Settlement doesn’t end Wolverine PFAS saga

Toxic Tap Water

PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Wolverine Worldwide announced a nearly $70 million settlement to cover costs associated with adding 1,000 homes to Plainfield Township’s municipal water supply, but residents impacted by contamination say that’s only part of the equation.

Wolverine Worldwide as well as Algoma and Plainfield Townships issued statements confirming the proposed settlement, though the deal won’t be final until it’s approved by a federal judge.

Sandy Wynn-Stelt lives across the street from the now infamous Wolverine House Street dump site. PFAS levels in her well water registered 38,000 parts per trillion, which is 542 times the Environmental Protection Agency’s advisory limit. She found out about the settlement when contacted by News 8.

“It’s not like we’re excited that we’re getting municipal water, but it beats getting poisoned by water,” Wynn-Stelt told News 8 Tuesday. “It was inevitable. I’m not sure what everybody was waiting for. It was inevitable we were going to have to have municipal water.”

The settlement, Wynn-Stelt said, does not absolve Wolverine of the matters brought forth in lawsuits she and many of her neighbors have filed.

She doesn’t believe her property value will be restored by the change in water supply.

“There’s something about a giant fence with a ‘warning contamination zone’ sign that probably hinders your property values a bit,” Wynn-Stelt said.

In 2016, Wynn-Stelt’s husband died of liver cancer. She wonders if the heavy presence of PFAS, a likely carcinogen, may have played a role in her husband’s death. She says those are the concerns that no settlement could ever resolve.

“It’s Christmas time and I’m here as a widow,” Wynn-Stelt said. “I don’t know how you bring that back.”

Wynn-Stelt and some of her neighbors say they hope that the settlement is a sign that Wolverine is making an effort to make things right.

Construction work to connect the homes to the Plainfield Township water supply is expected to start next spring and it could take several years to complete.

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