PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — A federal judge has fast-tracked a deadline for Wolverine Worldwide, 3M, the state and two Kent County townships to come up with a permanent solution for well water contaminated by PFAS.
U.S. District Judge Janet Neff ruled the groups have until July 8 to reach a consensus on a plan for residents living near Wolverine’s former House Street dump, saying the people who live nearby “deserve the utmost expediency and concern” in resolving the health risk the likely carcinogen poses.
Leaders and representatives for both townships applauded the judge’s decision, which comes about 6 months after Wolverine Worldwide tabled paying for a project to hook up affected residents to a municipal water source, saying 3M also had a responsibility to support the work. Prein & Newhof estimated the water extension project for Plainfield and Algoma townships would cost Wolverine $62 million.
“We are pleased by the court’s ruling and hope Wolverine World Wide will stop stalling and start living up to its obligations to area residents,” Plainfield Township Superintendent Cameron Van Wyngarden stated in a Thursday news release.
As a fallback, Plainfield Township is considering a new ordinance that would require “waste creators” to obtain a license to continue delivering water, maintaining whole house filters and providing documentation of affected properties, test results and responses.
Wolverine issued the following statement in response to the judge’s decision:
“Wolverine Worldwide has received Judge Neff’s recent Order, which asks the parties to propose by July 8 a process and timeframe the Court can follow to determine appropriate remedies in the House Street area. The Order is consistent with what Wolverine has said from the start – that we intend to be a part of developing water quality solutions for our community, and that all parties must be involved in discussing and developing these solutions. Our actions to-date have backed up these words, as we’ve taken proactive steps to ensure all affected residents have access to safe drinking water. We will continue working hard every day on behalf of our friends, family, and neighbors in the community, and will submit our proposed process to Judge Neff on July 8.”