About Wolverine CAG
The Community Advisory Group (CAG) is made up of volunteer community members affected by and concerned about the Wolverine World Wide (WWW) contamination in northern Kent County.
The purpose of the CAG is to provide a communication and education link between the community and all organizations involved in the clean-up.
According to its charter, the CAG’s mission is to:
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.
Read the Wolverine CAG Draft Charter.
Read the EPA’s Description of a CAG.
Find out when the next meeting is by visiting the calendar.
Contact us here.
- The CAG was formed in June 2019 and has approximately 20 members.
- The CAG is organized and facilitated by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and is not affiliated with the WWW company.
CAG Member Bios
- Thanks again for your interest in joining the Wolverine CAG.
- Applicants are considered based on locale, occupation, affiliations, expertise, affect of contamination, and diversity of the membership.
- Members are volunteers who represent themselves, not any organization.
- Members are added each January, unless sudden vacancy warrants immediate action.
- The Membership Committee will recommend suitable applicants, but all applications will be reviewed by the full CAG before voting.
- All applicants will be notified of the outcome of the vote.
- To apply, fill out the Membership Form (see below) as a pdf and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Someone will contact you to confirm receipt of your application.
Before applying for membership, please read the CAG Charter, which includes:
- Mission Statement
- Member Service – representation, leadership, terms
- Member Expectations – attendance, conduct, contribution
- Operation – meetings, committees, process, support
- Ground Rules – cooperation, behaviour
- Established Committees – leadership, membership, communications, technical
Woverine Tannery PFAS Frequently Asked Questions
In short, a CAG (community advisory group) is a group of experts and local residents formed with the help of the EPA to facilitate communication between the EPA and communities affected by contamination and subsequent efforts.
From the EPA: A Community Advisory Group (CAG) is made up of representatives of diverse community interests. A CAG is designed to serve as the focal point for the exchange of information among the local community and EPA, the State regulatory agency, and other pertinent Federal agencies involved in cleanup of the Superfund site. Its purpose is to provide a public forum for community members to present and discuss their needs and concerns related to the Superfund decision-making process. A CAG can assist EPA in making better decisions on how to clean up a site. It offers EPA a unique opportunity to hear-and seriously consider-community preferences for site cleanup and remediation. However, the existence of a CAG does not eliminate the need for the Agency to keep the community informed about plans and decisions throughout the Superfund process.
The Wolverine CAG serves in this role for the ongoing cleanup of contamination stemming from Wolverine World Wide’s operations in the Rockford and Plainfield areas.
Wolverine World Wide operated a tannery in downtown Rockford for decades. Operations at that site and waste dumping in the surrounding area contaminated soil and water with high levels of volatile organic compounds, semi-volatile organic compounds, metals, ammonia and cyanide. Surface water and groundwater (including residential wells) near the tannery and dump sites were contaminatedwith high levels of PFAS (up to 490,000 parts per trillion), according to Michigan’s Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE).
Much of this contamination was uncovered by a group of citizens concerned over the tannery demolition in 2010-2011.
The House St. site is being equipped with an impermeable cap. Contamination around the Tannery site has been mapped and the shallow contaminated soil (contaminated soil at 3 or fewer feet from the surface) is being excavated and disposed of. Sections of the soil have been excavated down to a 16 foot depth due to lead and/or chromium contamination. These excavations are the final step in the EPA emergency response actions, which will be followed by a long term remediative process. The municipal water supply is run through granular activated carbon (GAC), filtering PFAS levels to trace amounts.
PFAS, poly-and perflouroalkyl substances, are a large group of manufactured chemicals used for their waterproofing, non-stick and firefighting abilities. From World War II to the present day, they’ve been manufactured and used in non-stick pans (e.g. Teflon), popular waterproof technology (e.g. Scotchgard, Gore-Tex) and firefighting foams used on military bases and airports, according to Grand Valley State University. In high concentrations, some PFAS have been connected to health problems for humans.
PFOA, PFOS, PFNA about 3,000 others are some of the specific chemicals that fit under the PFAS umbrellas.
PFAS are often called “forever chemicals” because they stay in the environment and bodies for years. Many PFAS will not break down in the environment or bodies, but collect in places in the body, causing problems. Because of this process, called bioaccumulation, PFAS concentrations are prone to increase in bodies over time, according to the US EPA.
According to a study of people exposed to PFOA in the Ohio River Valley, there is a probable link between PFOA exposure and high cholesterol, ulcerative colitis, thyroid disease, testicular cancer, kidney cancer and pregnancy induced hypertension. The EPA reports there are less clear links between certain PFAS and negative effects on birth weight and immune systems.
It could. Grand Valley State lists several substances that have important and measurable effects at similar levels. Read about it here.
If your water is contaminated with PFAS, there are in-home filters that can help. EGLE says a filter must meet NSF P473 standards. Read more from EGLE’s in-home filtration fact sheet under “Certified Filtration Systems.”
The Food and Drug Administration conducted a PFAS sampling study in 2019, which showed the the PFAS of most concern (PFOS and PFOA) were detected only in seafood, though other PFAS were identified in more foods. Seafood can have high levels of PFAS due to a process called bioaccumulation. Read more in Michigan’s PFAS Action Respsone Team’s (MPART) summary or in the FDA report itself.
Unfortunately the most viable remediation strategy is to excavate the contaminated soil and take it elsewhere for incineration, or take it elsewhere to stabilize the contaminants with minerals, resins, or other amendments. There are other technologies in development, but they face significant challenges preventing them from being used on a wide scale. Read more about these technologies in the Interstate Technology Regulatory Council fact sheet.
PFAS FAQs from other organizations
This list may not contain all available resources.