EPA tannery investigation—‘There is no emergency here’

May 3, 2012 // 0 Comments

Contaminants found in multiple test sites on Wolverine property by BETH ALTENA  About a hundred residents, including city officials and Wolverine Worldwide representatives, attended a public meeting held jointly by the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) on Tuesday, April 24 at the Rockford Freshman Center. A presentation by a team of four representatives of the environmental agencies detailed the background of their investigation, where the testing stands to date, what possible future outcomes of the process may be, and answered questions well after the 9 p.m. expected close of the meeting. Comments from the public regarding the situation were about evenly mixed among those supporting Wolverine in their actions in removing the former tannery and those who appeared skeptical of the company’s actions or worried about contamination. Dave Novak, community involvement coordinator of the Superfund Division of the EPA, began the evening’s presentation, introducing the other representatives. “We are looking for conclusions based on good science, not speculation,” he stated. “We have a great deal of information in a relatively short period of time. We are letting good science lead us on our journey.” He then gave the floor to Naria Nunez of the EPA. Nunez said the EPA was contacted by a citizens’ petition June 21, 2011 describing concerns over releases during the demolition of the former tannery at 123 N. Main Street, Rockford. She said the petition indicated the demolition was of community concern and included photographs of discolored water running off the property and questions about the past use of chromium at the property. The EPA decided to investigate the site, and began testing in October of last year. Nunez said preliminary testing results found some contamination with potential of offsite contact. The investigation is still underway and is in the preliminary stages. At any time the EPA could decide no further response is necessary; could call for removal of contaminates or could refer the investigation to another government program. The EPA could also continue to investigate and at the end of the process could rank the site based on a system called a Hazardous Ranking System. This is an evaluation of the property based on evaluations of groundwater, surface water, air, ground, or […]

Public invited to hear results of tannery site testing

April 18, 2012 // 0 Comments

Meeting is Tuesday, April 24 at Rockford Freshman Center Those who have had concerns over the environmental safety of the former Wolverine tannery site will have the chance to hear about the results of testing conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). On Tuesday, April 24, the EPA and Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) officials will meet with the public from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Rockford Freshman Center cafeteria, 4500 Kroes Street, Rockford. According to Dave Novak, EPA community involvement coordinator, the public meeting is to discuss and update the community on work and assessments being done at the former Wolverine tannery site in downtown Rockford. The tannery was demolished in 2010 and the site is adjacent to the Rogue River and Rum Creek. The EPA and MDEQ received a petition to investigate the site as the result of community concerns regarding potential environmental impacts on the two bodies of water. During the meeting, the EPA and MDEQ will discuss the purpose of the assessment, the roles of both the state and federal agencies, and what the results of the assessment will determine and how the results will be used. The EPA, MDEQ and Wolverine will give presentations on their activities to date. There will also be an opportunity for questions and discussion during the meeting.