By BETH ALTENA
Steve Grimm, Cannon Township Supervisor, talked about the possible Wolverine Worldwide dump found in the 8100 block of Ramsdell Road that was announced Thursday, October 12.
He said the dump was discovered by the current property owner, who walked the acreage and discovered leather and shoe sole scraps. The owner contacted the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, which visited the site the evening of Wednesday, October 11 to gather samples. Currently the DEQ is in the process of testing water samples for PFAS chemicals. The property was never owned by Wolverine, Grimm said.
“This was all fifty years ago, so who really knows” Grimm said. He said it is thought the owners had an arrangement with Wolverine to deposit material on the property.
Given the proximity of this potential dump site to East Rockford Middle School, Dr. Michael Shibler, Rockford Public School Superintendent, had the school’s water fountains turned off and stopped using well water to prepare food. He made the announcement by email to all parents of students to ERMS Thursday at 8 a.m. and again on Friday. The school switched to bottled water provided by Wolverine.
Grimm said he was at first advising concerned residents to have their water tested by the Kent County Health Department, but later learned the department is not equipped for testing the toxic materials found at other Wolverine dump sites.
“Unfortunately there is not a lot we can do about it,” Grimm stated. He advised worried residents to check the township’s website and facebook page. He said the DEQ agreed to expedite the testing and that should be completed in weeks. The closest lab that can test for the chemicals of concern is in Indiana. The City of Rockford had their water tested by the lab in Indiana and it came back negative for PFAS.
Grimm said the site is near a pond and is in the vicinity of the Bear Creek headwaters. “I tell people, whatever it is, it’s been there since the 1970s, for the last 40 years. We have to wait for the DEQ.”