House Street Cleanup FS: Presentation by CAG Technical Committee

At the Full Wolverine Community Advisory Group Meeting on March 18th, the CAG Technical Committee presented their discussion of the House Street Feasibility Study Cleanup. This is a summary of that presentation. The original presentation slides can be found here.

The Feasibility Study (FS) evaluates different remedy options to both manage the solid wastes and PFAS leakage into the groundwater. 

Wolverine is proposing to use phytoremediation and a small cap (“phyto-cap”) to remedy the House Street Disposal Site. Phytoremediation is a process that uses various types of plants to remove, transfer, stabilize, and/or degrade contaminants in the soil and groundwater. The EPA states that phytoremediation is best suited for large areas of 0-3 feet contamination, or large volumes of water with low-level contamination. The main disadvantages of phytoremediation are the long timeline, the limitations on the depth of the contamination, and the possibility of contaminating plant material that animals can consume. Most pointedly, a study included in the FS dated May 29, 2018 shows that PFAS waste at House Street are buried 3-20 feet deep. Based on these criteria, phytoremediation is not appropriate for House Street because of its high levels of deep contamination in the soil and groundwater and high potential for wildlife exposure. 

The consultant hired by Wolverine Worldwide to complete the FS, GZA, makes numerous statements that phytoremediation will reduce and/or control infiltration. However, studies highlighted by this presentation demonstrate that this may not be appropriate for the House Street site. Given that the site is heavily wooded, there may be minimal difference between current infiltration in the existing forest versus tearing out live, mature trees and planting new ones. GZA’s literature citations used to support their claims have limited relevance to the use of phytoremediation at House Street, and the Technical Committee states that “remedial solutions with this timeline are unacceptable unless a pilot study or other relevant data are presented showing better performance.”

Because phyto-cap allows continued infiltration and leaching, other alternative options are described. A cap remedy option manages waste by covering the surface material with an impermeable barrier to limit leaching and infiltration to groundwater. Pump and treat remedies manage contamination at the source and reduce groundwater migration.

Thank you to Dr. Richard R. Rediske and the CAG Technical Committee for preparing this presentation. To read more about the study, additional site documents on House Street Site are available here. Feasibility Study comments were due April 17th. The CAG submitted formal comments to EGLE regarding the House Street Feasibility Study on April 16, 2021, which can be found here.

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:

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

Draft Agenda (all times are approximate)

6:00 PM Welcome
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, 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

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

PFAS Phytoremediation example