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West Michigan shoe company still getting to the bottom of water contamination

Map from the MDEQ of affected area
MDEQ
/
MDEQ image of the area affected by the groundwater contamination in Plainfield Township and Belmont, roughly 10 miles north of Grand Rapids

The shoe manufacturing company believed to have contaminated groundwater in two West Michigan communities still doesn't know exactly how it happened.

Chris Hufnagel is with Wolverine World Wide, the shoe company believed to be the source of the toxic chemicals.

Hufnagel says the company has been passing out bottled water and tap filters to residents in Belmont and Plainfield Township.

"We think that's the right thing to do right now, and we're committed to that until we really understand what's happening,” Hufnagel said.

The toxic chemicals found in private well water earlier this year are often used to waterproof leather goods. Wolverine World Wide used them at its former tannery in Rockford.

The company is testing water at its own facility. Results should be back in about a month.

Wolverine World Wide is working with state and county health officials to keep residents up to date, according to Hufnagel.  

“And any inquires we get, we're passing to the appropriate authorities, really the experts on the subject to help them,” he said.

A town hall meeting was held earlier this month to inform residents about potential health effects of the chemicals.

The Michigan  Department of Environmental Quality says it has collected water samples from over 100 homes in the area. 

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