PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP (WOOD) — The state will pay up to $750,000 for a system to filter PFAS, a likely carcinogen, from Plainfield Township’s municipal water system.
Township Superintendent Cameron Van Wyngarden said he believes the project to add a carbon-activated filter to an existing treatment plant is the first of its kind in the state.
“It’s a pilot project that we hope can be used statewide,” he said.
The township’s public water system serves 40,000 people in northern Kent County and for several years has had traces of PFAS.
The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality grant was requested by state Reps. Chris Afendoulis, R-Grand Rapids Township, and Rob VerHeulen, R-Walker, and state Sen. Peter McGregor, R-Rockford.
Tests have repeatedly found low levels of PFAS in the township’s water supply well below the state’s limit for drinking water. But residents have complained they want the level at zero.
The township in December already approved spending up to $400,000 on a carbon-filter system, with plans to start work on it this spring.
Township officials say most of the rest of the grant will be spent on frequent testing of the system.
It’s the same water system that the township wants to expand toward the House Street dump and into Algoma Township. That’s where PFAS from Wolverine’s dumping of sludge has contaminated hundreds of private wells, many with dangerously high levels. The PFAS comes from the Scotchgard Wolverine used for decades to treat shoes at its Rockford tannery.
Plainfield and Algoma townships have joined the DEQ in a federal lawsuit against Wolverine because the company has refused to pay to extend municipal water, a project that could cost up to $25 million.
The township says it expects the DEQ to approve the system soon and hopes to start work on it as soon as April.
RESOURCES FOR PLAINFIELD AND ALGOMA TOWNSHIP RESIDENTS:
If you are eligible for a whole-house water filtration system from Wolverine Worldwide, you can call 616.866.5627 or email HouseStreet@wwwinc.com.
The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality Environmental Assistance Center can be reached at 1.800.662.9278.
Websites with additional information on the contamination:
- Algoma Township
- Plainfield Township
- Kent County Health Department
- Water testing interactive map
- Michigan Department of Environmental Quality
- Michigan PFAS Action Response Team
- Varnum PFAS Contamination updates Facebook group
- Wolverine Worldwide