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October 2017 Newsletter

A Closer Look #176


Pictured: Discarded drums of chemical waste

Wolverine World Wide Dump Sites

Dr. Richard Rediske, Professor of Water Resources at AWRI, is providing technical support to citizens in the Rockford, MI area. The groundwater in the region has been contaminated with chemicals related to the historic use of Scotchgard by Wolverine World Wide’s tannery to waterproof shoes.  Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are chemicals contained in Scotchgard that were discontinued in 2002 by one supplier and by other producers in 2005 due to environmental concerns about their persistence, toxicity, resistance to treatment, and potential for bioaccumulation.  The EPA has established a Drinking Water Health Advisory of 70 parts per trillion for PFAS; however, many wells in one area of Plainfield Township were found to exceed this level.  Over 600 home wells are being tested for PFAS and 35 potential waste disposal areas are being investigated.  Dr. Rediske has provided numerous media interviews for local TV and newspapers concerning the environmental and health effects of these chemicals.  He also sampled and helped identify tannery wastes in an area where corroded drums were found to have been discarded.