PFAS in Kent County: How far it likely traveled

ROCKFORD, Mich. (WOOD) — A newly released map shows just how far PFAS contamination in the Rockford area has likely spread.

In a November report, the Environmental Protection Agency and Michigan Department of Environmental Quality say PFAS contamination at former Wolverine Worldwide sites appear to typically travel in “historic stream channels,” emptying into the Rogue River.


The highest concentration officials mentioned was 450,000 parts per trillion at the site of the former Wolverine World Wide tannery in downtown Rockford, where Scotchgard was used for decades. The waterproofing product contained high levels of PFAS when Wolverine Worldwide began using it in the late 1950s, according to the EPA and DEQ.

Researchers say the highest readings came from shallow groundwater monitoring wells on the former tannery site, but other wells didn’t detect any PFAS.

The plume appears to move west to the Rogue River. Experts believe further testing will reveal the plume follows the flow of the river to the south. More monitor wells are being installed to confirm this.


The map indicates PFAS contamination from Wolverine’s former House Street dump site likely headed southeast, toward the Rogue River. The DEQ says PFAS concentrations at the core of the plume in Belmont are as high as 71,000 ppt — exponentially higher than the federal safety threshold of 70 ppt.

Officials say parts of the decades-old plume run 200 feet deep before the contamination discharges into the Rogue River.

>>PDF: November update to PFAS investigation

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