Lawmaker queries in-state testing for Wolverine Worldwide chemical found in well water

A Michigan lawmaker wants to speed up the process on the testing of water in Belmont.

PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP, MICH. (WZZM) - A western Michigan lawmaker wants the state to consider testing for a chemical Wolverine Worldwide used to waterproof shoes now that the suspected carcinogen has shown up in Kent County wells.

Only about 18 labs nationwide are able to test for the chemical; none are in Michigan.

“Maybe it’s time to do that, but you can’t just open up the lab overnight,’’ said state Sen. Peter MacGregor, R-Rockford. “I’ve sent a letter to the governor, asking for potential resources moving forward.’’

Wells at more than 600 homes in Kent County’s Plainfield Township are being tested for the chemical after it was discovered in groundwater near a Wolverine dumpsite on House Street NE.

Individual water tests can cost several hundred dollars or more to complete. Local companies can collect the water samples, but they have to be sent out-of-state to test.

It was announced last week that another 300 homes in Plainfield Township would be tested. Homeowners say they’ve been told it could take up to two weeks for the samples to be collected and another four weeks for the tests to be completed.

“Maybe we need to set up a lab to start testing for these things,’’ MacGregor said. “I don’t know what the answer is at this point, but as we gather data, as time goes on, we’re going to need to know, we’re going to need additional resources.’’

The chemical was used in Scotchgard, which Wolverine used to waterproof shoe leather.

Melanie Brown, a spokeswoman with the Michigan DEQ, said the agency is interested in having in-state testing capabilities.

“We are evaluating all options for analyzing PFAS samples, including using existing laboratories to perform the analysis,’’ she wrote in an email.

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