Plainfield Township residents demand answers from officials on contaminated water

Posted at 10:44 PM, Nov 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-27 22:44:36-05

PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. -- Over 100 people showed up at Plainfield Township's board meeting on Monday night to express concerns and demand answers from the board about reported levels of PFAs in their water supply.

Water quality has been at the forefront of people's minds in Kent County as information surfaced about dumping that shoemaker Wolverine Worldwide did decades ago, potentially contaminating water in several neighborhoods with cancer-causing contaminants called PFAs.

A Facebook group called "Demand Action from Plainfield Township Regarding Unsafe Drinking Water" gained over 1,400 members in one week. Many concerned residents in the group hope to make waves with their numbers.

“I stand here before you an injured father as a direct consequence of your failure to uphold your oaths of office," resident Travis Brown said to the board during the meeting. "Not only do you have a legal responsibility to inform the public, you have a moral responsibility."

Officials at Monday night's meeting told residents they are actively working to solve the contamination problem.

“When contamination was first found, we had discussions with the owner of the landfill and actually a lawsuit with the owner of the landfill, and at that time they put in a filtering system to pull those chemicals out," Superintendent Cameron Van Wyngarden said in regard to how the township has handled contamination in the past.

Officials added that Wolverine Worldwide should bear the burden of paying for this problem, not the taxpayers.

However, some residents say the board is not fulfilling its responsibility and demand immediate action from the township, including an explanation of contaminants, appropriate clean-up, and clean water that does not contain PFAs.

The Kent County Health Department posts weekly updates on the PFAs investigation online. Wolverine Worldwide also posts weekly blog entries, updating the public on how many wells they have tested and how many water filters they installed.