GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A judge has given final approval to a $54 million settlement between property owners in northern Kent County whose water was contaminated by PFAS and Wolverine Worldwide and 3M, the companies to which the chemicals were traced back.
U.S. District Court Judge Hala Jarbou on Wednesday signed the settlement for the class-action lawsuit. The deal was announced in September but still needed a judge’s approval.
The $54 million be split among 1,195 residents who had PFAS, an emerging contaminant that has been linked to several illnesses including cancer, in their water supply. Those whose wells were found to have higher PFAS levels will get more.
An attorney representing the people receiving the settlement issued a statement:
“We’re very pleased that through this settlement, 3M Company and Wolverine Worldwide have agreed to compensate the residents in the Kent County communities whose properties have sustained damages as a result of environmental harm cause by PFAS contamination,” said attorney Esther Berezofsky. “PFAS is a serious threat to the environment and human health and while there is more to be done to address the presence of forever chemicals in Michigan, this settlement is a great step forward, now that it has been approved by the Court.”Motley Rice attorney Esther Berezofsky
In a Thursday statement, Wolverine said it was pleased the settlement had been approved:
“We are pleased to have received final approval of the class action settlement agreement reached in September 2022. This approval reflects the continued progress we have made in resolving this matter for our community. We are furthering our commitment to the community through the ongoing municipal water installation and environmental remediation efforts. For more information, please visit www.WeAreWolverine.com.”Wolverine Worldwide
Plainfield Township has been working on a project to extend city water to the last of about 1,000 homes in the PFAS zone using money from a separate $69.5 million settlement with Wolverine and 3M.
The federal class-action lawsuit, filed in 2017, targeted Minnesota-based 3M, the maker of Scotchgard, and Wolverine Worldwide, which used PFAS-laced Scotchgard to treat its shoes. The Rockford shoemaker dumped PFAS sludge in sites around Belmont and Rockford.
—News 8’s Ken Kolker contributed to this report.