April 2018 Newsletter
A Closer Look #181
Rick Rediske receives CLAS Outstanding Service Award
Rick Rediske recently received the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Outstanding Service Award for his role in bringing to public attention the dumping of toxic waste by Rockford-based Wolverine Worldwide. As a consequence of this activity, and subsequent leaching into the groundwater, the drinking water in parts of northern Kent County are now in violation of state health standards. Rick has been in the forefront of this issue, starting with his concerns over a 2013 Michigan Department of Environmental Quality report that fish in the Rogue River had elevated levels of PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonate, used in 3M’s Scotchgard coating on Hush Puppies). On Jan. 17 of this year, Rick wrote a memo to a MDEQ employee calling for investigation of PFOS waste from the tannery: “Wastes disposed on site, residuals from spills, production wastes disposed of offsite in landfills, local groundwater, scrap leather buried on site all have the potential to contain PFOS,” he warned.
Rick’s role in bringing to light this environmental disaster has been absolutely critical. His knowledge, credibility, and passion resulted in DEQ’s movement on the issue, and he has been the “go-to” person by the print and video media because they know he will be both well-informed and objective in his assessments. He has gained the trust of all parties, and has represented AWRI and GVSU with distinction throughout this episode, which is certain to continue well into the future.