U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell sent a letter to Michigan’s top environmental official on Monday, urging her to reject a company’s proposed cleanup plan for a known PFAS site in western Michigan.
Wolverine World Wide submitted the latest version of its PFAS remediation plan to the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy on Dec. 1, which it describes. offer to build a system to remove PFAS contamination at its former leather plant in Rockford and prevent it from entering nearby Rum Creek and the Rogue River.
Eagle Wolverine a breach notice in October after finding that the company had not met a previously approved cleanup schedule and needed to change its plans to adequately capture groundwater at the site. The department ordered the company to write a revised plan, which is under review.
Dingell, D-Ann Arbor, said the latest plan “does not do enough to clean up the site and prevent the continued release of chemicals into the Rogue River and the surrounding environment.” In Monday’s letter, he urged EGLE acting CEO Dan Eichinger to come up with the company’s “most robust plan.”
Dingell said the company’s plan lacks adequate testing and monitoring, arguing that the proposed pollution prevention system would allow PFAS to flow into waterways. He also urged EGLE to speed up the cleanup.
“We have a collective responsibility to protect the environment and the health of our community,” Dingell said. “That’s why it’s important that we clean up contaminated sites in Michigan — like the former Wolverine World Wide, Inc. skin site in Rockford — by the parties responsible for the contamination quickly and thoroughly to prevent further and minimal exposure.” present health risks.”
PFAS chemicals are man-made and widely used in consumer products, including stain-resistant fabrics, food packaging, and cosmetics. There are thousands of different PFAS chemicals; they are known as “eternal chemicals” because they do not break down in the environment.
A community group notified state environmental officials of violations at the site in 2010 and 2011. State authorities inspected the site in 2011, but found no serious violations, according to the EGLE chart. The group then asked the US Environmental Protection Agency to assess the site, which the agency did in 2012.
Wolverine, EGLE, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency conducted on-site studies beginning in 2011 that revealed high levels of contaminants such as volatile organic compounds, ammonia, and cyanide. The company discovered high levels of PFAS contamination at the site in 2017.
The state and the company are one consent decree in 2020, which provided for the company’s cleanup obligations.
Wolverine also entered into an administrative settlement agreement with the EPA in 2020.