News Feature | January 3, 2018

EPA Joins PFAS Investigation In Michigan

Peter Chawaga - editor

By Peter Chawaga, Associate Editor, Water Online

michigan.reg

One of the nation’s most high-profile water contamination cases has drawn federal interest, as the U.S. EPA joined an investigation into perfluorinated compound (PFC) pollution in Michigan.

“The Environmental Protection Agency is making small but significant entrance into the toxic fluorochemical pollution investigation in Kent County, Mich.” Michigan Live reported. “The EPA will begin sampling groundwater and drinking water wells polluted with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS or PFCs) from Wolverine World Wide tannery waste starting next week.”

As Water Online has covered, Wolverine World Wide is thought to have contaminated local water supplies with 400 times the EPA’s advisory levels of two PFCs. The shoe manufacturer is cooperating with investigations into just how pervasive the problem is and the EPA has joined those efforts.

“Rockford-based Wolverine Worldwide and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are working together to facilitate even more water sample testing in Kent County,” reported WZZM. “The EPA will collect the samples and send them to independent labs to confirm that the results are the same as those received from labs used by Wolverine and Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.”

With hundreds of residents using the groundwater that could have been contaminated, efforts to identify and address the problem have been robust. Additional resources that may come with the federal agency’s participation in the research could make them even more so.

“The Kent County Health Department, which has argued the Wolverine investigation is stretching its resources, said it ‘welcomes the additional resources that the EPA brings,’” per Michigan Live. “’We are confident that the agency’s expertise and efforts can only hasten the ultimate goal of solving the issues associated with groundwater contamination as it now exists,’ said department spokesperson Steve Kelso.”

For similar stories visit Water Online’s Source Water Contamination Solutions Center.

Image credit: “River Reflections,” neukomment, 2015, used under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/