOS. The Environment Protection Agency says any water over 70 ppt has a lifetime drinking water advisory. The company says that there is no health risk to people having recreational contact with the waters, such as swimming or kayaking.
The company says that the levels are in the same range today as they were in 2011. The tannery closed in 2009.
PFOA and PFOS are compounds known as per- and poly-fluorinated substances that are used in many products, including Teflon, Gortex, clothing, shoes, carpeting and preventative stain treatments. Wolverine used 3M Scotchgard in their leather manufacturing process at the tannery, which included the PFOAs.
“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 legacy issues,” said Chris Hufnagel, senior vice president of strategy for Wolverine Worldwide in a press release. “We are sharing this information because we want residents to know what we know. We continue to work in collaboration with the MDEQ and other agencies on this issue and as we conduct further evaluation and receive additional information, we will notify our neighbors and the community.”
The company used an area in the Belmont area to dump materials from the tannery for several years. At the time, the dumping of such materials was legal and homes were not in the immediate area. Recently, residents in the area have had their wells tested which have shown high levels of the PFOAs.