As Wolverine Worldwide continues to work with regulatory agencies to monitor our former Tannery site and House Street disposal area, we wanted to update you on our latest efforts to address groundwater issues in our area.
Over the past several months, Wolverine has been developing a plan to intercept and treat groundwater from the former Tannery site that contains PFOA/PFOS, preventing it from reaching Rum Creek or the Rogue River.
We are now working in coordination with MDEQ to expedite this process following a recent test result showing the presence of PFOS in foam in one location in the Rogue River. The Kent County Health Department (KCHD) announced the test result today and issued an advisory. In that advisory, KCHD indicates that people using the river for recreational purposes should avoid ingestion of the foam, but that skin contact does not pose a health risk.
While additional testing will be conducted and sources of PFOS in the river and foam are still being identified, we are doing our part to address it. Wolverine expects that the interception and treatment of groundwater at the former Tannery site will help reduce PFOS levels in this foam.
In water bodies where foam with PFOS is generated, the PFOS is concentrated in the foam and is not reflective of the PFOS level in the underlying river and creek water. For example, as we shared on our blog last fall, the Rogue River was tested in multiple locations in 2017 and levels ranged from 6.2 – 16.8 ppt for PFOA/PFOS combined.
While not applicable to river water or foam because they are not used for drinking water, the United States Environmental Protection Agency has issued a drinking water lifetime health advisory and the State of Michigan has established drinking water criteria at 70 ppt combined for PFOA/PFOS. Additional water and foam testing will be conducted in the future in coordination with MDEQ to provide additional data and help identify potential sources.
We are sharing this information because we want residents to know what we know. Our first priority has been and continues to be the health and well-being of the community. We will continue to be proactive and transparent as we work through these issues related to our legacy tannery operations.
Wolverine began closing its tanning operation in Rockford in 2009 through a process monitored by the MDEQ and other government regulators, and we have been working with the MDEQ since then to monitor this site. We continue to work in collaboration with the MDEQ and other agencies on this issue. As we develop and deploy this plan and more information becomes available, we will continue to keep our neighbors and the community informed through our blog – www.WeAreWolverine.com