Health Care and Manufacturing

Wolverine Worldwide expands water-filtration program

November 17, 2017
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Wolverine Worldwide has expanded its list of homes now eligible for free water-filtration systems due to groundwater contamination stemming from the company’s disposal of waste byproducts in the 1960s.

The Rockford-based maker of footwear and apparel said yesterday it will offer free whole-house water-filtration systems to all homes in the House Street area that have confirmed test results with any detection of fluorinated per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS.

The company has been working with state and local officials to test drinking water this fall following the discovery of PFAS resulting from Wolverine’s disposal of waste byproducts in the 1960s at its former leather tanning operation.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s health advisory level for PFAS is 70 parts per trillion. So far, the water in the contaminated areas has tested “well below this level,” according to Wolverine Worldwide.

“From the beginning, we have said that Wolverine is committed to doing the right thing, and we want residents to have confidence in the safety of their water,” said Chris Hufnagel, SVP of strategy, Wolverine Worldwide.

Earlier this fall, Wolverine Worldwide selected the Culligan/Calgon filtration system, which “has been demonstrated to effectively remove PFAS and ensures that these compounds are not returned to the environment,” the company said.

Wolverine Worldwide is paying for the PFAS testing, bottled water service, single-tap filters and whole-house systems.

To date, 76 whole-house filters have been installed in homes in the House Street area and about 30 more are expected to be installed by Nov. 18.

Community updates about test results and other aspects of this issue are available online at WeAreWolverine.com.

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