GSI Investigation Summary and Work Plan

Attached below is the draft GSI Investigation Summary and Work Plan, prepared for Wolverine World Wide by GZA. This report is also available on the MPART website at

This is the next plan to go out for public comment. The official comment period will be from May 27th through July 6th. The public meeting on the document will be Tuesday, June 15, 2021, 6:00-7:30 pm. The link for the public meeting registration and a copy of the public comment notice will be posted soon.

DRAFT GSI Investigation Summary & WP


Upcoming Wolverine CAG Meeting on 5/20/21

Wolverine Community Advisory Group
Full CAG Meeting
Online Using Zoom

Thursday, May 20, 2021
6:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Join Zoom Meeting:

Phone-in Option:
(312) 626-6799
Code # 819 6270 6941

Draft Agenda (all times are approximate)

6:00 PM Welcome
Agenda Review

6:30 PM Draft CAG Comments on the Tannery Interceptor System Response Plan
Presentation by CAG Technical Committee
CAG Discussion, refinement, and agreement

7:30 PM Public Comment

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

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.

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.


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

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 The PFAS that are most studied are perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesullfonic acid (PFOS).



Reflection and Reassurance

Wolverine CAG Member Blog Post

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 Carol Butts

I want to send my prayers out to everyone that they stay safe and healthy. One of the toughest things in 2020 is dealing with a pandemic while also trying to weather the waters of the long term PFAS health and environmental crisis. Being a part of the community action group (CAG) is a nice way to promote environmentally friendly goals to rejuvenate development for healthier living. Like many others, I have had to refocus and contend with immediate issues hitting us all, everywhere imaginable.  Both PFAS and the COVID-19 virus pandemic affect each of us differently in many ways and unpredictably. Current attentions must turn to meet immediate needs as we face serious threats to our children’s futures, their education, their livelihoods, our work lives, financial stability, personal health, and family health. For many, loss of social structures that normally bring a sense of security, strength, and community are vastly interrupted. What is comforting to know is that together we will weather this storm and once this short-term fight is over, we will still be here, as a PFAS CAG, with the common goal to support our community welfare for this and future generations.

All the best,

Carol Butts, MPH