Belmont/Rockford Project Timeline 2018-2023+

The formation of the Wolverine Community Advisory Group (CAG) in the summer of 2019 stimulated notable accomplishments in the cleanup efforts of the contaminated sites in the Rockford, MI area. This timeline highlights some of those accomplishments through the combined efforts and oversight of the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), including:

  • Installation of impermeable caps over the hazardous spill site on House Street – Feb. 2020
  • Restoration and replanting along the Rogue riverbank and White Pine Trail – Oct. 2020
  • Design of an interceptor system at the tannery site – Feb. 19, 2021
  • Feasibility study of potential remediation options for House Street site – Feb. 2021
  • MiPEHS (Michigan PFAS Exposure and Health Study) – began Dec. 2020 and continues through 2024

There is still a lot of work to be done, but it is important to acknowledge the value of the work that has already been completed. Concerned citizens certainly can make a difference.

WMEAC_CAGTimeline_V1_Apr21

Upcoming Wolverine CAG Meeting on 4/15/21

Wolverine Community Advisory Group
Full CAG Meeting
Online Using Zoom

Thursday, April 15, 2021
6:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Join Zoom Meeting:
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84111070662

Phone-in Option:
(312) 626-6799
Code 841 1107 0662#

Draft Agenda (all times are approximate)

6:00 PM Welcome
Introductions
Agenda Review

6:30 PM Draft CAG Comments on the House Street Cleanup FS
Presentation by CAG Technical Committee
CAG Discussion, refinement, and agreement

7:30 PM Public Comment

7:50 PM Upcoming Tannery Interceptor System Response Plan

7:55 PM Wrap Up and Next Steps

8:00 PM Adjourn

CAG Mission:
1) ensure that the response activities at the Wolverine World Wide sites protect and sustainably restore
the environment for human health, fish, wildlife, and recreation, through community participation; and
2) that important community concerns are articulated, understood, and considered during any related
investigation and response action.
CAG Groundrules:
• work cooperatively with each other, supporting agencies, and other stakeholders,
• be respectful of all participants,
• approach all issues and viewpoints with an open mind,
• focus on what is important to the community as a whole and articulate community concerns in a way
that all stakeholders can understand,
• seek common ground wherever possible, and present and respect minority opinions where they exist

3/18 Meeting Recording and EGLE Public Comment on House Street

If you missed last week’s public meeting on the House Street Dump Site Feasibility Study, you can view the recording here.
Public comments will be taken through April 17, 2021. These can be emailed to
EGLE-RRD-Housestreet@michigan.gov, or mailed prior to April 17, 2021 to:
Karen Vorce
Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy
Remediation and Redevelopment Division
350 Ottawa Avenue, NW, Unit 10
Grand Rapids, MI 49503-2341

Webinar Registration: Public meeting regarding WWW’s Feasibility Study for the former House Street Disposal Site

Use this link to register for a public meeting webinar hosted by The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE). They will be accepting public comments regarding Wolverine World Wide’s Feasibility Study for the former House Street Disposal Site located at 1855 House Street NE, Plainfield Township, Kent County, Michigan.

The description is copied below and can be found at https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_PEFCnFmMS7i3ZHtUPKhz5g:

Written comments are being accepted until April 17, 2021, on a Feasibility Study of potential remedial options for the House Street Disposal Site that Wolverine World Wide (Wolverine) is required to conduct as outlined in the February 19, 2020, Consent Decree between the State of Michigan, Algoma and Plainfield Townships, and Wolverine. The Consent Decree document is posted online and can be found at: www.michigan.gov/belmont.

An electronic copy of this Feasibility Study report can be found posted on the House Street Michigan PFAS Action Response Team (MPART) website at www.michigan.gov/belmont, under the heading “Recent Accomplishments”.

A paper copy of the report is also available for review at the City of Rockford, Algoma Township, and Plainfield Charter Township offices.

Written comments can be emailed to EGLE-RRD-Housestreet@michigan.gov, or mailed prior to April 17, 2021, to Karen Vorce, Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy, Remediation and Redevelopment Division, 350 Ottawa Avenue, NW, Unit 10, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49503-2341.

Pre-registration is not required to attend the meeting. Individuals interested in participating can click on the registration link (https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_PEFCnFmMS7i3ZHtUPKhz5g) at the start of the event (6:00 p.m.).

Individuals needing language assistance or accommodations for effective participation for the online meeting should contact Karen Vorce (RRD Project Manager) at 616-439-8008, to request language, mobility, visual, hearing, translation, and/or other assistance.

Upcoming Wolverine CAG Meeting on 3/18/21

Wolverine Community Advisory Group
Full CAG Meeting
Online Using Zoom

Thursday, March 18, 2021
6:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Join Zoom Meeting:
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84865471303

Phone-in Option:
(312) 626-6799
Code 848 6547 1303#

Draft Agenda (all times are approximate)

6:00 PM Welcome
• Welcome new CAG Members
• Introductions
• Agenda Review

6:30 PM House Street Cleanup FS
• Presentation by CAG Technical Committee
• CAG Discussion

7:30 PM Public Comment

7:55 PM Wrap Up and Next Steps on FS

8:00 PM Adjourn

CAG Mission:
1) ensure that the response activities at the Wolverine World Wide sites protect and sustainably restore the environment for human health, fish, wildlife, and recreation, through community participation; and
2) that important community concerns are articulated, understood, and considered during any related investigation and response action.

CAG Groundrules:
• work cooperatively with each other, supporting agencies, and other stakeholders,
• be respectful of all participants,
• approach all issues and viewpoints with an open mind,
• focus on what is important to the community as a whole and articulate community concerns in a way
that all stakeholders can understand,
• seek common ground wherever possible, and present and respect minority opinions where they exist

State and Community to Review Wolverine Worldwide Feasibility Study for Clean-Up of the House Street Dump Site

The Wolverine CAG (Community Advisory Group) was formed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the summer of 2019 to act as a communication link between Wolverine Worldwide, the EPA, Michigan’s Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE), and the community. The CAG is made up of volunteer community members with backgrounds in chemistry, law, engineering, and other disciplines; municipal representatives; and individuals who have been directly impacted by the contamination. The CAG’s mission is to ensure that the response activities at the Wolverine Worldwide sites protect and sustainably restore the environment for human health, fish, wildlife, and recreation through community participation, and that important community concerns are understood and considered during any related investigation and response action.

On February 11th, an article was published in the Rockford Squire in which Wolverine Worldwide described their preferred option for long-term remediation of the House Street Dump site. The option presented would create a park, with trails and a parking lot that would be open to the public. The plan would rely on a process called phytoremediation where trees are used to draw up PFAS from the waste through the roots and store it.

Wolverine presented two options for the clean-up of the House Street dump site to the CAG on January 28th. We have begun reviewing this information in order to prepare a full response to the feasibility study. The complete feasibility study was submitted to EGLE on February 19th as required by the court settlement agreement, and it explains the remediation options in more detail. As soon as EGLE makes it available for public comment, the CAG will review it thoroughly and respond with any concerns, questions, and recommendations. EGLE will host an online review of the feasibility plan for public comment in late March, and the CAG will provide details about the public comment period as soon as that is available.

To stay on top of this and other related remediation work, visit our website @ www.wolverinecag.org and EGLE’s website at www.michigan.gov/pfasresponse. You may also join our monthly CAG meetings on the third Thursday of the month at 6:00 p.m. Currently, these meetings are virtual to comply with safety concerns related to COVID-19. Meeting information can also be found on our website, or you can email us @ info@wolverinecag.org

Upcoming Wolverine CAG Meeting on 2/18/21

Wolverine Community Advisory Group

Full CAG Meeting

Online Using Zoom

 

Thursday, February 18, 2021

6:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Join Zoom Meeting:

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89018854084

 

Phone-in Option:

312 626 6799

Code  890 1885 4084#

 

Draft Agenda (all times are approximate)

6:00 PM        Welcome

  • Introductions
  • Agenda Review

 

6:10 PM        EGLE Updates

  • Upcoming report reviews and public comment periods

 

6:30 PM        House Street Cleanup Proposal

  • Overview of House Street Waste locations
  • Overview of Wolverine proposal
  • CAG next steps in review and comment on upcoming proposals

 

7:30 PM        Public Comment

 

8:00 PM        Adjourn

 

CAG Mission:

1) ensure that the response activities at the Wolverine World Wide sites protect and sustainably restore the environment for human health, fish, wildlife, and recreation, through community participation; and

2) that important community concerns are articulated, understood, and considered during any related investigation and response action.

CAG Ground Rules:

  • work cooperatively with each other, supporting agencies, and other stakeholders,
  • be respectful of all participants,
  • approach all issues and viewpoints with an open mind,
  • focus on what is important to the community as a whole and articulate community concerns in a way that all stakeholders can understand,
  • seek common ground wherever possible, and present and respect minority opinions where they exist

Preliminary House Street Feasibility Study Plans Provided by Wolverine Worldwide

Recently, Wolverine Worldwide and GZA provided the Wolverine Citizen Advisory Group with their preliminary plans for the House Street Feasibility Study.  Their willingness to reach out to the CAG and the neighbors and to seek feedback was certainly welcomed and appreciated.  However, there are many concerns with the options provided and several significant questions remain about these plans.  Please review the links below to learn more about the contamination at this site, and Wolverine’s suggestions for addressing this.  The public is also encouraged to attend the Wolverine CAG meeting on February 19th where this will be discussed further. 

 

House Street Summary Report  https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2019-06/documents/wolverine-implementation-2018-workplan.pdf

PFAS Phytoremediation example  https://pubs.acs.org/doi/full/10.1021/acs.est.7b02926?casa_token=xp61PtMMpeYAAAAA:kOgbLmFMqjY5OTitGlSMv11vTFqfkw4EnW2bm1URulFpcdRkp23WLLmYd6TNsxQVQcjJwC8lJ4wgIt4

PFAS, PFOS, PFOA chemicals, drinking water, and the Wolverine CAG

The opinions expressed in the following blog post belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Wolverine Community Advisory Group.

by Linda Goossen

I am writing this blog as a member of the Wolverine CAG. My husband and I moved to downtown Rockford back in 1975; we raised our four children here and still reside in the same house we moved into 46 years ago. I have a Ph.D. in Science Studies from WMU and am a retired Professor of Medical Laboratory Science from GVSU. Up until 2000 – for 25 years – our drinking water source was the Rogue River. Thus, the PFAS contamination in the Rogue River is of vital concern to me and has motivated me to join the Wolverine CAG.

In 2017, I learned that Rockford and North Kent County residents were exposed to PFAS* in a multitude of ways: in their drinking water, by eating fish from contaminated water, by working in facilities that used PFAS, in addition to the multitude of ways the general population is exposed to PFAS. Evidence shows that these PFAS are absorbed and can accumulate in the body and stay in the body for a long period of time. Studies have shown that PFOA and PFOS are related to increased cholesterol levels. There are also limited findings that the PFAS are related to low infant birth weights, deleterious effects on the immune system, cancer (PFOA), and thyroid hormone disruption (PFOS).

In the light of such serious findings, I believe that the function of the Wolverine CAG is for education and advocacy. As a health-care professional, I believe that both education and advocacy are necessary for the health of the community, whether it be your professional community or your residential community. People need to know what the science-based facts are about an issue. They also must have the ability and courage to advocate – that is, to convey their message and recommend a particular cause or policy to people or groups that can further their cause. For example, the Wolverine CAG works very closely with the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

The wide distribution of PFAS in Rockford and North Kent County has taken its toll on many households, and there are additional households that may be affected. It is incumbent upon the CAG to research the further pollution of soil and drinking water and to inform the citizens of these areas. It is also necessary that the CAG continue to work with governmental agencies to enforce actions when PFAS levels are higher than the maximum amount allowed in drinking water (MCL). Last year members of the CAG and others were successful in advocating for lowering the Michigan MCLs.

The work of the Wolverine CAG is not finished. It is very likely that more sites of contamination will be found. Private drinking water wells remain at risk and residents have a right to know about the risk of PFAS contamination of their wells and thus their drinking water. Without the efforts of the citizen-members of the CAG, educating residents and advocating for safe drinking water, progress would be much slower – if at all.

*PFAS are Per- and polyflouroalkyl substances that are man-made and used in industrial and commercial processes, particularly in products that are stain-resistant, waterproof, or non-stick https://www.epa.gov/pfas/basic-information-pfas). The PFAS that are most studied are perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesullfonic acid (PFOS).