GEORGETOWN TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — A gravel company that wanted to bring soil from a contaminated PFAS site to the Jenison area was stopped by the township board Wednesday.
A small army of neighbors banded together to keep the potential PFAS, a likely carcinogen that has been linked to several illnesses, out of their water.
“Fresh water is a valuable resource,” neighbor Lavern Jones said. “We are blessed to have it in Michigan and in Georgetown Township. We have a lot of wonderful rivers. Why in the world would you jeopardize that right now? I just don’t understand it. This isn’t a benefit for all of the residents of Georgetown, it’s one company.”
The company, the Grand Rapids Gravel Company, wanted the township to approve importing 300,000 tons of bank run gravel from the Boulder Creek site in Plainfield Township over a four-month period.
That site is where Wolverine Worldwide dumped PFAS-tainted sludge for decades, which resulted in a lawsuits.
News 8 has previously reported on the problems in that area after PFAS was dumped, causing people to get sick, lose home values and wonder if loved ones died from the contamination.
Neighbors living along 24th Avenue in Jenison were concerned when they heard about the proposal.
“It’s beyond me to understand why you would even consider risking the health of our citizens here just to allow a business to profit,” Jones said.
Grand Rapids Gravel Company says it acknowledges that PFAS was dumped in the area but added that the gravel they would be bringing did not have PFAS. The company said the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy tested the site and found no contamination. News 8 could not independently confirm that.
“EGLE worked with Boulder Creek development company to find a new source of water to irrigate so there was no PFAS being spread, with EGLE approval in every step of the way,” James Dykema with Grand Rapids Gravel Company said.
But Neighbors didn’t buy it.
“I don’t understand why if they don’t want it there, why would we take it?” Russ, a neighbor, said.