Kent County: PFAS testing near landfill could cost $300,000

Water worries hit North Kent Landfill

PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP, MICH. - Residential well testing near the North Kent Landfill in Plainfield Township could cost up to $300,000, according to Kent County officials.

"It made the most sense for us to step forward and test those 47 properties and get the ball rolling quickly," said Molly Sherwood, environmental compliance manager for the Kent County Department of Public Works. 

Kent County agreed to test the homes near its old landfill for PFAS after three of the area's monitoring wells tested above the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's lifetime drinking water advisory level of 70 parts per trillion (ppt) for PFOS/PFOA. One well tested at 237 ppt for PFOS/PFOA, three times the limit. 

"Two are on the northern side of the landfill, and one is on the southwest corner," Sherwood said. "Although it needs to be addressed, it's not excessively high. So it gives us hope that we can get a handle on this pretty quickly." 

The county is providing bottled water to all of the homes and will provide whole-house PFAS filtration systems to any homes that detect PFAS in testing, she said. 

Wolverine Worldwide, which dumped sludge from its tannery containing PFAS at the landfill from 1980-1986, said it would not pay for the testing.

The company said in a statement: 

Wolverine Worldwide is pleased that Kent County is stepping forward and taking the lead to test homes near the North Kent landfill.  This landfill was owned and operated by Kent County at all times, and has had multiple users and parties over the years that could have contributed to the potential existence of PFOA and PFOS. 

 As of Jan. 30, 395 northern Kent County private wells are contaminated with PFAS linked to dumping by Wolverine. Of those wells, 85 tested above 70 ppt. 

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