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EPA orders further assessment work at Wolverine tannery, landfill in Rockford, Michigan

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Allison Lippert (

CHICAGO (January 10, 2018) − Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued an administrative order to Wolverine World Wide Inc. to conduct further assessment and potential cleanup work at its former tannery and at the House Street landfill in Rockford, Mich. The order requires additional investigation and characterization of soil, groundwater and river sediment contaminated with hazardous substances including arsenic, chromium, mercury and ammonia. This is EPA’s most recent activity in its ongoing response to Wolverine contamination issues.

EPA is working with the state of Michigan on a coordinated enforcement approach at the Wolverine sites in and around Rockford that are contaminated with PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) and hazardous constituents. Also today, Michigan issued an order to Wolverine to address drinking water contamination from its operations.

Last month, EPA staff assisted Michigan’s response efforts by sampling for PFAS in surface water from the Rogue River and Rum Creek, groundwater from two Wolverine industrial properties and drinking water at affected residences. EPA will notify residents of their individual sampling results as soon as they are available.

Wolverine manufactures several footwear brands and historically treated its products with PFAS compounds. The tanning process also used chrome and other hazardous substances. Contamination is believed to be from the company’s former tannery, shoe factory manufacturing operations and related waste disposal activities.

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