Thad Talks: North Kent Sewer Authority Considers Treatment of Wolverine Tannery Waste Water

By Thad Beard, Rockford City Manager

In June, the NKSA board will consider an agreement with Wolverine Worldwide to treat it’s industrial waste water, once again. The treatment plant received waste water from the site until the time in which the Tannery building was demolished.  The agreement requires pretreatment of the wastewater for PFAS (to be non-detect) and treat other heavy metals and contaminants to within pre-established industrial limits.  The treatment plant was built with the ability to treat water that Wolverine will discharge for final treatment.  The NKSA is a shared treatment plant between the City of Rockford and the Townships of Plainfield, Cannon, Alpine and Courtland.  Each unit has voting representation on the board and will make the final determination of whether to formally agree to the treatment as outlined in the agreement.  I can’t stress enough that the plant engineer, board attorney, and plant superintendent have established the agreement with the sole purpose of providing the service without putting the plant in jeopardy.  The treatment of the waste water is not free, and will equal 10% greater than any other entity sending the same level of wastewater for treatment.  Wolverine will also cover all legal and engineering costs as required by the board for review.  Ultimately, the plant was designed for this and the treatment of the water enables the NKSA to be a part of the clean-up solution while better protecting the river and those downstream of the contaminated site.