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Wolverine Worldwide releases plan to deal with PFAS contamination at House Street property

Wolverine Worldwide HQ sign file photo
Posted at 4:01 PM, Feb 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-24 16:03:29-05

PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. — Wolverine Worldwide released its plan for dealing with PFAS contamination at the company's former dumping site on House Street.

In a proposal to the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy, Wolverine says it will use two approaches to prevent more PFAS from leaking into the groundwater.

A map overlay of Wolverine Worldwide's House Street property indicating how the company would attempt to clean up the PFAs contamination.

The first step is called strategic capping, which involves installing a membrane over the areas most contaminated with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances. Those membranes are designed to hold PFAS, which are man-made chemicals that require special filtration systems to remove from water.

The second approach, called phytoremediation, will have Wolverine plan up to 4,000 trees on the site. The company says over time the trees will pull the PFAS out of the ground. Wolverine says the plan will allow the 76-acre site to be turned into a public greenspace with the possibility of limited use nature trails being built in the future.

House Street Aerials.jpeg
Contractors hired by Wolverine Worldwide clear ground at the company's former dumping site on House Street in Plainfield Township in 2017.

In a post on the community blog, Wolverine says the plan took into account the feedback from neighbors in Plainfield and Algoma Townships along with local and state leaders.

The contamination at the House Street property, along with the former tannery site in downtown Rockford, sparked a nationwide awareness of PFAS and prompted calls for stricter regulations.

Now Wolverine's plan must be approved by EGLE. The company says it could have the membrane and trees in place after a year and a half of work.

If the proposal is rejected Wolverine says the consent decree made between it and EGLE would require the creation of a surface cap over nearly 30 acres. That project could take two and a half years.

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