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Some still have concerns with $70 million PFAS settlement

The state filed suit against Wolverine Worldwide in 2018
Posted at 10:17 PM, Feb 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-11 05:27:43-05

ROCKFORD, Mich. — Some neighbors still have concerns with a nearly $70 million settlement between the state and Wolverine Worldwide.

The settlement comes after PFAS was found in water in both Plainfield Township and Algoma Township, near the company’s former tannery and disposal sites.

Attorney General Dana Nessel says the settlement helps get clean drinking water to residents as quickly as possible, something her office feels “really good about.”

It is a settlement that we believe is going to address people’s concerns ensuring that they have safe, clean water to drink,” Nessel said.

On Monday, the Nessel touted the speed in which the state was able to reach a settlement, after filing suit with the shoemaker back in January of 2018.

“The settlement was achieved really in warp speed when you consider how long some settlements take,” Nessel explained. "I’ve been involved already in some settlements that been in the process for 19 or 20 years."

The settlement will require Wolverine to pay for extending Plainfield Township’s municipal water system to reach 1000 more homes and to fund a carbon filtering system for the water plant.

Work is expected to begin this spring and take at least five years to complete.

“We feel good about it, but we want the communities that are impacted to feel good about it as well,” Nessel added.

On Monday, the AG’s office outlined the settlement to a crowd of residents and provided nearly an hour of public comment. Some praised the settlement; others shared concerns with the proposed consent decree.

“They decided they were going to replace the water systems, okay,” Rick Langin said. "But I think they need to go a little further to help families with medical problems." Langin believes his ex-wife, who lives in Algoma Township, has cancer because of PFAS contamination. “She’s got all of these medical bills and problems, because her career is basically done. She’s 45 years old, worked as a paramedic in this are,a and her career is done, and she’s disabled because of all the symptoms because of it.”

This settlement does not affect individuals and their ability to file suit against Wolverine Worldwide.

The consent decree still has to be signed off on by a judge to be official.

The state is still accepting public comment online, which can be e-mailed by February 13.

Wolverine, meanwhile, continues to update the public on its blog site. The company says it remains committed to water quality solutions.