Plainfield Twp. businesses take on major costs to serve clean water

Posted at 8:05 PM, Dec 07, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-07 22:40:40-05

BELMONT, Mich. -- Several Plainfield Township businesses claim to have stopped using municipal water over concerns of contamination. Residents have expressed worries about drinking water that's been potentially contaminated with toxic cancer-causing chemicals from dumping by Wolverine Worldwide decades ago.

Many of the business leaders to make this move say it's not about money, it's about doing what's right.

Tony Griffin, owner of BC Pizza in Belmont, says the decision to stop using municipal water and opt for bottled water was an easy one.

“It became obvious to me that if the same contaminants that are being tested for are also in our municipal water system, then morally as a business owner, I feel like it’s our obligation to make sure that those that are coming here one: informed and two: not being affected by it as a result of us because we’re you know, profiting off of what we do," Griffin tells FOX 17.

At about $1.50 per gallon, the move hasn't come cheap for Griffin. He says his restaurant uses at least 50 gallons of water per week just making pizza dough. BC Pizza in Belmont is also using bottled water for food prep and drinking water for all customers and employees.

“It’s very expensive, which is why we’re really trying to move quickly to get a filter in place because if this were to go on for a year or two years, we’re talking many, many thousands of dollars that it’s gonna cost us to go this route and as a result of it, we don’t make another dime," Griffen tells FOX 17.

Griffin isn't alone. Managers with Big Apple Bagels, Blue Water Grill and Vestal Inn say their stores are also using filtered and bottled water.

On Tuesday, State Rep. Winnie Brinks called for an Oversight Committee hearing with testimony from the CEO of Wolverine Worldwide, the director of the MDEQ and other health experts.

“We have an obligation to look out for the health and well-being of our constituents and as a state government that’s one of the things we have established for other dangerous substances that enter drinking water and we are remarkably silent on that, at this point from the state of Michigan," Brinks tells FOX 17.

Brinks says she doesn't want Kent County to be another Flint.

"I am really hopeful that we will hear some evidence from various departments at the state level that we have learned something from Flint and we’re not seeing this tragic story repeated right here in Grand Rapids," she said.

Brinks says she's hopeful they will get a hearing sometime in January.

Wolverine Worldwide has been updating a blog to try to keep the public updated on the situation.

On Dec. 11, famed activist Erin Brockovich will be in West Michigan to meet with residents about water concerns.  A location and time for that has not yet been released.